Dallas Cowboys left guard Connor Williams has added more muscle this off-season.
He’s determined to improve upon an up-and-down rookie season that saw him lose his starting job midway through the season.
“Definitely a learning process,” Williams said of his rookie season. “I see why the first year is definitely the toughest for a rookie, just the transition from college to pro. But I’m better for it and excited for the second year.”
Williams hopes to show considerable improvement from his rookie season to Year 2. This is a player who left the University of Texas early as a possible first-round talent, but fell to the Cowboys in the second round (50th overall).
Questions arose about Williams’ weight and measurables during the pre-draft process, and those proved to be true when he got to the league.
The Cowboys were high enough on Williams to insert him in the starting lineup at left guard following the draft, but he found himself being overmatched early on. He struggled mightily with power rushers last season, and found himself being replaced by Xavier Sua-Filo nine games in.
But Williams has maintained a positive mindset and is confident that better days are ahead. He has put on muscle this off-season, and is now upwards of 315 to 320 pounds.
“Definitely trying to stay there and maintain until the season,” Williams said.
Williams went through a similar process at Texas between his sophomore and junior seasons, adding weight and becoming stronger. He can add weight fairly easily with protein shakes and three or four meals a day.
That, coupled with simply being more experienced at the pro level, should bode well for Williams next season. After all, as the old saying goes, most players take their biggest jumps from Year 1 to Year 2.
“I definitely feel like I’m improved a lot from last year, but definitely have a lot more things I need to improve on,” Williams said.
Asked if anything in particular stands out, Williams simply said: “Not particular, just overall.”
The Cowboys have discussed Williams as a possible long-term option at right tackle with La’el Collins set for free agency after this season. That’s something Williams feels he can handle as he played tackle at the college level.
For now, though, it’s about bettering himself as a guard and keeping a starting job.
“I think I’ve put myself in a good position and prepared myself well,” Williams said. “It’s about going out there and just competing.”