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By Jonathan Bales

Potential Cowboys Draft Picks: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

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Oklahoma OT Trent Williams is not the typical Cowboys' lineman.

Having just completed our Offensive Linemen Grades segment, it is apparent the Cowboys must make an upgrade at tackle (particularly left tackle). Despite being solid in the run game, we gave LT Flozell Adams a “C-” grade for the year. He was awful in pass protection, yielding nine sacks and a near league-high 42 quarterback pressures.

Right tackles Marc Colombo and Doug Free were a bit better, but both still received grades (B-) worse than all three interior linemen. Doug Free does provide a viable backup “swing tackle” option right now, but there are questions about how effective he would be as a starting left tackle.

Further, Adams is unlikely to be on the team after this season, so Dallas is in near-desperation mode to find his replacement. After their dismantling in Minnesota, the Cowboys may be more eager to ditch their mass requirement for offensive linemen to add a more athletic body who excels in pass protection.

Scouting Report

Trent Williams is an excellent athlete with a knack for protecting the quarterback. At 6’5”, 310 pounds, he is a bit smaller than the typical Cowboys lineman, but still within reach. Williams is very patient in his stance during pass protection, but sometimes he allows the defender to get into his body and he loses his leverage. Thus, Williams can sometimes struggle against bigger defensive ends who use a bull rush to overpower him.

You would like to see Williams be more aggressive at times in both pass protection and when run blocking. He can sometimes play a bit soft. Many people see Williams as a right tackle prospect only, but we disagree. 2009 was Williams’ first year at left tackle, and he played well enough to be a first round draft pick. With more experience, he should be a respectable left tackle who can be counted on in the NFL.

His inexperience at left tackle did show at times, as he misread blitzes and stunts. In fact, the play against BYU during which quarterback Sam Bradford injured his shoulder was the result of Williams misreading a defensive stunt and getting his QB killed. If the Cowboys think that Williams’ run blocking can improve, he may be an option in the first round. It would be a sign that the team is going a different direction concerning the characteristics of their linemen.

Projection

Williams is unlikely to drop to pick 27. He is probably not going to get passed San Francisco at pick 17. Dallas could make a move up to get a tackle, a decision we are currently advocating, but with so many other tackles available (Maryland’s Bruce Campbell and USC’s Charles Brown may still be on the board), it probably would not be a smart decision to move that far. If Williams slips into the 20′s, which is certainly a possibility, Dallas may have a tough decision on their hands.

Ultimately, though, we don’t see much difference between Trent Williams and Charles Brown. Brown should be available at less of a cost, so he is probably more on the Cowboys’ radar than Williams.

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11 Responses to Potential Cowboys Draft Picks: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

  1. john coleman says:

    I still like Campbell or Brown better. IMO the guys earlier are only marginally better if any, but will require much more money. Also, with more and more speed guys rushing we may need to make subtle changes in what we are looking for. Furthermore, there are a bunch of guys throughout the draft with good athletic ability and upside. Browns film on this site looks pretty good. Later you have Capers,Veldheer 3rd-4th, Linkenbach,Wang former TE still improving 5th-6th,Barker7th, and the likes of Balridge, Kopa who was injured early last season, Webb who began his career at Texas and transferred(academics I think) who will be available 6th-UDFA. Lets just see who falls to us. But we definitely need a good one early.

  2. jongb35 says:

    I agree completely. I wanted to profile Williams particularly to show the marginal difference between him and Brown/Campbell. I think Dallas will sit back at 27 and, if they do make a move, it won’t be until the last of their top-tier tackles is available.

    I also like Veldheer a lot. To me, he is a late first/early second talent who will drop because of where he went to school. He fits the typical Cowboys lineman body type and would allow the Cowboys to address other positions (or perhaps still even another OT) earlier. I have Veldheer going in the 3rd to Dallas in my latest mock, but that may be a bit too late.

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