At first glance: Texas poker player Connor Williams

 

Editor’s note: NFL.com analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah takes a “first look” at college football’s top players for 2017. This is the eighth in a series of scouting reports that will run throughout the offseason.

0ap3000000817877College football is loaded with talented quarterbacks, many of whom I’ve already studied and written about this summer. However, there is plenty of talent at other positions, including the offensive line. Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams is arguably the best of the bunch. I’ve listened to my colleague Lance Zierlein rave about Williams for more than a year. I finally had a chance to dig in and study the talented Longhorn. Here’s my scouting report.

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Connor Williams, junior offensive tackle, Texas

Height, weight: 6-foot-6, 320 pounds (school measurements)

Game tape watched: Notre Dame (Sept. 4, 2016), Oklahoma State (Oct. 1, 2016), Oklahoma (Oct. 8, 2016).
What I liked: Williams is an exceptionally talented player in both the run and passing game. As a run blocker, he takes good angles, rolls his hips on contact and shows a nasty demeanor to keep moving opponents both to and through the whistle. When you have a mauling run blocker, that player often lacks some athleticism as a pass protector. That’s not the case with Williams. He’s a graceful mover with tremendous knee bend, balance and the ability to redirect. He plays with great awareness and can sink his weight to anchor down vs. the bull rush. He has a very sharp punch and makes it look easy once he gets position.
Where he needs to improve: He can get a little too aggressive at times in the run game. He’ll duck his head and fall off of his block. This doesn’t happen very often, but it’s an area he can clean up this fall. Williams doesn’t appear to have ideal length and he’ll need to be a little quicker with his punch when he plays elite edge defenders. I’m anxious to see how long his arms measure. On occasion, longer edge rushers get their hands inside and lock him out. Overall, there aren’t a lot of holes in his game.

Biggest takeaway: Williams is an easy player to evaluate on tape. Great players make the difficult tasks look effortless on the football field. That’s him. He’s a better player than any of the offensive tackles in the 2017 draft class. He reminds me a lot of Joe Staley coming out of college. Both guys are natural athletes and play with a physical edge.

I can’t wait to see him play … at USC on Sept. 16. I love it when the elite programs in college football square off. These two teams haven’t met since that epic Rose Bowl battle that featured Vince Young and Matt Leinart. USC has a pair of talented edge rushers (Uchenna Nwosu and Porter Gustin) and I plan to attend the game to see how Williams handles that challenge.

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HOUSTON — Former University of Texas and Oilers great Earl Campbell said he hopes to sit down with Johnny Manziel(Johnny Manziel Jersey) to help him change his path.

Campbell said a friend affiliated with Texas A&M asked him to speak with Manziel. Campbell also has reached out to Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, and the two of them exchanged messages last week.

“We gotta get him some help,” Campbell told ESPN. “I know everybody says that, but if you’ve never been there, how can you listen to someone? I think some former Heisman winners like myself, some Hall of Famers that have done it all, he should sit down and listen to what we have to say because we’ve been through it all.”

Campbell and Manziel have the Heisman Trophy in common, but they were also from the same town of Tyler, Texas. Campbell went on to become a Hall of Fame running back with the Houston Oilers.

Manziel was a first-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns, but has struggled to stay out of trouble since entering the NFL. Most recently, his ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley accused him of hitting her, damaging her hearing in one ear and dragging her by the hair during an argument. Crowley also filed for a protective order.

“I’m like everybody else that lives in Texas,” Campbell said. “I’m disappointed, I’m upset a little bit. But I think at some point, you have to say everybody was that age at one time and we have to get back to what’s important.

“… I would tell him that I used to be 23 years old. At one point I had Texas in the palm of my hand as far as an athlete. At a very young age, my mother said it’s not so important what you do now, it’s what you do over your lifetime. Johnny’s gonna be just like me eventually. He’s going to sit down and have a chance to sit down and talk to people. Is he going to be remembered for [his problems] or is he going to be remembered for a guy that did like Von Miller. Got up off the carpet and did something about it.”