OXNARD, Calif. — The depth chart says undrafted free agent Braylon Jones from Houston is the team's other center on the roster behind Tyler Biadasz.
Words say one thing; actions say another.
During Cowboys training camp, Dallas has been working on fourth-year guard Connor Williams' position flex, putting the 24-year-old from Coppell at center.
According to Williams, offensive line coach Joe Philbin approached him during the team's eight-week offseason program with the idea of taking snaps at center to provide flexibility along the line.
"We were looking at the O-line and obviously it's nice to have depth and versatility on the O-line, so, it's just about getting in what you can," Williams said. "And, so, obviously some center reps helps me at center and helps me learn the game even better and helps us with depth. So, I was eager to jump in with it."
Center was one of the positions that injuries touched in 2020. Joe Looney started 12 games at the position with Biadasz playing the other four. Looney has yet to sign with a team as an unrestricted free agent.
Meanwhile, playing in the middle of the offensive line helps Williams take in the game differently, and he has also brought the center's perspective back to his job at left guard.
"You definitely have to speak up. Everybody is looking for your call. At guard, you throw in there every now and then to help people see a little something here and there," Williams said. "But overall the center is calling me, calling the whole offensive line, and where everyone goes. So, everybody's got to be on the same page from the center's front."
At Texas' pro day in 2018, Williams took snaps at center to display his versatility. However, ahead of his second-round selection that year, teams were looking at Williams' ability to play outside at tackle in addition to his work at guard.
"Hopefully, I'll never have to play center this year, but I may have to for a game or two," said Williams.
Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on July 25 that he thought Williams' best day of practice was when he took snaps at center.
"I thought Connor had his best day yesterday with his center reps," said McCarthy. "You’ll see him today in the two-minute sequence. Definitely want to get him some more work here, but very, very pleased with the steps he’s making in his center reps."
Williams was the only offensive lineman to play all 16 games last year. For his career, the former Texas Longhorn has played in 40 games for Dallas, starting in 37 of them.
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