The Miami Dolphins finally made their offensive lineman splash in free agency on Tuesday. So who is Connor Williams, exactly?
The Miami Dolphins signed 5 free agents before they got around to addressing what is undoubtedly their biggest need of the off season. But they finally got one of their guys in the early hours of Day 2 of the legal tampering period.
Last year’s offensive line was pathetic, and fans have been cooking up ideas on how to fix it and predicting what direction the front office might head in. Day 1 had a serious run on offensive linemen as guards began to get snatched up left and right. This created concern amongst the Miami faithful, as it seemed the front office was focused on everything except the front line.
The Dolphins got their guy on Tuesday morning. Tom Pelissero was the first to report that former Cowboys guard Connor Williams had agreed to a two-year deal in Miami, worth a $14 million total and $7.5 million in guarantees. But who is Williams exactly and what can we expect? Here are three things you should know about him:
Don’t let the low price tag fool you on his skills. He received excellent blocking grades from PFF, who ranked him in the top 10 or 15 in the most important statistical categories. Williams allowed just one sack in all of 2021 while playing 77 percent of all available snaps. He received the 9th highest overall grade of any guard in the league last year, and allowed just 13 pressures all season, the second lowest in the league.
Had a bad penalty year
One of the knocks on Williams was his inability to avoid penalties last season. He was the 2nd most penalized player in the entire league in 2021, and accounted for the most penalty yards of any player (130). But it may have been an anomaly. Williams had just 10 total penalties over his first three seasons, but blew up for 11 last season and was subsequently benched for not being able to avoid flags. Penalty avoidance is teachable and coachable, so hopefully the Dolphins’ staff will be able to get him right.
Young and reliable
Unlike some of the other offensive linemen that the Dolphins were rumored to be interested in, Williams is still on the young side. He will be just 25 years old when Week 1 rolls around, the same age as Michael Deiter and Robert Hunt, who are the two oldest players on the offensive line other than Jesse Davis. He is also reliable, having played in every game over the last three seasons.
The penalties can be coached. Williams and Dolphins fans alike are hoping that his flag-ridden season was in fact an anomaly and that he can be dominant without potentially killing drives.
Miami still has work to do in figuring out who their 5 starters are going to be for 2021, but Williams certainly fills a hole at guard and will be used from the get go in McDaniel’s new offense.