Connect with us

Crabbs | OT Connor Williams is worth the hype

Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire

NFL Draft

Crabbs | OT Connor Williams is worth the hype

Discussion for top prospects eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft starts and ends with players at the “sexy” positions. Quarterbacks like Sam Darnold, running backs such as Saquon Barkley and pass rushers like Arden Key get the most fanfare. It’s understandable, considering more often than not teams hope to acquire the services of high impact positions at the top of the draft.

But the offensive tackle position plays a vital role in a successful game plan. The NFL game is centered around supporting or disrupting quarterback play; so getting the most out of protection is a vital piece of the game. Enter Texas‘ Junior offensive tackle Connor Williams. The conversation often starts and ends with Williams when analysts discuss top tackle prospects. While I do think Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey will have something to say about it when it’s all said and done, I can easily understand why Williams is the hot name.

He is the real deal. 

What do you want out of a franchise left tackle? Power at the point of attack? Quick feet? Lateral quickness and short area agility? Loose hips and an ability to roll through on impact? All of the above and more? Williams checks all of these boxes on film as a true sophomore in 2016.

Williams has been credited with 23 starts in his career and is listed at 6’6, 315 lbs. Consider that frame when you see him get down the line of scrimmage:

Connor Williams wins this rep with his quick release out of his stance and startling short area quickness. Beating an inside shade across his face with only marginal help from his left guard yields an impressive end result. Also, be sure to note how easily Williams hinges and works his hips around the body of his defender. Getting into an early fit is one thing, but being loose enough to finish the block is another all together.

Remember, Williams is listed at 315 lbs. So as impressive as that mobility is, it is even more so when considering Williams brings this kind of punch to the point of attack as well.

The punch at first contact nearly lifts Oklahoma State’s defensive tackle off the ground. Connor Williams wins with not just mobility, but also with pop/power; as seen here. The cherry on top is Williams effectively climbing off of the double team to wash and seal a potential scraping linebacker, allowing for a big run. Williams had multiple blocks of this caliber against Oklahoma State, taking out numerous defenders in a single shot.

This chip block from Williams provides enough push to uproot a defensive tackle by a good five yards. And when Williams’ pads stick on a linebacker, there’s no opportunity to press or disengage. It is after first contact that impresses me the most about Williams on this particular play, and to me it’s what makes him worth the blue chip hype.

There’s a certain level of fluidity to every move in Williams’ body. No clunky movements, no awkward steps. Williams has a rare ability to maneuver his frame by “any means necessary”; each limb moves independently and does so with great economics. Two clean recovery steps and strong hands allow Williams to truly stick onto this block, where a lesser athlete would have lost his footing and slipped off the defender. Instead, Williams’ momentum is effortless transitioned into more push.

To the casual football fan, that’s no big deal. But the balance, power, hand strength and core stability to stay square on an impact such as that one is a big attention grabber to my eye. Teams near the top of the 2018 Draft order will certainly have to weigh their LT position, as Williams will play himself into the conversation with another strong season.

Kyle Crabbs

Kyle Crabbs is the founder/Director of Scouting of NDT Scouting Services, a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the lead NFL Draft analyst for the FanRag Sports Network.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in NFL Draft

To Top