Dallas Cowboys

Tom Herman explains why Ezekiel Elliott will thrive running behind Connor Williams

Cowboys' Connor Williams visits The Star

Dallas Cowboys second-round pick Connor Williams visited the The Star on Saturday. Williams played at the University of Texas.
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Dallas Cowboys second-round pick Connor Williams visited the The Star on Saturday. Williams played at the University of Texas.

It's been a busy few weeks for the Texas Longhorns football program.

Four of their players were recently selected during the NFL Draft. The highest of those draftees was All-American offensive tackle Connor Williams, a Coppell High graduate taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round with pick No. 50.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News' Jori Epstein, Texas head coach Tom Herman discussed Williams' career, his NFL potential and why the versatile lineman will be able to help Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

SportsDay: What excites you most about Connor Williams' potential with the Cowboys?

Connor Williams
Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams, left, who attended Coppell, blocks during a game against San Jose State in Austin in September. Williams is one of five Texas Longhorns who have declared early for the NFL Draft. Eric Gay AP

Tom Herman: The thing that is most impressive about Connor is his versatility. He's athletic enough on the edge to play tackle, strong enough to play on the inside at guard and smart enough to play center. You don't find many of those guys coming out of college or floating around the NFL very often. He's a tremendously talented player.

SportsDay: You weren't at Texas yet for the 2016 season. But from what you heard or saw on tape, what role did Connor play in D'Onta Foreman's 2,028-yard season?

Herman: I didn't watch much tape from the 2016 season because I wanted everyone to start with a clean slate in my mind, but the assistant coaches did. Based on what they saw, Connor obviously played a key role in D'Onta's success. He was athletic, physical, competitive and determined to clear the way for D'Onta. He made a lot of big runs and most of the time, Connor was a part of it. He was really impressive in terms of his athletic ability to get outside on perimeter runs and pull on counters and also was physical and tough enough to blow people off the ball on inside zones and powers. He did a tremendous job in all aspects of the game.

SportsDay: How will that translate to his run blocking for Ezekiel Elliott?

Herman: It's a match made in heaven. That Cowboys O-line has been lauded, and rightfully so, over the past few years, but they're also blocking for the Offensive Rookie of the Year from a couple years ago and an All-Pro in Zeke. If they stay healthy together - that O-line and Zeke - it should be fun to watch their offense for the next few years. Connor can play a big part in that.

SportsDay: What do you hope he learns from the Pro Bowl linemen he's joining?

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Former Texas star Connor Williams was the Cowboys' best draft and will have the biggest early impact. Paul Moseley Star-Telegram

Herman: He's very fortunate to be around a bunch of guys who came in as talented prospects like him and became All-Pro players. I think like anyone, having guys like that around, he can really watch them and learn how to be a pro, how to be a successful NFL O-lineman. He'll see the work ethic, the commitment, the day-to-day sun up to sun down effort it takes and all of the things necessary to do and to be in order to become an elite NFL lineman. He's very fortunate to be in a situation like that.

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