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2018 NFL Draft: Texas OT Connor Williams right for Giants?

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Could Williams be a long-term solution for the Giants’ offensive line?

Maryland v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The New York Giants began retooling their offensive line in free agency, however, they still need to add upgrades and potential long-term starting solutions at nearly every spot.

Texas Longhorns left tackle Connor Williams came in to the 2017 season as a potential top 10 pick, but has seen his stock drop dramatically following a poor start to an injury-plagued year. Williams might yet be a franchise left tackle, but injury concerns, as well as questions about where his natural fit is on an NFL line could cause teams’ feelings on him to vary widely.

Regardless of need along the offensive line, Williams is unlikely to be in consideration for the New York Giants, but should he interest the team if he is still available later in the draft?

Measurables

Pros

  • Exceptional “nasty” streak.
  • Good athlete. Easy mover in pass protection and at the second level.
  • Good play strength and leverage.
  • Solid hand usage.
  • Capable run blocker.
  • Able to re-anchor against bull rushes.

Cons

  • Dealt with a knee injury in 2017.
  • Inconsistent play in 2017.
  • Lacks prototypical arm length.
  • Slightly under-weight compared to other NFL tackles.

Prospect video

What they’re saying

SOURCES TELL US

“I heard all about how good he was last year and then I turned on the tape and what I saw wasn’t a first-rounder at all. I can go back to 2016, but who is he now? I have to know who he is and who he’s going to be in three to five years. Scouting is projecting.” -- NFL team personnel executive

-via NFL.com

Does he fit the Giants?

It is unlikely that Williams will slip out of the first round of the draft, however, it is possible that some positional uncertainty thanks to his arm length and questions regarding his knee could make it happen. If it does, he should sit roughly at the top of the Giants’ board when the second round begins.

The biggest question NFL teams will have to answer regarding Connor Williams is which player they are getting.

Are they getting the borderline dominant player from 2016, who pass protected and run blocked like a future franchise left tackle, or are they getting the sluggish and uncomfortable player from the first part of 2017? A mark in Williams’ favor is that he began to return to his 2016 form when returning from the knee injury at the end of 2017, and looked very solid in his workout at the NFL Scouting Combine. It is possible that his early-season struggles came from the injury which cost him seven games in the middle of the season.

There is also some concern among those with hard and fast thresholds that Williams’ 33-inch arms are simply too short for an offensive tackle and that he should be moved inside to guard. He should be able to make that move -- his play strength, pad level, hand usage, and overall demeanor would fit well inside at guard -- but Williams should get the chance to win a job at offensive tackle first. That potential versatility should appeal to NFL teams, as should the player himself.