Incumbent Dallas Cowboys starting left guard Connor Williams is inhabiting the hot seat vacated by Jason Garrett.
And not just a run-of-the-mill hot seat but “the hottest hot seat,” according to Bleacher Report, which itemized a list of 32 NFL players who are feeling the fire under their posteriors in 2020.
New head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff will take a fresh look at the roster and probably make some tweaks to the previous regime’s setup.
Coming out of Texas as a second-round pick in 2018, Connor Williams transitioned from tackle to guard, filling a need on the Dallas Cowboys offensive line. The following year, the front office selected Connor McGovern, who sat out his rookie campaign because of a torn pectoral.
According to John Owning of the Dallas Morning News, Williams has made strides but not enough to unquestionably lock down the left guard position.
As a natural interior lineman, McGovern could make a push for Williams’ spot, though the former may also win the job at center to replace Travis Frederick, who retired.
Williams must show more progress in front of his new coaches. If not, the Cowboys could field two new starters on the offensive line.
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Williams’ 2019 Snapshot
Although a talented prospect, Williams is widely considered the weak link on the Cowboys’ beastly offensive line, which boasts perennial All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith and right guard Zack Martin, as well as right tackle La’el Collins, one of the best in the business.
Williams bulked up following an inconsistent rookie campaign in which he appeared in 13 games. He was performing solidly until a knee injury — and subsequent arthroscopic surgery — derailed his sophomore season. He returned from the procedure after only one week but sustained a torn ACL in Dallas’ Week 13 loss to Buffalo.
Through 11 games, Williams graded out as the No. 38 guard among 86 qualifiers, according to Pro Football Focus. Though he wasn’t on Martin’s level, he wasn’t an offensive detriment, either.
Dallas Remains High on Williams
The abrupt retirement of Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick threw the Cowboys for a loop. His successor was already on the roster, in the form of veteran Joe Looney, but it didn’t stop the club from burning a fourth-round pick on Wisconsin pivot man Tyler Biadasz.
Looney will get first dips at center, with Biadasz and second-year interior OL Connor McGovern waiting in the wings. ESPN’s Todd Archer reported just prior to the draft that Dallas also “believes in” Williams as a potential Frederick replacement.
Williams and Looney are penciled in at LG and C, respectively, as of this writing. McGovern and Biadasz are the primary backups. But things can, and likely will, change when (if?) the Cowboys kick off training camp and the preseason. It’s Williams’ job to lose, but his hold on it is fairly tenuous.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL