The Patriots are certainly in the market for a power, inside-the-tackles runner with LeGarrette Blount set to test free agency. The Patriots have been shuffling guys in recent years, using Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, and Steven Jackson since Week 1 of the 2014 season. While the 2016 Running Back Class lacks the star power that next year's class will offer, there are some good value picks available at the position for a team that runs a committee like the Patriots do. Jonathan Williams brings power between the tackles and should benefit behind the Patriots Power Blocking Scheme.
The Patriots do have recent history with the Arkansas program, now coached by Bret Bielema. They drafted defensive end Trey Flowers and tight end AJ Derby last year, both of whom competing for a roster spot in 2016. Arkansas isn't on the level of Alabama or LSU when it comes to producing top talent, but they do run a good program that surprised many in 2015. They have two good RB prospects headed to the NFL in both Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. Williams wound up missing the 2015 season with a foot injury and hasn't seen real game action since December 2014, so there is going to be inevitable rust.
So what skills does he bring to the table? Williams measured in at the Senior Bowl at 5'11" 219 and a strong lower half. For a big guy he has good feet to cut laterally when needed, but is at his best when going north-south. Williams isn't going to blow anyone away in terms of speed, but is impossible to arm tackle when he gets going and gains a lot of yards after contact. In addition to his ability to run the ball, Williams is also well-coached as a pass blocker which could keep him on the field for 3rd and Short plays. The only concern I have with him is he can raise his pad level a bit when he gets tired.
Williams brings Day 2 Value to the Patriots as an immediate plug and play starter in the Patriots committee. His ability to grind yards after contact as well as being able to pass protect effectively should make him a good fit in the system. He's not going to put up big receiving numbers like Shane Vereen, Kevin Faulk, Dion Lewis, or Danny Woodhead but that's not his job. Overall, I would give him a mid-3rd round grade with late-2nd round value. Bill Belichick loves value guys, Williams is arguably the best value pick from this year's RB class. If he's there at 92, I'd take him.