FRISCO, Texas – Pro football is a unique occupation where body weight is a discussion point regarding your job performance.
In Connor Williams' case, more pounds is a primary step toward building on his 2018 rookie season.
"The main focus during the offseason is strength and getting the power up," the second-year guard said. "I think I've put myself in a good position. Now it's just about refining the technique and feeling comfortable."
Williams, the Cowboys' 2018 second-round draft pick, knew last season he needed to add weight and bulk. An immediate starter at left guard, he had difficulty sustaining a consistent base against veteran pass rushers such as Carolina's Kawann Short and Washington's Jonathan Allen.
Williams underwent a knee scope last November and split time at guard with veteran Xavier Su'a-Filo down the stretch, including two starts in playoff games against the Seahawks and Rams.
Now, four months into the offseason, Williams' hard work in the weight room is apparent. He's up to a rugged 315 pounds after playing at a "light 300" last year, he said.
A player's first full NFL offseason program is particularly beneficial. During the grind of a rookie season, the goal is simply maintaining weight and strength. Before that, players are in college balancing classes with football and finding the right diet.
Williams has been a standout performer in the voluntary program to this point, improving his rookie strength numbers. He credits his lifting partner, All-Pro guard Zack Martin, and Cowboys director of strength and conditioning Mike Woicik, for support this spring.
At this week's open OTA session, Williams worked at first-team left tackle with Tyron Smith (rest), La'el Collins (offseason shoulder surgery) and Cameron Fleming (leg contusion) sitting out of 11-on-11 work. Once everyone's back, he figures to be back in the left guard group.
The Cowboys are excited about his potential in 2019
"Football is very important to him," Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said recently. "He loves the game, and my understanding he's put on some really good weight and added some really good strength. I think he can make a big jump."