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Pooka Williams Made Quite an Impression on Bengals Coaching Staff During Offseason Program

The 21-year-old signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent.

CINCINNATI — The Bengals have had plenty of success with undrafted free agents over the years. 

From Vontaze Burfict and Vinny Rey to Kyle Cook and Quan Cosby, Cincinnati has always had a knack for finding diamonds in the rough. 

Don't look now, but undrafted running back Pooka Williams could the next player to join that list. The 21-year-old caught the attention of the coaching staff during the Bengals' offseason program. 

"Pooka’s got legitimate speed and quickness," Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. "He’s got some unique skills that can translate into some other things for us."

Williams has worked out at running back and wide receiver. At 5-9, 170 pounds, he's not going to be a bell cow back in the NFL. Instead, look for the Bengals to find creative ways to get the ball in his hands. 

His ability to lineup in the backfield and in the slot gives him a chance to make the roster. 

Williams is also in the mix at punt returner. He didn't return punts at Kansas, but special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons thinks Williams has the talent to make the transition. 

"The thing that showed up is he does have ability. He has the ability to adjust, ability to move, and that's what you're looking for when you go to these things," Simmons said. "It's not necessarily the complete, finished product. It's not the execution of it. But can you see little blips of the athleticism, like 'man, this guy with some coaching and making him understand how to do it, he can do it.' And I think that's going to be the case. If we can get the ball in his hands cleanly, this guy has real, real, real quickness and speed and movement and all the things you look for in a punt returner."

Williams has an uphill climb. He'll battle Trent Taylor and Darius Phillips for the starting punt returner job

The good news is the undrafted rookie has the attention of his coaches. Now it's about learning the concepts, technique and getting comfortable in his new role. 

Williams has a ways to go, but he could be the Bengals next great undrafted free agent signing. 

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