Green Bay Packers pick RB Dexter Williams in sixth round of NFL Draft

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

A redemptive season gave way to a lifelong dream on Saturday.

The latter would have been impossible without the former.

Dexter Williams — not even an NFL Draft afterthought when his senior season started, with 99 largely uneventful career carries and a four-game suspension — landed in the 2019 draft’s sixth round and is headed to the Green Bay Packers after being selected with pick No. 194 overall.

He becomes the fifth Notre Dame player to come off the board in the three-day, seven-round draft that began Thursday night following. Williams followed defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (1st round, Los Angeles Chargers), wide receiver Miles Boykin (3rd, Baltimore Ravens), cornerback Julian Love (4th, New York Giants) and linebacker Drue Tranquill (4th, Chargers).

Williams will join former Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, a sixth-round pick in 2018, on the Packers roster.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Williams becomes just the fourth Notre Dame running back to be drafted since his former position coach, Autry Denson, was a seventh-rounder in 1999. The others are Julius Jones (2nd round, 2004), Theo Riddick (6th round, 2013) and C.J. Prosise (3rd round, 2016).

Coming into 2018, the Orlando, Fla., product had never logged more than eight carries in a game or 39 in a season. On his first carry after the suspension, he ran through and past the Stanford defense for a 45-yard TD.

He finished the 38-17 rout of the Cardinal on Sept. 29 with then-career highs of 21 carries and 161 yards. Williams almost got to the 1,000-yard mark for the season in just nine games, finishing with 995 on 158 carries and 12 TDs. He added a career-high 16 receptions for 133 yards and a TD.

Both Rivals and 247Sports rated Williams as a four-star recruit coming out of West Orange High School in Winter Garden. Fla. Rivals rated him as the No. 12 running back in the class, while 247Sports had him 14th.

I get to keep the green it’s on now

— 2_JUICE (@DexterW_22) April 27, 2019

We're so proud of the man @DexterW_22 has become on and off the field. Great choice, @packers! #packersdraft#GraduatingChampionspic.twitter.com/iuMHjftyCZ

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) April 27, 2019

With the 194th pick in the 2019 #NFLDraft, the #Packers select Notre Dame RB Dexter Williams!#PackersDraft#GoPackGopic.twitter.com/KdwEWVDV6P

— Green Bay Packers (@packers) April 27, 2019

Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams (2) tries to get past Clemson’s A.J. Terrell (8) during ND's 30-3 loss to the Tigers, Dec. 29 in the College Football Playoff.