Former Boston College running back Andre Williams didn't immediately know quite what his official 40-yard dash time was Wednesday at the Golden Eagles' pro day event, but he was relieved to learn from scouts that his goal of improving on his 4.56 clocking at the NFL Scouting Combine was accomplished.
"I don't have any official times, but they told me I did better than I did at the combine," he said, according to The Associated Press. "They gave me (unofficial) times, but I'm not really trying to put them out there."
Still, it's not as though 4.56 is moving slow for a player of Williams' size (5-foot-11, 230 pounds). His time ranked 15th among running backs at the combine, and the cast of those who ran faster is loaded with smaller backs who aren't nearly as powerful: Dri Archer, Henry Josey, Ladarius Perkins, De'Anthony Thomas. In fact, not one back who ran faster weighs 230. Some of the more notable bigger backs trailed Williams: LSU's 233-pounder Jeremy Hill (4.66), Ohio State's 230-pounder Carlos Hyde (4.66), Florida State's 232-pounder James Wilder (4.86).
BC coach Steve Addazio raved about Williams after the workout.
"Obviously, what I've said all along is he's a tremendous kid, high caliber, a good guy and a BC graduate. A tremendous worker on the field," Addazio said. "A lot of NFL teams are looking for big strong running backs, first- and second-down running backs that can pass protect. He's tremendous in pass protection and can stop a linebacker on a dime. He can get that four-yard carry for you and he has home run hitting capability, and I think that's what makes him very attractive."
Williams also said he wanted to use the pro day event as a chance to showcase his pass-catching ability and show he can play on every down. It's an increasingly tougher sell for running backs in the NFL now, as more clubs are using multiple backs at modest salaries to handle the rushing load on more of a situational basis. Even for Williams, who set BC records this year with 355 carries for 2,177 yards.