While free agency officially begins in March, roster turnover isn't too far away. The Cowboys will indeed add and presumably release players, along with letting some go without a new contract.
However, the majority of the 2018 roster is already in place. In the coming weeks, the staff of DallasCowboys.com will preview those players, analyzing where they've been and where they're going.
Today, we'll continue the series with offensive lineman Connor Williams.
What's Been Good: The good thing about Williams is that he showed enough flashes in his first season that he's going to be a good player in this league. Not sure right now where his final position will be, considering he play4ed guard last year, has played tackle in college and even Jerry Jones didn't dismiss a potential look at center down the road. But he's got enough versatility, coupled with size and determination and that all-important mean streak that has shown the Cowboys that Williams has some skill to work with.
What's Been Bad: Williams had some rough patches throughout the year – as to be expected for a rookie guard making a position switch from college. Not everyone is Zack Martin and Williams certainly had a tougher transition to the NFL than Martin, who was an All-Pro pick his first season. Williams had a tough time with some of the bigger defensive tackles and after he had a knee injury, he didn't get his job back from Xavier Su'a-Filo when he was healthy. It took an ankle injury from Su'a-Filo to get Williams back in the lineup.
2018 Highlight: Shockingly enough, Williams' best game might have come in the final playoff loss to the Rams. As dominant as Aaron Donald was this year, Williams held up nicely against the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. There was a play in which Williams was flagged for holding on Donald, but for the most part, Williams won his share of battles in the trenches.
What's Next: That's actually an interesting question for Williams, who played the entire season at guard. But with his skills to play tackle, it does beg the question if the Cowboys would consider moving him to right tackle and perhaps switching him with La'el Collins. The position-flex is always something the Cowboys covet, especially with offensive linemen, but it does appear they are interested in keeping him at guard for now. If that is the case, then look for him to add some strength to his upper body this offseason, which is normal for any first-year player.
His first season was quite a ride for Connor Williams, who had a few setbacks along the way but managed to finish on a high note, giving him momentum heading into 2019.
Bryan's Bottom Line: I always have to remind those in the media and fans that when looking at offensive linemen don't grade them on the two or three poor plays that they might have. Instead focus on the other 65 or so that make up an entire game. Even the best linemen in the league will have a game where there will be those plays that they'd soon like to forget. Connor Williams is no different than Zack Martin or Tyron Smith in this regard. The staff knew that it was likely going to be a struggle for Williams this season with his lack of strength. He was going to have some plays where he just physically was not going to be able to handle the man across from him. Where many were worried about him playing against Aaron Donald in during playoffs but overall he was able to hold him in check. The best thing that happened to Williams that the knee injury he suffered during the season allowed him to sit back, collect his thoughts and get some weight room work in because he was a different player for the better once that happened.