Pooka Williams Jr. - Running Back Kansas Jayhawks 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Scouting report for NFL Draft prospect Pooka Williams Jr.

POOKA WILLIAMS | Kansas | RB | #1 | Jr | 5095 | 170 | 4.36e | New Orleans, LA | Hahnville | 06.19.99


One of the lone bright spots among a struggling Kansas program over the last few seasons, Williams brought a dynamic element to the offense that the Jayhawks had sorely missed. A rare case study for the position, Williams runs with outstanding contact balance and power for a back of his smaller stature. He demonstrates outstanding initial acceleration to break the second level and create some explosive plays. When Williams is able to work in space, he is a nifty runner with a quick twitch to create extra yardage in traffic. In the pass game, Williams has flashed solid work as a pass receiver, but has almost no ability to work effectively in pass protection. His size profile lacks power through his lower half with no chance to counteract momentum from opposing defenders. As a runner, his vision can be very hit or miss, too often not pressing hard enough front side and taking everything out of the back door. Pencil in the obvious physical limitations. Coupled with off-field concerns, Williams decrease in production in 2020 leaves tremendous question marks for the play-maker’s future. His biggest impact will need to come as a space specialist who also contributes heavily in the return game. Without some serious retooling, Williams sits as nothing more than a late-round flier who could struggle to grab any type of offensive role at the next level.


Given name is Anthony Williams. Raised in the New Orleans, Louisiana area. Four-star recruit according to 247Sports. Sport Management major. Played in 11 games as a freshman. Played in 11 games missing 1 game due to suspension as a sophomore. Parents are married. Suspended for seven months and the first game of the 2019 season due to a domestic battery arrest (December 2018). Was accused of grabbing his girlfriend's throat and punching her. Had to complete counseling and community service.

POOKA WILLIAMS | Kansas Virtual Pro Day Interview | Courtesy of PFWA

WHAT WERE YOU HAPPY ABOUT OVERALL? -- "Honestly, I was happy about the whole thing really. Just performed and being myself for real."

WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE TYPE OF POSITION OR ROLE YOU MIGHT PLAY AT THE NEXT LEVEL? -- "Actually, like, punt returner or receiver and running back. But that's what I do."

DID YOU TAKE PART IN ANY RECEIVING DRILLS? HOW DID YOU DO? -- "I think good. I ran a go ball and a post at receiver."

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM KU THE MOST THAT YOU CAN TAKE TO THE NEXT LEVEL? -- "Responsibility and loyalty. I learned at KU. Are you talking about outside of football or just on football?"

BOTH -- "Actually, I'm not going to say the concept of football, but, like, how linebackers operate more."

WAS THIS PRO DAY OR DRAFT PROCESS SOMETHING YOU THOUGHT ABOUT A LOT? -- "Most definitely. That should be everybody who plays football's dream and goals honestly."

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LESSONS YOU'VE LEARNED AS A PERSON? -- "Don't take nothing for granted. I learned that. And just keep working and just being myself honestly."

AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE PLAYING COLLEGE BALL, HAVING A SHOT AT THE NFL WAS SOMETHING YOU COULD ACHIEVE? -- "Nothing actually. Just people always telling me my speed will carry me a long way. And once I got to middle school, it was like I'm actually good at football. Then I got to high school, now, I got to start taking it serious. Then that's when I really started taking football serious was in high school."

WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE NFL DRAFT PROCESS? -- "What excites me the most is me living my dream. My dream is finally coming to reality and just doing the process is exciting honestly."

WHAT SKILLSET OF YOURS TRANSLATES WELL TO THE NEXT LEVEL? -- "My route running, my hands, and the attitude I bring toward the game."

WHAT'S NEXT AS YOU RAMP UP FOR THE DRAFT? -- "The process I'm most focused on is gaining my weight back and just going through the process and live the dream."

WHAT ARE YOUR TAKEAWAYS SO FAR AS YOU'VE TALKED TO TEAMS? WHAT ARE THEY TELLING YOU AS FAR AS YOUR DRAFT POSITION? ANY VISITS? -- "We ain't been talking about the — and honestly I don't care where I go as I get to go. I'll make sure I perform."

HAVE THE CHIEFS EXPRESSED INTEREST IN YOU? -- "Honestly they did, but it was like we didn't talk too long."

CAN YOU GIVE US AN UPDATE ON YOUR MOTHER SINCE SHE WAS THE REASON WHY YOU OPTED OUT? -- "She way better, actually way better. Just the process, going through the process, and she's getting way better as she do."

WHAT WAS HER ISSUE? -- "I'm not even sure."


WILL THE TIME AWAY HELP OR HURT YOU IN THE DRAFT? -- "Nah. I feel like, like I said, if it do hurt me, once I get in there, I'll just prove myself again."

WHAT TYPE OF THINGS DID YOU DO TO PREPARE? -- "I was just training. I was training in Baton Rouge at first. Then, I went out to Vegas and training for a pro day."

IN VEGAS, DID YOU TRAIN AT A CERTAIN FACILITY? -- "He's like my cousin — I call him my cousin. Pete Robinson, I'm still with him. That's why I really went to Vegas and trained out there."

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO TRAIN OUT THERE? -- "40 starts. Like, really, all the pro day stuff."

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT MAYBE ANY PROJECTIONS? -- "Nah, I don't really pay any media about that. It's just, like I said, it is what it is, and whenever I do get drafted, call my name, I'm going to prove myself, no matter what round I go."

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE GAME THAT YOU LOVE? -- "Just making plays and the physicality of the game. It's a physical game and it's easy to get aten. I know I ain't going to get ate. So, it's like my mindset is just different when it comes to football."

WHO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN GETTING IN TOUCH WITH THE GAME GROWING UP? -- "As a football, like growing up, I admired Reggie Bush. I just always felt like I played like him. I had 25, like, through all park ball. Just had No. 25. And it's like I admire my game after him."

WHAT KIND OF ADVICE HAVE YOU TAKEN FROM AMIK ROBERTSON AS YOU HEAD INTO THIS? -- "Me and Amik talk daily. Every day he come over. I sit on the cot and he sit in the chair and we just talk. We talk about football. We talk about life and everything that is going to come through, that I'm going to face. He just told me be myself. God got you. You're going to be good. That's what happened. I've been myself."

ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR AMIK ROBERTSON TOLD YOU? -- "Nah, not really. He told me a couple things, but not really though."

HAVE YOU HEARD FROM THE SAINTS? HAVE PEOPLE ASKED YOU ABOUT IT? -- "Yeah, that's going to be a common question. I talked to them. I had a meeting with them, I think it was Tuesday. It was Wednesday actually. I talked to them and the conversation went well, but that's a common question I'm going to get regardless of who I'm meeting being close to New Orleans."

HAVE YOU TALKED TO OTHER GUYS IN THE NFL FROM AROUND HERE LIKE LEONARD FOURNETTE OR TYRANN MATHIEU? -- "Yeah. I've been talking to those guys since I've been in high school. [Tyron Johnson]. I ain't really talked to Tyrann Mathieu, but Leonard. That's really it. They just told me to keep my head on and be special."



WHAT KIND OF PLAYER WOULD AN NFL TEAM BE GETTING AS A PLAYER, PERSON WITH POOKA WILLIAMS? -- "Honestly, a game changer, and just a workaholic. Just getting to it."

HOW MANY TEAMS HAVE YOU TALKED TO SO FAR? -- "I'm not sure. It's been probably about five-plus."

WHAT ARE THE CONVERSATIONS USUALLY LIKE? -- "It's usually just about football and, yeah, about football really. Understanding the meeting and getting to know me as a person."

DO YOU KIND OF SEE YOURSELF IN ANY SPECIFIC ROLE? -- "I do all of that [receiving, running, returning, slot receiving]. Like I said, that's my game."

IS THERE A MOMENT HERER AT KU THAT YOU'LL REMEMBER THE MOST? -- "My freshman year against — I think it was against Central Michigan. It was against Central Michigan. That was my first game and I went out there and performed. And we ended up winning the game and that was our first road game in like a decade, first road game win in like a decade."

IS THAT THE GAME YOU'LL REMEMBER THE MOST? -- "Nah. I think the game I will remember the most is Oklahoma though my freshman year."

DO YOU PRIDE YOUR GAME ON THE ABILITY TO GRIND OUT YARDS? -- "Most definitely. Like I said, it's a physical game, and I love being physical. I'm just not going to get bullied. It don't matter the size."

DO YOU TAKE THAT MENTALITY TO PASS PROTECTION AS WELL? -- "Every time I get on the field that's my mindset no matter what I'm doing. That's my mindset."


DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE UNDER THE RADAR AS A PROSPECT? -- "I am, but it's like underdog always come out on top. At the end of the day, I signed up for it. I came to Kansas and that's what it is. Actually, I'm glad I'm an underdog."

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