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Vikings draft prospect microscope: Texas T Connor Williams

By Matthew Coller

As we lead up to the NFL Draft here at 1500ESPN, we will take a closer look at the prospects who could end up as Minnesota Vikings. For this edition, we focus on Texas tackle Connor Williams…

Why the Vikings could draft Connor Williams:

With Joe Berger officially retired, the Vikings have one open spot on the offensive line and it doesn’t appear that it’s getting filled via free agency. That leaves them with decisions. Should the Vikings pick one of the top guards in the draft and plug them in or select a tackle that drops to the bottom of the first round? Williams is somewhere in between option A and B. Some analysts think he could end up playing guard because he doesn’t have the ideal body type to play tackle, but his production in 2016 and when healthy in 2017 at the tackle position suggest that he might fit in despite lacking the length of most tackles.

With the Vikings, Williams and starting right tackle Mike Remmers could both work at tackle and guard in camp before making a decision. Even if Williams becomes a guard, his versatility would be helpful in case of emergency.

What draft experts are saying:

CBS Sports

“At times — and I’m talking a one or two times per game against a skill rusher — Williams will get beat around the edge by a counter move. In those instances, it seems like he’s surprised the defender was able to get out of his grasp to execute a secondary move. Because he plays with a noticeable mean streak, he can get a little overzealous when approaching a linebacker beyond the line of scrimmage. In reality though, it’s difficult to find a clear-cut hole in Williams’ game.”

NFL.com draft profile:

“Williams has been a personal favorite since studying his freshman season, but his 2017 tape didn’t match his previous body of work. Williams seemed to lose some lateral quickness and had troubles holding up at a high level in protection. A move to guard or center is a possibility depending on how his arm length measures out. Williams is a plus run blocker with plug-and-play technique across the board. If he regains his 2016 form, he will be a good NFL starter. If not, he’ll be an average NFL starter.”

Pro Football Focus:

“Williams has multiple seasons of production as one of the top tackles in college football. If he would have been able to come out in the draft a season ago, he’d likely go higher than he will now after disappointing this past season. Still, Williams has high-level traits and grading that make him a day one prospect.”

What the numbers say:

Pass blocking snaps: 330

Results: Two sacks, zero QB hits, three hurries

Run success: 94.0%, ranked 10th in draft class

Williams’ pass grade dropped significantly from 2016, which reports indicate was due to battling back early from an injury. He is extremely athletic, which shines through in his run blocking and screen blocking results.

Here are his Combine results by Mockdraftable:

As you can see, he’s not just a little light, he’s very light for the position. And his arms aren’t just a little short, they are extremely short. But there is a chance that his athleticism makes up for the difference. Williams is elite in the movement categories and he’s known as an extreme competitor.

Bottom line:

Williams might offer the Vikings an opportunity to get a steal late in the first round as other teams pass out of concern over his length. If he turns out to be a guard instead of tackle, they will be in good shape for 2018. If he can grow into a solid starting tackle, it would be a huge win for the Vikings.

Watch Connor Williams:

The post Vikings draft prospect microscope: Texas T Connor Williams appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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