The Journal Gazette
 
 
Saturday, April 27, 2019 5:20 pm

Dexter Williams becomes third Irish player chosen on draft's third day

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Dexter Williams had an up-and-down career at Notre Dame, but when he was on the field he was an explosive running back, capable of putting up huge numbers with his burst out of the backfield and change-of-direction skills.

The Green Bay Packers might have gotten a steal when they chose Williams in the sixth round with the 194th overall pick. He has experience (and ability) on special teams, as well as out of the backfield and there's a good chance that he carves out a role in the league, in my opinion. He becomes the second Notre Dame running back to reach the NFL in the last two years after Josh Adams went to the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2018. 

Williams likely would have gone higher in the draft had he not had off-the-field problems with an arrest for marijuana possession in 2016 and a suspension for undisclosed reasons for the first four games of the 2018 season. If the Packers believe those problems are behind him, they likely feel that he could have gone several rounds higher based on his production with the Irish. For the record, I would guess that Williams has put those issues in the past for good. By all accounts, he matured considerably in his time at Notre Dame and was a consistently positive force for the team late in the 2018 season. Coach Brian Kelly seemed to make the same point with his congratulatory tweet to Williams.

"We're so proud of the man (Williams) has become on and off the field," Kelly wrote. "Great choice, @packers!"

The 5-foot-11, 212-pound running back ran a 4.57 40-yard dash, which isn't spectacular for a tailback, but he has impressive burst, demonstrated when he ran for a 97-yard touchdown against Virginia Tech in 2018. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry for his career and ran for 995 yards as a senior despite playing only nine games.

"Williams runs with a good combination of feel, force and juice, which allows for a variety of methods in creating yards for himself," NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote. "His evaluation could require additional character work and his relative lack of experience could mean a slower integration into an NFL offense; however, he offers exciting upside with the talent to become a productive, NFL starter."

dsinn@jg.net


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