Is it time for the Dallas Cowboys to shift Connor Williams outside?
To say the Dallas Cowboys are in dire straits at offensive tackle would be an understatement. Both starting tackles are done for the season. And now the third best option, Brandon Knight, is out for at least a few weeks after minor knee surgery.
Even before Knight’s injury, he was badly exposed twice by quick, undersized, back-up Arizona linebacker Dennis Gardeck last Monday. It’s common knowledge that it’s easier to play inside at guard than tackle in the NFL. However in the case of Connor Williams, the opposite may be true.
Williams’ best traits are quickness, agility, and mobility. He moves very well in space for his size. These traits were a big part of earning both Freshman All-American (2015) and Consensus All-American (2016) at left tackle for the University of Texas.
His biggest drawbacks inside at guard for Dallas have been a lack of drive blocking power and struggling to fend off bigger, stronger power rushers. With the Cowboys tackle spot now clearly lacking quickness and agility, it may be the right time to shift Williams outside where his agile skill set can be best employed.
It’s hard to believe as an All-American college left tackle, Williams is not better suited to handle quicker rushers outside than the fourth or fifth tackle on the Cowboys roster. And there are reasonable options to replace him at guard.
OPTIONS TO FILL LEFT GUARD
If Zack Martin shakes off the concussion protocol and plays this week, the easy replacement at left guard would be Connor McGovern. McGovern logged 82 snaps last Monday filling in at guard after Martin went down.
While his return from injured reserve is at least another game away, center Joe Looney has the size and strength to play left guard. He served as a back-up there as well as center during Travis Fredrick’s reign.
Until Looney is available, Cam Erving has NFL starting experience at guard. He started 13 games there for Kansas City in 2018. Since a common critique of Erving is lack of quickness setting the edge, the move back inside could up his worth to the team. Knight also has the build and bully mentality to slide inside to left guard upon his return if not moving to right tackle.
The bottom line is Dallas is in desperate need of an agile left tackle to protect Andy Dalton’s blind side from faster rushers. In Williams, they have a lacking guard who was an All-American left tackle in college who is ripe to make the switch.