The more I watched Connor Williams play, the more he grew on me.
The first time I ran through his tape, I put a little too much weight on some of his “bad” plays, when he was beaten in one-on-one pass rush situations. The more I paid attention, however, the more I realized they were the exceptions.
Williams has some of the best footwork for a tackle that I have seen in a while.
Generally when he did get beat, it was just because the pass rusher avoided Williams’ hands. But Williams was usually still in front of the guy because of those quick feet.
Williams had a smooth and consistent kick-step on the snap of the football, which allowed him to intercept even the widest pass rushers, while also letting him quickly change directions to shut down counter moves inside.
And I tell you what, the dude has some vice grips for hands, too.
If he got his mitts on a pass rusher, you could usually cancel Christmas.
Even when it looked like a guy might be about to turn the corner on him, if Williams had a handful of jersey, he would ride them right on by the quarterback.
Every once in a while, he just might finish them to the ground and disrespectfully lay on them as he watched the rest of the play.
Yeah, Williams has a nasty streak, something that also grew on me.
But even with his picture-perfect pass sets, Williams did sometimes give up the edge.
The weird thing is, most of the time, Williams would appear to be doing everything right, then, inexplicably, he would just open up the gate and give up the edge.
A few other times, he had his punch knocked down before he could get his hands on the pass rusher. Those occasions were pretty rare, but when it happened, those guys got clean wins on him.
Context matters, however.
In the four games I watched, Williams didn’t give up a single sack and only allowed three pressures. While he did “lose” on eight other one-on-one pass rush occasions, that isn’t exactly a huge number. On the overwhelming majority, he not only won, he was dominant.
I was really impressed with his patience as well.
He never seemed to panic, no matter where the guy he was responsible for blocking was coming from. Williams never looked out of control.
The funny thing is, the more I started to appreciate Williams as a pass blocker, the more I noticed him getting after it as a run blocker.
Pancakes always stand out to even the most casual fan, but play in and play out, I loved how Williams would drive his feet on contact.
A lot of run blockers only try to come off hard and get that initial pop on a defender, but Williams looked like he was being filmed for training tape on the sleds, chopping his feet and gaining inch after inch after inch until you look up and his has pushed his man five yards off the ball.
Then, he usually looked to finish them.
Williams believed in being the hammer and not the nail, and he wasn’t content just to do his job on most running plays. He was one of those play-through-the-whistle guys, and if he caught you slipping, you were going down.
Of course, sometimes that got him in trouble with the refs.
Now, usually I don’t get too exercised about holding calls if they are just aggressive plays. But I do have to point out a couple of times Williams basically dared the refs to throw a flag by blatantly slinging his opponent to the ground when he had no need to.
I love the edge he plays the game with, but I’m hoping Williams will cut that kind of unnecessary shit out in the league. Nothing more frustrating than a big play coming back because of a stupid penalty.
On another note, Williams didn’t pull at all in the games that I watched.
He did block outside on a few end-arounds and quarterback throw-back plays, however, and he looked pretty good blocking in space on those occasions.
I also didn’t see Williams blocking on the second level in the run game that much, but when he did, he looked more than capable. While there wasn’t a whole lot of tape of Williams making blocks in space, he handled it well enough that I would feel comfortable asking him to do it in the league.
It is obvious that the kid is really athletic for his size.
If his new team needs him to pull on counter plays, I don’t think he would have any trouble doing it quite well.
Williams has the size you like in an offensive tackle, at 6’5 and 320 pounds. I actually believe he is athletic and explosive enough to play guard or tackle, possibly on either side, too. He has that nasty streak and functional strength that you want.
You top that off with some dope technique, and you have yourself what looks to be a first-round pick.
Williams should’ve heard his name called on the first night, but he landed in the second round to the Cowboys instead. But he will be protecting quarterbacks for a long time in the NFL.
Since I don’t have access to all-22 for college football games I use the next best thing for my draft profiles and go to draftbreakdown.com, where they post the TV copy of a bunch of top prospects’ games already cut up and ready to go. This time, draftbreakdown only had three of Williams’ games from last season, so I had to use Google to find one more. For the purposes of this breakdown, I watched Williams play against Maryland, San Jose State, West Virginia, and Texas Tech. Those represented the first, second, 11th, and 12th games on Texas’ schedule last season, respectively.