If you have been following mock drafts since the Bengals’ 2017 season began to look bleak then Connor Williams is a familiar name to you. He is an offensive tackle from Texas who was viewed as a top 10 pick before analysts got an idea of how teams viewed these prospects. Back at that time the Bengals were picking near the top 10. A winning streak did all but end those hopes, and it created what seemed to be the kind of so-close-but-so-far love affair you only see in romantic comedies.
The first few mock drafts with the Bengals officially at pick No. 12 (pre-Cordy Glenn trade) had Williams in the top 10 or just getting to the Bengals. Then as analysts learned more, Williams began to slide down the draft board farther and farther. He fell out of the first round altogether, but that was okay because the Bengals had Orlando Brown in their sights. He was viewed as that great generational talent who it would be hard to pass on based on potential alone. The Bengals had their good looking rich guy.
However, after Brown bombed the Scouting Combine like few have, we all saw that Brown just wasn’t the right guy for the Bengals in Round 1. Suddenly, the Bengals were left all alone at pick No. 12 with no real player of need worth the pick. It was a dark time until the Bengals’ new best friend, the Buffalo Bills, came by and brought them a gift they could only dream of. It was the 21st overall pick and a starting left tackle Cordy Glenn.
The Bengals finally had the confidence to get back out there. They started meeting with offensive linemen like Mike McGlinchey, Billy Price, James Daniels and Frank Ragnow. Still one name seemingly remained out of reach.
That is until Pro Football Focus released its final first round mock of the offseason. If this is the actual pick on Thursday night Mike Brown might as well wait for Williams on one of those walkway fountains with his jersey. That would be the only fitting end to this process for these two sides.
As far as the pick goes it makes sense under the context of who was off the board and because this mock was largely done based on PFF analytics. It is also who PFF would pick for the Bengals. It isn’t based on predicting what the team will actually do.
In this mock McGlinchey, Ragnow and guard Isaiah Wynn are all off the board. Interestingly enough Tremaine Edmunds was still available, but he went 28th overall to the Steelers, which would be an absolute nightmare.
Williams is thought of now as a guard prospect, but we aren’t that far removed from him being considered one of the best offensive tackles in the country. He was injured most of last season, but he did manage to return for a few games at the end of the year, so we wouldn’t have to worry about him missing training camp. He is healthy and ready to roll.
The major concerns with him are that he doesn’t have the length you want your tackle to have, but his technique is so smooth that teams, especially the Bengals shouldn’t be afraid to have him prove he can’t play tackle. The worst case scenario is you now have a very talented guard, which the Bengals could also use. He is a smart prospect who puts in the work to make sure he stays in top shape. The Bengals would be smart to add him to their offensive line if he’s the best lineman available at pick No. 21. Would a center be a better pick? That’s something the Bengals will need to grapple with up until the time their pick is submitted.