Every position on the Miami offense has received reinforcements in the early-going of the new league year. Connor Williams is the latest as he joins the Dolphins with a wealth of experience at left guard. Here are five things to know about the newest Dolphins offensive lineman.
1. The Proof is in the Numbers
The Dolphins insert one of the most productive guards over the last two seasons into an offensive line made up of versatile people-movers. Williams, a left tackle at the University of Texas, kicked inside to guard with the Cowboys and seems to be hitting his stride heading into his age-25 season.
Surrendering just one sack, Williams' 98.5 pass-blocking efficiency in 2021 was third-best among all qualifying guards. In total, he allowed 13 QB pressures, which was the second-fewest among guards with at least 200 pass-blocking snaps. His 13 pressures allowed were fewer than 57 other NFL guards last season.
Williams played in all 34 Cowboys games (playoffs included) the last two seasons logging 2,175 offensive snaps in the process. He's played 3,722 snaps in his four-year career, an average of 930.5 per season, since being selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. With just 12 sacks allowed, 11 QB hits and 98 total pressures, Williams has a career pass-blocking efficiency rate of 97.4 percent.
Among guards with at least 200 run-blocking snaps, Williams graded out at the 10th-best run-blocking guard in 2021 by Pro Football Focus and 13th in the same category in 2020. When running left to the A and B gaps (gaps occupied by Williams) in 2021, Dallas averaged 4.4 yards per rush and scored four touchdowns.
2. Athleticism for Days
The ability to get out in space, execute reach blocks and pull techniques was on display for Williams back in his 2018 Scouting Combine workout where he showcased elite movement skills. With a 5.05 40-yard dash time, 34 inches in the vertical leap and 112 inches in the broad jump, Williams tested in the 90th percentile among all guards dating back to 1987. In total, Williams earned a 9.15 Relative Athletic Score out of a possible 10 points (cumulatively in the 85th percentile).
3. Smart Lineman who can Move
Daniel Jeremiah, on his annual pre-Combine conference call, discussed the traits we should look for in a Mike McDaniel offensive lineman. Jeremiah's answer: smart guys who can move.
We just touched on his movement skills courtesy of RAS. In terms of intelligence, Williams was an early enrollee at Texas. Graduating high school early allowed the Longhorns left tackle to get on the field right away and earn freshman All-American honors. He did that while maintaining a 3.5 grade point average and earning admission into UT's highly prestigious McCombs School of Business.
4. Position Versatility and Durability
A theme across the Dolphins offensive line, and the roster in general, is player versatility. Connor Williams was a left tackle at the University of Texas for four years before pivoting inside with the Cowboys during his rookie season. Since his arrival in Dallas, Williams has been a solution at the left guard position, but had shown his flexibility by kicking out to left tackle for 180 snaps when Tyron Smith was injured, and even flipping side and playing right guard in a pinch.
It will also take a lot for Williams to come off the field. During the Eagles game in 2020, Williams left the field to go to the locker room with a knee injury on the final play of the series. By the time the Cowboys defense got the ball back to the offense, Williams was ready to go without missing a snap. In fact, he didn't miss a snap the rest of the season.
5. Connor Williams, Top Chef
Williams was a standout at Texas from Day 1, but he knew that NFL aspirations meant adding some proverbial sand to his pants. He went from 285 pounds to 300 pounds between his freshman and sophomore seasons, thanks in part to his skills in the kitchen.
"I used to want to be a chef when I was younger," Williams said. "My mom and dad always said I was a good cook."
Connor's brother, Dalton, shared his affinity for the art of cooking. So much so, in fact, that the two competed in Top Chef-style cookoffs at home in their early years.
For more analysis, and to hear Williams talking ball and his new South Florida home, subscribe to the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.
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