The Notre Dame Fighting Irish parlayed an impressive 12-0 season into a berth in the College Football Playoff. A matchup with the Clemson Tigers was their reward for the undefeated year, and it’s a game which features multiple intriguing NFL prospects. While the matchup itself obviously comes with plenty of headlines, it also was a chance for high-profile players to grab the attention of NFL scouts.
One name specifically worth watching is Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams, who’s flashed upside throughout his collegiate career. Williams really burst onto the scene during his senior year in 2018, though, and the 5-foot-11, 215-pound running back will now look to bolster his 2019 NFL Draft stock.
Let’s take a look at the latest rumblings on Williams’ outlook as a pro prospect and also where he’s projected to be selected in the draft.
Dexter Williams’ NFL Draft Stock
There are some high marks on Williams to this point, which is understandable considering he averaged 9.2 yards per carry in 2017 (39 attempts) and 6.6 yards in 2018 (142 attempts). This year alone, the Notre Dame back turned his 142 carries into 941 yards and an impressive 12 touchdowns.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper offered up a solid ranking for Williams on his most recent 2019 Big Board, which came in mid-December. He currently has the Fighting Irish standout as the No. 7 running back prospect. This places him ahead of a few impressive names in Michigan’s Karan Higdon, Penn State’s Miles Sanders and Vanderbilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
“He’s helped himself a lot this year, more so than any other Notre Dame prospect. That’s saying something, because a good season like this kind of lifts all boats, or whatever the saying is.
“So most of the Notre Dame prospects are seeing their stock take an uptick — but no one more so than Dexter Williams.”
Wright proceeded to reveal that he’s heard rumblings of the Notre Dame running back being a top-100 prospect, potentially placing him in the second or third round.
When Dexter Williams Could Be Drafted
How Williams performs to wrap up his collegiate career could be a big deal, as there will be plenty of eyes on him. In the same interview above with Scott Wright of Draft Countdown, he was pegged as a player to watch in rounds 3-5.
“But best-case scenario I would say round 3. Worst-case scenario, I would say round 5. But the arrow is definitely pointing up.”
It’s worth noting that Williams was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season due to an unspecified violation of team rules. As Brandon Pope of ABC 57 cited, he was also arrested back in 2016 for misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession as well as possessing a handgun with no license. There will surely be questions about these two occurrences when the pre-draft process begins.
The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard offered a strong breakdown of Williams as a prospect, taking a deep dive into his potential. He states that Williams’ “lack of impact as a receiver and pass protector have him looking at a rotational role early in his career.” Ledyard also explains that while the “right situation with a strong offensive line” could lead to production at the NFL level, that multiple running backs find themselves in that same spot.