With the 50th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Connor Williams, tackle/guard from Texas.
Williams has been a personal favorite since studying his freshman season, but his 2017 tape didn’t match his previous body of work. Williams seemed to lose some lateral quickness and had troubles holding up at a high level in protection. A move to guard or center is a possibility depending on how his arm length measures out. Williams is a plus run blocker with plug-and-play technique across the board. If he regains his 2016 form, he will be a good NFL starter. If not, he’ll be an average NFL starter.
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 hear his name called on the first night, and he will be protecting quarterbacks for a long time in the NFL.
Still, Williams has plenty of strength and has always played with good technique, which helps project him as a contributor at any offensive line position. He also has some nastiness to his game and is willing to work hard until the whistle. And because he’s so athletic and has such good technique, he’s excellent pass setting and isn’t generally susceptible to bull rushes because he can sit in his cylinder and anchor well. Good balance also helps him in that regard.
Oh yeah, and Williams also has heavy hands in pass protection and in run blocking that help him finish defenders once he uses his understanding of proper hand placement to attack defenders in the proper spot.
Wide receiver: The Cowboys receiving corps struggled in 2017, and that was before they released Dez Bryant. Adding Allen Hurns helped, but they could still look for more firepower in a Dak-friendly offense.
Guard/Offensive line: Jonathan Cooper moved on, and the Cowboys didn't get a sure-fire replacement in free agency. There is still a discussion about moving La’el Collins back inside, so they need a guard or right tackle. Linebacker: Anthony Hitchens was a solid part of the rotation, but he’s gone. Sean Lee is the main man but his injury history is a problem. Jaylon Smith is still tying to regain his form pre-injury. Dallas could use another piece here.
Defensive tackle: The Cowboys had to play Maliek Collins out of position for much of the year, and the run defense suffered for it. Collins was also not as effective as he was in 2016. A big 1-tech with 3-tech traits would be nice.
Tight end: Jason Witten is retiring. Now that we’ve processed that, tight end certainly moves up on the needs chart.
Safety: Safety is not the most pressing need, but we could certainly see Dallas attack it at some point.
Cowboys draft picks:
(Round-pick in the round-overall pick)
1-19-19: Leighton Vander Esch
2-18-50: Connor Williams