Name: Connor Williams
Position: Offensive Tackle
Williams is a bit of a tweener as far as size goes. On the one hand, at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, it seems like he should be destined to be an NFL tackle. But on the other hand, he has short arms for his frame, which could restrict him to playing inside. Williams has the legs and midsection of an All-Pro NFL lineman, however. He is lean but not at all slight as most of his 32o pounds is muscle. If not for his lack of length, Williams would have the prototypical build for an starting left tackle at the next level.
This is a bit of a question mark for Williams. And not because he is not a gifted athlete but because 2017 was an injury-plagued year for Williams, and it showed on the field. He was just a hair slower on his run blocks and was beat around the edge a little more often than in his first two seasons. That being said, when healthy Williams has all the athletic tools. He has good enough straight line speed for a guy his size and good lateral quickness. His footwork and body control are flawless; he is never on the ground unless he is finishing a block. Williams has good power in his legs and arms to accompany a quick first step. The only concerns with his athleticism moving forward is whether his injury history is a permanent setback or just a minor hiccup.
Williams has a nastiness in his run blocking. He fires hard and sticks to every block he makes. He never gives up on a play, consistently driving until the whistle blows. For a man his height, he maintains good leverage and body control, which allows him to finish blocks after the initial push. As a tackle in a spread offense, he did not do a lot of second level blocking. However, on outside runs and screens, he gets moving downhill and throws blocks ferociously in space. There is no doubt he could translate to guard at the next level, if that is what his future holds. His power and mean streak will take him a long way.
Technically speaking, Williams is virtually flawless as a pass protector. His set is perfect, allowing himself to mirror his defender’s moves. He never over-sets so rushers almost never beat him inside. Despite his short arms, Williams uses his hands exceptionally well. He always delivers the first punch, keeping separation from the rusher or riding him upfield. Williams can feel the pocket as well as anyone in this draft class and knows when to go with the rusher or set and counter moves. His lateral quickness allows him to keep with the fastest of speed rushes. On top of all of that, he has great instincts on stunts and blitzes. He rarely, if ever, looks over-matches or outsmarted. Simply put, were it not for an injury-laden 2017, Williams would likely be a top-10 pick.
Williams is a pick of versatility. He has size and nastiness to play guard but athleticism and technique to play tackle. He is already a pro-ready prospect who could start day one at just about any position on the line. The Vikings are most in need of guards with Joe Berger potentially retiring. If the Vikings were to convert Williams to guard, there is precedent: Zack Martin and Brandon Scherff were both All-American left tackles in college before becoming Pro Bowl guards in the NFL. And as mentioned above, Williams can be a plus run blocker on the inside.
The Vikings would likely have to use a first round pick, but Williams should be an improvement to the Vikings’ line. If at guard, he would be preferable to Danny Isidora or Jeremiah Sirles as a starter. But if the Vikings saw him as a right tackle, which is probably where he would be best-suited, then Mike Remmers could bump inside permanently. Remmers played guard for the final few weeks of the season and performed fairly well in that spot. Regardless, Williams has quality NFL starter written all over him, despite his most recent tape being a little lackluster.
- Vikings offensive line coach, former Dolphins, Raiders head coach Tony Sparano dies at 56
- Vikings Camp Spotlight: Ade Aruna
- “Minneapolis Miracle” Wins Best Moment ESPY
- Zimmer says Remmers likely to play guard
- The Vikings Pass Rush in 2018