2018 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Connor Williams

Connor Williams
Offensive Tackle #55
Sr. 6’5″ 320

Connor Williams might be the first offensive tackle taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s why:

Connor Williams has excelled his entire career at Texas, and there are many reasons for that. The first of which would be his performance in the run game. Williams plays with excellent pad level, which allows him to generate plenty of movement at the line of scrimmage. An underrated aspect of the run game for offensive linemen is their base, Williams has an excellent base. Williams very rarely loses balance once he is engaged with a defender, which allows him to sustain blocks long enough for backs to get through the hole.

Williams acts as the tone setter for the Texas offensive line. He consistently blocks to and through the whistle, and his game can border on dirty. When an offensive linemen blocks through the whistle it gets into the head of defensive linemen. As an offensive lineman, if you can get the defender so pissed off at you, that he wants to beat you instead of making a play, you win. Many offensive line coaches in the NFL love mean linemen because they can teach technique but they cannot teach that mindset.

Another thing that will excite scouts about Williams is his movement ability, Williams gets to the second level of defenses with ease. Many offensive linemen struggle with angles in college, which leads to a struggle cutting off linebackers. Williams is athletic enough to get to linebackers and athletic enough to get out on the edges of defenses. There are very few linemen at the college level who have athleticism and power, and those who possess those traits are frequently drafted very early.

Williams does an excellent job of form blocking in the run game. Williams does a good job of putting his facemask on defenders chests, which gives him leverage by raising their pad level. He has very strong hands which allow him to sustain blocks when defenders try to use a secondary move.

Pass Protection

Like I said before, Williams has excellent athleticism. However, the problem is how frequently that is Williams main tool. Williams consistently has a wasted step in his pass set, which leaves him at a technical disadvantage. As a scout seeing how effective Williams is even with inefficient technique, is very exciting. Williams consistently gets beat off of the line but has the ability to make up the wasted time, which is very rare.

Where Williams excels in pass protection is his hand usage. Williams does a good job of striking with good aim right on defenders chests, which allows him to utilize his length. Since Williams does a good job of using his length to keep defenders off his body, his anchor is superb. Defenders cannot get the leverage needed to bull rush Connor Williams.

Bottom Line

Williams needs to work on his technique as a pass protector, but he has all the athleticism to excel at the next level. Williams also has all the ability to be a very solid run blocker at the left tackle position. Williams should be the first tackle taken in the 2018 NFL draft. He has the traits scouts look for at the tackle position, combined with the ability to connect that with technique.

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