Bengals News

Pooka Williams is the best UDFA on the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster

Cincinnati Bengals half back Pooka Williams Jr (36) runs the ball during a mini camp practice inside of Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.Cincinnati Bengals Mini Camp
Cincinnati Bengals half back Pooka Williams Jr (36) runs the ball during a mini camp practice inside of Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.Cincinnati Bengals Mini Camp /
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The Cincinnati Bengals made the most of their 10 draft picks but they also went to work in finding top-notch undrafted free agents — or UDFAs, as they’re often referred to as. Pooka Williams was a popular signing at the time and he’s still looked at as the best UDFA on the Bengals’ roster.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report put together a list of the best UDFAs on every NFL roster and for the Bengals — you guessed it– it’s Pooka Williams.

"Though undersized at 5’10” and 170 pounds, Williams is a terror around the edge and in open space. While he isn’t going to replace Bernard as Cincinnati’s third-down back—blitz pickups could be a problem, given his size—Williams could be a fine change-of-pace alternative to Mixon.While Williams only appeared in four games with Kansas last season before opting out, he was a 1,000-yard rusher the previous two years. In all, he racked up 2,689 scrimmage yards and 14 touchdowns between the 2018 and 2019 campaigns."

As someone who lives near Lawrence (where Williams played college football), I watched a lot of him during his time at Kansas. Trust me when I say that he was the only bright spot on an otherwise dull offense and the only reason the Jayhawks were ever competitive in games was because of what Williams offered on the offensive side of the ball.

Williams isn’t going to be the starter in Cincinnati and he might not have a big role in the run game this year but he’s someone who could rise to the top of the depth chart in the future. The Bengals have given him a look on special teams to see if he could be a return specialist and that could be his best shot to make the roster honestly.

Pooka Williams is the UDFA to watch for the Cincinnati Bengals.

It’ll be interesting to see the running back situation play out in training camp and preseason. Joe Mixon is the starter, Samaje Perine is the backup, but behind that, there are openings. The Bengals spent a sixth-round pick on Chris Evans out of Michigan and Trayveon Williams is returning for year three as well.

Knox mentions in his article though about how Giovani Bernard’s departure could leave a big enough hole that the Bengals opt to keep more running backs on their roster.

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It won’t be easy for Williams to make a major impact with the running backs as a rookie but he could make the roster and hopefully he does.

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