Connor Williams Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Has some quickness
Flashes as a pass protector
Has quick enough feet
Agile in space
Athletic ability for his size
Good fit in a zone-blocking system
Can hit blocks at the second level
Not strong at all
More of a guard build, but a weak guard
Physically has a hard time playing tackle
Short arms for a tackle - 33 inches
Gets bull rushed
Susceptible to power moves
Struggled with speed guys
Summary: Williams is one of the most controversial prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. He is loved by some in the media and has received a lot of hype. Some teams have him higher, but multiple teams have told me that they graded Williams in the mid-rounds. Williams is a love/hate prospect with a big range on where he could get selected.
Williams broke into the starting lineup at left tackle as a freshman for the Longhorns in 2015 and remained there as a sophomore. He had his best season in 2016 helping running back D'Onta Foreman to a big year. In 2017, Williams had a disappointing season opener against Maryland, getting flagged for numerous holds, including some that canceled out big plays for his team. He allowed some pressures and hits, too. Williams had a rough game against USC before he tore knee meniscus and strained ligaments midway through the first half. After missing seven games, Williams returned to play in the final couple of games of 2017 before shutting it down to prepare for the 2018 NFL Draft, skipping his bowl game.
There are some positives to Williams as a player. In pass protection, Williams shows that he is a good athlete with quickness on the edge. Williams has quick feet, balance, and gets depth in his kick slide. As a run blocker, Williams is at his best when he fires to the second level. He is an above-average athlete, so he is quick and agile in space. He can get to blocks on linebackers and defensive backs. His lack of size and strength is not masked when he takes on small defenders. He would be a nice fit for a zone-blocking scheme.
There are a lot of problems for Williams in the NFL. The biggest issues is that he is not strong at all. He plays soft and gets pushed around. He lacks strength in his base and speed rushers can give him problems. He has an issue with sustaining blocks as defenders can break away from his blocks.
As we reported in the Hot Press, Williams was receiving some mid-round grades from evaluators during the season. Some teams have Williams higher, while others really dislike his game. The main issue that sources said was hurting Williams is the lack of strength. One AFC team in need of tackle help said they gave him a late third-round, early fourth-round grade. Another said they gave him a fourth-rounder and could easily have graded him in the fifth round. I spoke with a NFC general manager who scouted Williams in person this season, and they were disappointed in Williams overall. They felt Williams lacked strength and thought him overhyped. This NFC general manager said they thought Williams was a fourth-rounder for them. Some sources felt he should move inside to guard.
For the NFL, Williams is a tweener guard/tackle. His height and lack of length would fit better at guard. However, his lack of strength would be very problematic on the inside as strong or heavy nose tackles will give him problems. His feet and athleticism would fit better at tackle, but he lacks strength there and speed rushers can give him problems. In the 2018 NFL Draft, Williams will probably be a second-day pick, although many mock drafts project Williams to go in the first round and it only takes one team to fall in love.
Player Comparison: Luke Joeckel. Williams' skill set and play reminds me of Joeckel. Both lack power and can get pushed around at the point of attack. The difference between the two is that Joeckel (6-6, 307) is bigger than Williams and a better athlete. Joeckel was a mega-bust as the second-overall pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2013 NFL Draft. In the NFL, I think Williams could struggle in a similar manner to Joeckel as they both play soft.
NFL Matches: Jacksonville, New England, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Denver, Miami, Arizona, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Houston
There are a lot of teams that could be a fit for Williams in the 2018 NFL Draft. He could find a home with one of the playoff teams. The Jaguars' offensive line could still get better and more talented. Williams could compete for the Jacksonville line at right tackle to replace Jeremy Parnell. New England lost Nate Solder in free agency, so Williams could interest the Patriots as a replacement.
Philadelphia needs another tackle of the future to pair with Lane Johnson. Johnson could go to left tackle to replace aging veteran Jason Peters with Williams being the starting right tackle.
Joe Thomas retired, meaning the Browns will need a new starter at left tackle, so it could be possible that they would think of Williams with one of their second-day picks.
Denver could use more offensive line help. The Broncos could book end Garett Bolles with Williams on the right side.
The Dolphins need help on the line and might not keep Ja'Wuan James for the long term. Miami could draft Williams on the second day and start him out at guard. If James isn't in the long-term plans, then Williams could move to right tackle to form a tandem with Laremy Tunsil.
The Cardinals' offensive line was a mess in 2017. If Arizona takes a quarterback in the first round, Williams could make sense for the organization as an offensive line upgrade on Day 2.
Baltimore could use more competition at guard and right tackle. Williams could be a competitor for the Ravens.
Even after trading for Cordy Glenn, Cincinnati could look to do more to improve its offensive line. Williams could be in play as competitor for the Bengals at right tackle or guard.
The Texans have three third-round picks and need offensive line help badly. Williams could interest new Houston general manager Brian Gaine.