A left tackle in college, Connor Williams lined up at guard throughout his four-year Cowboys tenure. The Dolphins have something new in mind for the free agent offensive line acquisition.
Williams said Thursday it is “really likely” he plays center in Miami, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. This has loomed as a possibility for months, and Williams has been working at the position since April. While it is interesting the team has this path mapped out before any padded practices commence, Williams sliding to center would fill a need and open the door to multiple lineup combinations on this O-line.
The Dolphins signed Williams and Terron Armstead to lucrative deals, particularly in Armstead’s case, locking them into starting roles. Robert Hunt fared decently at right guard last season, even beyond his memorable end zone dash that did not count, grading as the top Dolphins O-lineman in Pro Football Focus’ view. PFF rated last year’s Miami front as the NFL’s worst. Should the Dolphins stay the Williams-at-center course, he will replace Michael Deiter. Still, it appears three starters from last season are in line to return under Mike McDaniel.
Williams sliding to center will lead to a left guard competition between Liam Eichenberg and Solomon Kindley, Jackson adds. Eichenberg served as Miami’s primary left tackle last season, with the 2021 second-rounder moving 2020 first-rounder Austin Jackson off that spot. Jackson is ticketed to give right tackle a try, according to the Herald. With the Tyreek Hill trade pushing the start of their draft participation into Round 3, the Dolphins did not draft a lineman this year.
The USC product was Miami’s primary left tackle as a rookie and made starts at left tackle and left guard last season. PFF graded Jackson as a below-average guard and viewed Eichenberg as a bottom-tier tackle. This right tackle opportunity looks to represent a high-stakes situation for the once-coveted prospect, who has not lived up to his draft slot yet as a pro. Longtime right tackle option Jesse Davis signed with the Vikings this offseason. A 2020 fourth-rounder, Kindley made 13 guard starts as a rookie but worked as a first-stringer just twice last season.