Leigh Steinberg talks Jamaal Williams’ NFL future

Former BYU Running back Jamaal Williams signed with NFL agent Leigh Steinberg in preparation for his NFL career.
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo

Life as a professional is often a cut-throat experience. This applies to accountants, reporters, doctors, and athletes. Often times, getting your foot in the door isn’t about what you know, but about who you know.

For a player entering the NFL, having the right agent is one of the most important steps a rookie can take. BYU running back Jamaal Williams didn’t waste any time to find the best representation as he signed with Leigh Steinberg the day after the Poinsettia Bowl.

Steinberg represents over 300 professional athletes and has represented the number one overall pick in the NFL draft eight times. His career is the real-life inspiration for the movie Jerry Maguire.

Safe to say Williams will have plenty of experience in his corner as he prepares for his NFL career.

Over his career, Steinberg has represented a plethora of BYU athletes including: Steve Young, Lee Johnson, Jim Herrmann, Jason Buck, and Shawn Knight.

Steinberg believes that Williams is a very special athlete and the team that drafts him will gain a talented player.

“People are starting to understand that he has some unique qualities,” said Steinberg. “He really is an all-around back. He is big and strong, he can hit the hole, he has home run capacity.”

That ability showed this week at the Senior Bowl as Williams turned heads, rising to as high as the third-rated back in a talented class. Jamaal has plenty of opportunity to continue to develop his stock as the process continues.

“The system of scouting is so elaborate that players have chance after chance after chance,” said Steinberg.

All those chances keep players extremely busy in their preparation.

“After the Senior Bowl, he’ll go back to training then he’ll have the combine, do the five drills and have a chance to meet with teams one-on-one. After that, he’ll come back to the Y for Pro Scouting Day in March,” said Steinberg. “Any team interested in him after that can come out to BYU and work out with him again.”

Those workouts can be just as important as in-game performance.

“The second season of scouting can become every bit as determinative as the years played on a college campus,” said Steinberg. “The league has become completely forty crazy. If someone runs a fast forty, they will vault up in the draft. The question of whether or not they can catch a pass, cover someone, or read a hole seems to be forgotten.”

Steinberg says that it’s become important because it is the way scouts can predict potential at the next level.

“The testables are the one thing that teams can fall back on, cause they’re testable. A failed high draft pick is a way that a GM and a scouting staff can be criticized for.”

One thing that will benefit Williams is the newfound emphasis of finding talented running backs.

“Williams is big and strong and durable. I think there’s great things ahead. We went through a period where running backs were so downgraded that the first one picked was like in the third round,” said Steinberg. “This went on for fix or six years but now it’s come around again with the success of Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon.”

Steinberg says that one of the most important things for a young professional athlete is a strong support system. He learned first-hand that Williams has exactly that.

“We met the day after the bowl game,” said Steinberg. “They brought a whole slew of folks – his entire extended family plus some BYU alum that were friends of his. Our office looked like the stands of a stadium.”

The next few months will be a grind for Williams as he prepares for the draft, and he has the support and knowledge to be successful. The rest is up to him.


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