Dallas Cowboys: How good is Connor Williams?

3 of 3
Connor Williams, LG, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Connor Williams, LG, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Gap Blocking

I’m showing this play once again because this was undoubtedly one of Williams’s best reps on a gap run. On dives and powers, Williams wins at the LOS with good mental processing to read and react to his assignment and then displays solid use of hands to initiate at the POA. When he does this, he is good at steering the defender in the direction of his momentum or away from the ball.

On gap runs, he wins with his good athletic ability, specifically his good foot speed, lateral quickness, and explosiveness to quickly move off the LOS and explode to his hole. He displays good mental processing when attacking his hole to identify his assignment and possesses solid usage of hands to initiate at the POA in order to leverage the gap or drive the defender from the ball.

Williams can struggle when blocking gap runs because he will incorrectly place his hands on a defender’s shoulder pads or with one hand on the defender’s back allowing the defender to leverage the gap and disengage from him in order to tackle the ball carrier.

It is necessary that I reiterate this does not happen regularly. When he loses, this is how.

Grade: Good

Zone/Space Blocking

Williams displays good mental processing off the LOS to read and react to his defender and then he uses his good agility and acceleration to initiate at the POA and routinely finish with reach and scoop breaks against very good run defenders. In space, he is very consistent at recognizing who is assignment and displays the play speed and solid usage of hands necessary to block in space against smaller defenders like linebackers and defensive backs.

Williams can lose when on zone runs because he tries to move too quickly through his read progression. In this play, unfortunately, at the very end of the Minnesota game, the defender attacks the A gap off the snap. Williams anticipates it but he misses sealing the defender inside by not making contact with his shoulder bump. This small mistake keeps Travis Frederick from finishing the block allowing the defender to end up in the backfield while Williams is blocking the second level.

While in this instance, the mistake proved costly down the road, Williams very rarely makes mistakes on zone or space blocks to warrant serious concern.

Grade: Very Good


A lot happens in a year. In 2018, Williams’ anchor was marginal he would often get pushed back into the QB with seemingly no control over the defender. The extra mass has done him wonders in this department.

The mass Williams put on over the last offseason has now allowed him to win matchups against bull and power rushes while standing upright in his stance. There are certainly times where his anchor gives too much but the progress from the year is excellent and it should only get better with time.

Grade: Solid

Pass Protection

The last thing on this list and likely the most important. How good is Williams in pass protection?

It is always important to remember that offensive linemen, especially at the professional level, are likely to win over 60 percent of their individual matchups. The best will win well over 90 percent of their matchups.

According to ESPN, the Cowboys were eleventh in the league last season in Pass Block Win Rate at 61 percent.

While it is unsure how they got the percentage, what is we do know is how and when Williams wins, and it happens a LOT more than people realize. Williams wins with good mental processing to read and react to his defenders and uses his good agility and lateral quickness to maintain his relationship with his defender out of his pass set. He displays solid usage of hands and will win when he can initiate contact at the POA first allowing him to place his hands on the breastplate of the defender while mirror their feet.

He also displays good hip fluidity in addition to his lateral quickness to follow defenders after a pass rusher’s first move. Below against Washington was a good example.

Williams can struggle in pass protection, but as stated before, it is not often. When he does struggle, his usage of hands is the biggest reason. He isn’t always aggressive at the POA to initiate contact first. When initiating contact last, he often finds both his hands on the defender’s shoulder pads or he will miss on his punch location altogether.

In all, Williams is still a good pass protector. He doesn’t get beat with power as often as he used to and his timing and location on punches can be fixed with more aggression. The Cowboys have a good guard starting for them on either side of the line and it seems they recognize that.

More from Dallas Cowboys

What this also means is that 2019 third-round pick Connor McGovern, should not, and will likely not, take over the starting role in the event of Williams getting his third injury in as many years. Williams’s floor coming out of college was higher than McGovern’s and with significantly more experience, Williams should be the undisputed starter.

Obviously this would change if Williams takes a gigantic step back, but what the team has now is a good starting-caliber guard. In a league where good offensive line depth is becoming increasingly difficult to find, the Cowboys should be feeling extremely comfortable considering their depth at prime positions.

Trending. More passes to Pollard and Zeke - is that a good thing?. light

Next. Dallas Cowboys Should Target this Safety. dark

So to finally answer the original question of this article, how good is Connor Williams? My answer:

He is good, but not good enough to the point that Dallas fans will irrationally dislike him for being one of the worse starters in his position group only to realize how good he actually was when he inevitably leaves the team.