With the 2017 NFL Draft over, we wanted to know more about the newest members of the Jacksonville Jaguars — which is why over the next few weeks we’re reaching out to our friends at other SBNation sites to provide some insight on this year’s class.
Today, we’re featuring Jacksonville’s second seventh-round selection, fullback Marquez Williams out of the University of Miami, with detailed insights from Cam Underwood, managing editor of SBNation's Miami Hurricanes site State Of The U.
Take a look at Cam’s responses to my questions below, and prepare for Williams to help bring back a smash mouth mentality to Jacksonville.
1. Williams was almost exclusively used as a lead run-blocker for Miami's offense, but what, if any, are other intriguing parts of Williams' game the Jacksonville faithful should be aware of?
No use in trying to reinvent the wheel here: focus on the blocking. Williams is stoutly built at 6-foot-1, 280 pounds (no, that is NOT A TYPO), and uses his size well in the run game. He can be a contributor on special teams and in other areas of the game, but make no mistake about this: Marquez Williams is a devastating run blocker and that is how he should be used.
Williams was a grad transfer from Division 2 Mars Hill College, so his maturity is an asset as well.
But, insofar as playing ability, it's blocking, blocking, and more blocking. Anything else he gives you is bonus.
2. The Jaguars drafted Williams, Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson in 2017, and are seemingly looking to move into a more power/gap running-based offense. Can you speak about the tenacity of Williams' blocking and how it may help Jacksonville's run game transition to a more smash mouth football team?
As I said in the first answer, Williams will definitely be a force in the run game. Coupled with Fournette and Robinson, a power run element should be added to Jacksonville's offense, for sure.
For his part, Williams is a willing and physical blocker, with enough athleticism to get to the second level and block linebackers. He was as big as or bigger than some defensive linemen he blocked at Miami (Williams is 280 pounds, remember), and he uses that size to his advantage. Here, you can see Williams lead the way for a nice gain, blocking the backer and finishing the block (with an assist from and offensive line making his way to the second level as well)
Marquez Williams is all about smash mouth football. He's a throwback type player, who can be very good in a lead-blocking role, if he proves to be athletic enough to seal the edge and get to the second level against NFL defenses.
3. Is Williams at all an asset in the passing game? Either in pass protection or catching out of the backfield?
Williams has surprisingly soft hands for a man his size. On a Miami team with numerous NFL caliber players, it was Williams who scored the first touchdown of the 2016 season on a short pass in the flat. I wouldn't expect much more than the occasional pass in the flat to Williams, but that should be good enough from a mostly-blocking fullback.
As far as pass protection, Miami threw mostly from a single-back or shotgun set, so we didn't see that much from Williams. He was, however, involved in pass pro on a few play action passes out of the I-formation, and did well in that engagement. Much like I said about his run blocking, if Williams has the athleticism to deal with quicker NFL caliber athletes — most likely on the edge in pass pro — then he'll do well because he's got the build to be a great blocker.
4. Do you have a favorite play from Williams during his time with the Hurricanes?
Easy answer. The first touchdown of the year for the Miami Hurricanes against the Florida A&M University.
Miami, with Brad Kaaya, Mark Walton (a great running back you may not have heard of), first-rounder David Njoku, freshman All-American Ahmmon Richards, and NFL draft pick Stacy Coley... went to a grad transfer from Mars Hill College to score the first touchdown of the year. That's pretty cool, if you ask me.
5. The fullback position is a dying breed in the NFL, so what traits does Williams possess as a player that will allow him to have a lengthy career in the league?
Williams' best attributes are his size, his strength, and his tenacity. If he can find the right situation, he could stick around for a while. Jacksonville didn't even have a FB on the roster in 2016, so this is definitely a change of paradigm for the Jaguars. And, for Williams, it's hopefully the beginning of a career where he blocks a bunch of people, catches a few passes in the flat, and maybe, just maybe, wins a Super Bowl.
There seems to already be a lot of love for Williams in Jacksonville, and Cameron points out numerous reasons why we should be excited about the big fullback.