Football season is inching closer as NFL teams have started their off-season training activity (OTAs) programs — the first sign that football season is only a few months away. As many players claim they are, “in the best shape of their lives,” and feeling, “the best they have ever felt”, fans can’t help but get more excited for the upcoming season.
It includes a scouting report on college prospects that I have studied in the spring, a section called “looking through the scouting binoculars”, which are notes that I have noticed from teams beat writers from around the NFL, a Twitter mailbag section where I answer questions from my twitter followers (@JReidDraftScout). Every journal will end with a “six-pack of final thoughts”, which are just my thoughts about news that’s happening around the world or simple thoughts that I have.
OT Connor Williams — Texas
Hometown: Coppell, TX
Weight: 320 lbs.
Many times with college offensive lineman, they just shoot their hands without having a proper plan of attack. You rarely see that with Williams. He is very wise when engaging in blocks.
A blockers mentality is something that they are born with. Either they have it or they don’t. It is not something that can be taught — meaning that some have the mentality to finish plays, while some others stop as soon as the whistle is blown. Some argue that finishing isn’t always the most important part of the play for a blocker, but it is always nice to see a blocker do it. It is just effort.
He jumps on top of the defender to ensure that the running back is able to get through his lane cleanly. The backside linebacker ends up making the tackle, but if the RB had a clear lane, Williams’ block would’ve created a clear path for the rusher.
He has a bad tendency of putting too much weight on one foot, resulting in defenders getting into his chest and knocking him backwards. In the example above, Williams (left tackle No. 55) puts too much pressure on his outside (left) foot and allowing the defender to shoot his hands inside. This allowed the rusher to collapse the pocket and clog the throwing lane of the quarterback.
NFL Comparison — Lane Johnson
The fourth overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft, when on the field, Johnson is one of the premier right tackles in the league, but he has also shown the ability to play left tackle as well. He seems to be the Eagles left tackle of the future once current left tackle Jason Peters decides to hang up his cleats.
Both possess unreal athleticism, smooth pass sets and display nastiness in the run game, making their match for one another perfect.
Williams potential is a bit higher due to his projection of being a franchise left tackle in 2018 and being a better overall athlete than Johnson. If Williams does turn out to be just as good of a player as Johnson though, then the investment a team makes in him would have been well worth it.
An offensive lineman hasn’t been drafted No. 1 overall since the Kansas City Chiefs selected tackle Eric Fisher in 2013. If Williams plays as good as he has his previous two seasons, he has a chance to challenge that feat.
Looking Through the Scouting Binoculars
— He was the last signal caller selected during the first-round of the 2017 NFL draft, but the selection was my favorite of the entire first night.
Former Clemson QB Deshaun Watson was selected No. 12 overall by the Houston Texans. Constantly criticized throughout the draft process, Watson couldn’t have landed in a better spot.
As evident during his time at Clemson, he is a thrower that must be surrounded by weapons and proper coaching. Watson is getting exactly that. Surrounded with good talent in receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller to go along with running back Lamar Miller, if he is able to beat out Tom Savage at some point, Watson is set up for success upon his insertion into the lineup.
— Kansas City Chiefs third-round selection Kareem Hunt is already receiving rave reviews out of OTAs. For most that studied the former Toledo rusher, it was hard not to fall in love with him. Showing balance, ball security, and impressive agility, Hunt had the makings of a solid mid-round prospect.
In Andy Reid’s system and with the lack of a clear answer at the top of the RB depth chart, he has a chance to step in right away and be an immediate contributor.
A year later, it is great to see Smith recovering and back out on the field playing football again.
Six Pack of Final Thoughts
Episode 10 was released this morning where we were joined by Matthew Coller, a Vikings reporter for 1500ESPN. We discussed various topics including Vikings OTA storylines, the NBA/NHL Finals and much more.
Give it a listen and subscribe: Episode 10
Memories, whether they are on T.V. or personal, it is always weird to see companies just come and go as fast as they do. RadioShack seemed like a company that was here to stay forever, but that proved to be far from the case.
Game 1 is officially in the books with the Golden State Warriors beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91 to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series. The Cavaliers and Warriors series is the trilogy that all sports fans have been waiting for. The series is one that many expected despite the multitude of complaints from various fans and media outlets.
The 2017 NBA playoffs have been one of the worst in recent memory due to the point differentials and most already knowing the expected outcome of the two teams who will battle at the end, but don’t say that the Cavs and Warriors are ruining the NBA.
This rivalry is what the league needs, even though both are being considered super teams. This isn’t the first time the league has had a fierce rivalry in the finals.
The Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls constantly battled Karl Malone, John Stockton and the Utah Jazz for consecutive years in 1997 and 1998. NBA rivalries are remembered forever and this current situation isn’t any different.
It is an eye-popping series and steals your attention from the first episode. I’m looking forward to seeing season three and how it unfolds. It is a show that I highly recommend.
A lot of times I get direct messages on Twitter from aspiring writers and people who ask how I’ve acquired so much football knowledge. The simple answer is to just tweet, write, watch football and read as much as you can. The only way to learn about something is to be around it as much as you can.
Never believe that you already know it all about something because there is always something that you can learn or someone that can help you. I’ve developed an unbelievable amount of relationships with various people that I did not know before and gained valuable information from them all.
Keep striving forward and always put forth the effort of the expected results that you want.
The next “Reiding Between the Lines” scouting journal (June 16) will include a scouting report on Oklahoma State receiver James Washington, scouting notes, the return of the Twitter mailbag, and another fulfilling six pack of final thoughts
For more NFL Draft news and analysis, follow Jordan Reid on Twitter @JReidDraftScout.