AT&T Stadium

Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

ARLINGTON, Texas — Soon after former Texas left tackle Connor Williams and a select few of the first-round prospects Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Saquon Barkley made their appearance on the red carpet, the party moved inside to AT&T Stadium.

Darnold, Rosen and Barkley all saw their names taken off the board in the top 10 to no surprise. Most mock drafts didn’t have Williams early in the first round. But after Williams watched Notre Dame have two offensive linemen selected at No. 6 and No. 9, followed by another four offensive linemen to cap off six total at the position taken in the first round, questions began to flurry.

“I firmly believe I'm the best offensive lineman in this class,” Williams said after his workout at Texas’ NFL Pro Day on March 28.

And this wasn’t an outlandish statement. Williams has asserted his dominance every time he’s set foot on the field. But as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell approached the podium with one final pick remaining in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday night, it was clear –– Williams had dropped out of the first round.

“With the final pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Lamar Jackson.”

Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who dropped significantly as well, capped off the first round. Williams, who was in attendance, was forced to wait some more. But the Dallas-area native said he planned on returning for rounds two and three on Friday night.

“Was an amazing night and experience,” Williams tweeted after the first round concluded. “Never has been easy and would never want it any other way. Thank you for those following along and see you tomorrow night!”

Williams, along with his Longhorn teammates Malik Jefferson, DeShon Elliott, Holton Hill, Poona Ford, Michael Dickson and Chris Warren III, remain on the board. Round two begins with the Cleveland Browns picking first at AT&T Stadium on Friday at 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

ARLINGTON, Texas — All eyes shifted to Connor Williams hours before the 2018 NFL Draft even commenced as the former Longhorn left tackle stepped out onto the red carpet.

“It's always been a dream, but to actually be here and make a red carpet appearance is unreal,” Williams said. “I actually played my last high school game here so this is unreal.”

Williams saw his career at Coppell High School come to a close in 2014 when the Cowboys fell to DeSoto High School in the first round of the state playoffs.

Now, three-and-a-half years later, Williams –– who sported a suit in various shades of blue –– was being interviewed by NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin on the NFL Network just hours ahead of the draft.

“We planned a little custom from head to toe,” Williams said. “Being from Dallas, we had to throw in a little Cowboy blue.”

Williams’ journey to Thursday night hasn’t been a smooth one. The 6-foot-6-inch, 315-pound lineman has been nothing short of transparent about his childhood obstacles. From getting bullied, dealing with obesity and a speech impediment and entering college as a three-star recruit, Williams has discussed it all.

Most recently, the former Longhorn penned a letter to his bullies on NFL.com, which began with “DEAR BULLIES OF MY PAST, Thank you. No sarcasm intended. No hatred. Certainly, no anger. Just a simple thank you.”

“The thing about the story was that adversity hits you in all shapes and sizes and it can hit anybody throughout their life,” Williams said. “It's not about particularly what type of adversity it is, it’s about how you respond to it. Fortunately enough I had a family around me that was so influential in what I became. I’m just lucky to be here. I'm only here because of them.”

Williams was joined by his mother and father on the red carpet, who were both asked about Williams’ journey.

“I'm very proud of him. He knows what it takes and he does it,” Williams’ mother said. “We’ve talked all about it, but I can't talk about it right now.”

As for his weight battle, Williams’ father revealed the secret.

“It started out with P90X at 5:30 every morning. It was tough,” his father said. “Honestly, it was his character. Character is what separates all these guys here. This is a long road for all these boys to be here, and it’s just great to see them all.”

Williams will return to AT&T Stadium on Friday night for day two of the NFL Draft, where he is expected to be selected.