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Film Room: OL Connor Williams Is Cowboys’ Final Piece To Great Run Game

Kevin Brady

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After drafting linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cowboys decided to sure-up their offensive line in round two. With their second pick, the Cowboys drafted home-state lineman Connor Williams with the hopes of moving him from left tackle to left guard.

The 6'5" 291 pound offensive lineman was considered a consensus first round pick heading into 2017, before injuries plagued his final collegiate season. Williams was still able to have a good-enough 2017 season when healthy, and was certainly deserving of being a top 50 pick.

But what are the Cowboys getting in Connor Williams? Let's take a look at the tape and examine what he can bring to Dallas.

The first thing you notice when watching Connor Williams is his demeanor. When drafting offensive linemen, you want them to be the nastiest dudes on the field. You want them to take pride in destroying their opponents will and dominating them each snap.

Connor Williams fits that bill perfectly.

2018 nfl draft connor williams

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As a pass blocker, Williams displays smooth feet, excellent balance, and overall efficiency in his pass set. Rarely did I see Williams overextend or get knocked off balance, and with his ability to re-anchor he did a nice job against bull rushers as well. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams did not give up a single sack over three seasons at Texas.

At left tackle here we see Williams remain patient with his hands before delivering a powerful punch. He then extends the pass rusher around the arc before flipping his hips and driving him upfield. Then, we see Williams' ability to finish and dominate his opponents.

2018 nfl draft connor williams 2

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As a run blocker, Connor Williams is able to display that nastiness as well. Williams has a quick get off, smooth hips, and powerful leg drive when moving defenders off the ball. He is at his best when down blocking and washing defenders down the line of scrimmage.

Here we see Williams in one of those down blocking situations. He is able to put pressure in the defensive end's ear-hole, and overpower him before bringing him to the ground.

Moving to guard Williams will be asked to pull more often than he did at Texas, but with his athletic ability and skill at the second level I see no reason why he can't be effective doing so.

2018 nfl draft connor williams 4

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There are, of course, some negatives to Connor Williams' game. While his lower body is downright text book at times, Williams does have some issues remaining consistent with his punch. This can cause him to land his hands outside, resulting in some opportunities to be called for holding. Williams could also gain some strengthen in both his lower and upper body to help him against bigger defensive tackles in the NFL.

As soon as the Cowboys drafted Williams everyone began wondering if he will be played at guard or tackle. In an ideal world, La'el Collins would stay at right tackle and Williams will kick down to left guard. Williams doesn't have very long arms, and can struggle against speed rushers at times. But at guard, he will be an excellent fit.

Overall, I love the Cowboys selection of Connor Williams 50th overall. He should be an immediate starter at left guard for the Cowboys, and will be the final piece to making their run game great once again.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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3 Comments
  • Saul Molina

    I have no problem with williams the only issue I see he will have to add about 15 to 20 pounds

  • Russ_Te

    I see agility on his tape but not a quick player. That could be wrong. But coming off a knee injury, I think he would have fallen down the draft and I don’t like the pick at 2nd round. Will be happy to have Williams correct me.

    If he catches on we can probably get a swing OL’er out of it. They should ask him to add bulk immediately, and we’ll see if he can win the LG job. I like Fleming and still think we need one more prospect on the OL.

  • Not your goat

    I absolutely love this pick! Coming into day 2 of the draft i wanted Dallas to make a move up in the 2nd and grab Hernandez but that was short lived and I started looking up Linemen further down the board not even realizing Williams was still there. Right before the pick i looked at the BR big board and couldn’t believe my eyes. Obviously Philly failed themselves thinking they were spoilers and sending a kicker up to talk shit but OL was our absolute #1 need at that point after what happened in 2017 w/ the Smith injury and the LG carousel all season, even more than WR and TE. My cousin is Jane Slater from the NFL Network and she even said Williams was #13 on Dallas’ big board in the War Room so the value at that pick was tremendous and could not have been more fortuitous being able to take the best available player and our biggest need at the same time. I feel the same about 4 of our next 7 picks as well. This team is ready to make a rebound and run the East again now that the OL is addressed, secondary is a year older and we don’t have to start the year missing players from suspension or the distraction of fighting them (w/ the hope David Irving’s gf is doesn’t know what she’s talking about). 2018 might not have been Dallas’ sexiest draft of all time but it was exactly what the Cowboys needed to get back on track.

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Have a Championship Defense

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Have a Championship Defense

The Dallas Cowboys are not only breathing in playoff contention, but they're now the favorites to crown themselves as the NFC East champions in 2018. It's pretty impressive how the tables can turn so quickly in the NFL. Dallas played very well against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday and we learned quite a bit from them as they bounced back to .500. Here's this week's Takeaway Tuesday! Enjoy it as much as you did Brett Maher's game winning field goal a couple of days ago.

Cowboys Have a Championship Defense

Despite taking steps in the right direction, it's impossible to compare this offense to units like the Chiefs, Saints and Rams. However, it's the Cowboys' defense that could be labeled as a championship unit. Facing an offense with such a strong WR core, allowing only one touchdown on the road is impressive.

The Cowboys sacked Matt Ryan three times and were constantly causing pressures. Byron Jones was great once again, allowing only two catches in passes thrown in his direction. And of course, the kid who's been impressing us all, Leighton Vander Esch continued to play out of his mind. He should be the Defensive Rookie of the Year front runner at this point.

The Cowboys' defense is one of the best in the NFL right now, and any offense will have a tough time facing them. It'll be intriguing to see if they can take the next step and stop a high-powered unit like the Saints in a few days.

Offensive Line Woes Are Gone

The offense has improved a lot the last couple of games. Although there is still a lot to work on, they're not struggling as they were in the first half of the season. The offensive line is a huge part of this. With Marc Colombo at OL coach, things have looked very different in Dallas.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Ezekiel Elliott: "I feel great. I feel fast. I feel physical. I feel very comfortable with the running schemes. We just got to keep rolling. That's what's important. We just got to keep rolling.

Ezekiel Elliott has been on a roll the past two weeks and his comments regarding how he feels about the running schemes shouldn't go unnoticed. The offensive line wasn't playing as well as they are right now earlier in the year. Dak Prescott is noticeably more comfortable in the pocket.

It's intriguing to know what will happen at left guard for the Cowboys. With Connor Williams injured, Xavier Su'a-Filo has done a good job filling in for him. Williams has the upside, but should Dallas mess up the mojo this OL has lately?

Dak Prescott Continues To Be Money In Clutch Si

Dak Prescott: Clutch QB

Dak Prescott continues to be criticized by fans while he keeps proving us why it's not that easy to move on from him. The guy is far from the perfect passer, yet he's been clutch time and time again. This time he did so on the road on an impressive two minute drill.

With 1:46 on the clock, Prescott marched his team down to the Falcons' 24 yard line. He managed to give his team another game winning drive in consecutive weeks. The Cowboys' young quarterback needed a confidence boost and this is perfect for him. He needs to keep it up if the team is going to finish the season as the NFC East champions.

Since entering the NFL, Dak has 12 game winning drives. As frustrating as his play is at times, he will not be easy to replace if the Cowboys decide to move on from this guy down the road. Hopefully, they don't have to. I, for one, believe Dak can be way better with a proper coaching staff. But that's a discussion for another day.

Now, it's time to celebrate the Cowboys' victory and get ready for a short week as the Cowboys play the Washington Redskins on Thursday.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Have a Championship Defense" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Player News

Geoff Swaim Needs Surgery, Should the Cowboys even use a Tight End?

John Williams

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Cowboys TE Geoff Swaim Quietly Exceeding Expectations? 1

Well, the injury woes continue to mount for the Dallas Cowboys with news coming down this evening that Tight End Geoff Swaim broke a bone in his wrist in the 22-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The injury will need surgery which will mean Swaim will be out a while, if not for the rest of the season.

David Helman on Twitter

Geoff Swaim broke a bone in his wrist yesterday and is going to need surgery. Sounds like it might not be season-ending, but he won't be available Thursday #cowboyswire

In previous seasons this wouldn't be much of a blow to the offense, but Geoff Swaim has been the only tight end that the Cowboys have ben able to rely on this season. Dalton Schultz is a rookie, Blake Jarwin's been inconsistent, and Rico Gathers still isn't fully trusted. With the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan's insistence on using a tight end, it seems there's a huge hole at the position heading into Sunday's first place showdown with the Washington Redskins.

But in reality, is there?

For weeks, I've been screaming for this team to use more 10 personnel (one running back and zero tight ends) as its primary passing formation because it gets their best pass catching weapons on the field at the same time. Swaim has been solid and consistent in his first year as a starter, but the rest of the tight end group has disappointed. So why even run a tight end out on the field.

The Dallas Cowboys have options that could replace the tight end in the passing game without actually using a tight end.

First, they could use Noah Brown as the de facto tight end. He's been one of the best blockers on the team in his first two seasons with the team and this is the type of role he's made for. Split him out wide and motion him in tight when you want to run. He can be a threat down the seem and in the red zone with his athleticism. He'd be a mismatch for the linebackers that try to cover him and could open space underneath for Cole Beasley. Brown is also a really good run blocker, so having him on the field doesn't negate what you want to do in the run game.

The other player the Cowboys coaching staff could work into more of the tight end route responsibilities is Allen Hurns. Hurns is a really good route runner, especially in the middle of the field, where the Dallas Cowboys haven't received a lot of production. You can put Hurns in as the fourth wide receiver and split him a couple of yards off the tackle to give him a cleaner release than a TE might get and have him run "Y-option," shallow post routes, or drags. He can be a threat in the passing game if put in situations where he can excel. See below for something Allen Hurns does really well.

Film Review: What's Up with Allen Hurns?

In fact, by going four wide receivers with Brown or Hurns on the field, it's possible the opposing defense is forced to run more of dime packages against the Dallas Cowboys 10 personnel.

Why would you want to get teams into dime packages?

Most NFL teams have two pretty good linebackers that they can deploy in nickel situations, but teams rarely have four corners that they can put on the field and feel really good about. So, if you can force teams to remove one of their 11 best players for a backup corner back or safety, you are already winning that matchup.

That matchup would also get you into much more favorable defensive fronts to run against. Even if the opposition put seven or eight in the box, it would be against smaller personnel like corners and safeties instead of a second linebacker.

Running 10 personnel as their base offense moving forward would be unconventional, but with an opportunity to take control of first place in the NFC East on Thanksgiving, now is not the time for conventionality.



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Cowboys WR Michael Gallup on Personal Leave; Team Offers Support

Jess Haynie

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Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys rookie receiver Michael Gallup suffered a personal tragedy on Sunday, being informed that his brother committed suicide. He is now on personal leave away from the team, and both Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have given their full support to Gallup during this difficult time.

According to reports, Gallup was unaware of his brother's death until immediately after the Cowboys' win over the Atlanta Falcons. Michael did not return with the team to Dallas and remained in Atlanta to be with his family.

A formal statement was made by owner Jerry Jones yesterday regarding Gallup:

“Our team and our entire organization are deeply saddened by the news of Michael’s loss. His family is our family. We share in the grief and pain that comes with something so personal and tragic. We offer our support, care and comfort for Michael, and we ask that all of those who have sons and daughters and brothers and sisters join us in keeping Michael and his wonderful family in their thoughts and prayers.”

Throughout his time owning the Cowboys, Jerry has built a reputation for personal loyalty and compassion with his players. His head coach is no different.

As he addressed the media Monday, Jason Garrett did not get into football matters when addressing Gallup's situation:

“This is a very challenging time for him. We’ll take it moment by moment, day by day, and give him all of our love and all of our support.”

While Michael is certainly dealing with something far more important than football, his availability for Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins does come into question.

The Cowboys have a short week to prepare for Washington, and Gallup has started their last five games. If the rookie has to sit, which seems probable given the timeframe, we can expect more playing time for Allen Hurns and Noah Brown.

Whatever happens happens on that front. Our focus is on Michael Gallup during this sad time, with him and his family in our collective thoughts as Cowboys fans and fellow humans.



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