Dallas Cowboys: How good is Connor Williams?

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Connor Williams, LG, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Connor Williams, LG, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Athletic Ability

During the draft process, Williams’s testing numbers were eye candy for teams. Every test he participated in resulted in a Top 50th percentile finish with most ending up in the top 25th percentile. Brother is explosive and can move.

However, running in a straight line doesn’t occur very often for offensive linemen. Their job requires physically imposing their will on the equally physical defense, a defense with often more athletic phenoms than their offensive counterparts.

Testing or not, the athleticism definitely shows up on Williams’ tape. In this run against Minnesota, Williams displays good agility off the LOS to initiate contact at the point of attack against the defender. He then uses his good lateral quickness to maintain his body’s relationship with the defender.

On this screen pass, he displays good foot speed, but more importantly good play speed. (A mental processing component is attached to this). As the play side blocker, he needed to be the first lineman out there. However, even Williams’ athleticism wasn’t good enough to account for the good discipline shown by the Football Team’s defense. (That was very weird to type)

Williams tested like a good athlete and clearly nothing seems to have changed on tape. While lighter coming out of college, his ability to move in space and along the line on zone runs was always a welcome addition to a team that loves running the football.

Play Strength

As previously mentioned, Williams’ strength was a weakness when he was selected to come out of college. At a lean 296 pounds, that weight on his frame was not going to cut it. A 20 pound gain later and it definitely made a world of difference.

On the first run play against Minnesota, you see Williams’s movement but we don’t get to see his strength stand out. However, on this run against New England, not only do we see Williams’s movement, but also we see him completely take out the 4T from the play because he uses his solid leg strength to drive the player into the ground.

Another run against New England sees Williams dive blocking against a 1-technique rusher looking to penetrate the B gap.

Once Williams wins the leverage battle at the point of attack with correct hand placement, he uses his new grip and upper body strength to steer 345-pound defensive tackle, Danny Shelton, to the ground. Everything about this is impressive. One year ago this was a tall order for the left guard, now he was able to do this high in his stance with just his upper body and core strength.

This didn’t happen regularly for Williams, however, feats of strength like this did becoming more popular as the season progressed which likely means the second-year guard was finally getting acclimated to his bigger body. It was unfortunate he tore his ACL not too long after this game; not only was it unfortunate as a human being, but also as a football player he was hitting his stride.

The New England game revealed the true potential of Connor Williams. Let’s just say he’s a GOOD ball player!

Mental Processing

What do we mean here?

How does he read and react to a defender off the LOS? How quickly does react to defenders in space? How quickly can he pick up free rushers either from stunts or delayed blitzes?

Across the league, a point stressed heavily by teams is offensive line continuity. Teams didn’t have preseason games or much time together for OTAs and other voluntary workouts. Linemen need to effectively communicate their assignments and recognize different defensive fronts now more than ever. This is precisely why OG/C Connor McGovern and C Tyler Biadasz haven’t had their fairest of chances competing for the Center position over veteran Joe Looney.

So to answer the original question, how good is Connor Williams at mentally processing his assignments?


Of all the things I knew regarding Williams, I did not expect his awareness to be this good.

Watching this play the first time gave me chills. Watching it successive times left me grinning and yelling in celebration of Williams. The ease with which he puts away two rushers here is sublime. First, he reads the 3-technique attacking the A-gap. He quickly seals him inside with a legal pull while his head faces outside to watch for safety Harrison Smith.

*chef’s kiss*

In fact, on the play above this tweet, Williams is able to maintain his relationship with 1-technique because of how quickly he read and reacts to the first step of the tackle. Off the drive step, Williams reads the tackle going left and instantly changes direction.

On this next play, Williams does struggle blocking a DT-EDGE stunt against New Orleans.

Here the play resulted in a negative run, however, the Saints continued using stunts in an attempt to confuse the Cowboys OL. All it took was one time before he helped put the rest away.

These are just two of the many stunts the Saints threw to limited success against Williams. With Joe Looney filling in for the retired All-Pro Travis Frederick, communication on the left side will be extremely important. Cowboys fans have experienced the struggles of poor communication in Williams’s rookie season. With two seasons in a relatively similar scheme, the experience should hopefully yield positive results on the left side of the offensive line.

Competitive Toughness

This doesn’t require much of an explanation. Williams shows consistent effort on every play. He doesn’t get beat just because his opponent has a better motor than him. After a rookie season that saw him getting physically beaten, the 2019 season saw a Williams that was able to physically impose his will on other stronger defensive linemen. Mentally, no critical situation phased the guard.

Now for the other juicy stuff…