The Cowboys had planned to tackle the edge rusher in the second or third round on Friday night. They ended up doing it in the second, Pick 56 overall, selecting defensive end Ole Miss Sam Williams. While many had Williams listed as a third-round pick, Dallas was confident he wouldn’t be around at Pick 88.
How it fits: Dallas was known to be one of the favorites for the draft for Williams, who said he thought he would eventually go to either the Cowboys or the New York Jets. Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn attended Ole Miss’s pro day and personally worked on Williams. He is expected to come and compete for snaps at the right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler. It was important to add another young frontrunner to the mix after losing starting right wing Randy Gregory to the Denver Broncos in free agency.
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Second guess? Maybe Williams was taken a little early, but he wasn’t going to come back to the Cowboys at Pick 88. Executive Vice President Stephen Jones said after the third round that the last rusher they ranked in the same group that Williams was DeAngelo Malone from Western Kentucky. He was drafted 82nd overall by the Atlanta Falcons. Considering the Cowboys ended up with a wide receiver they considered in the second round with their third-round pick, Williams’ pick seems like a good move.
Rookie Impact: He should have an impact, at the very least, in pass-rushing situations as an outside rusher. While Williams needs to improve as a versatile defensive end, he should be able to use his length and athleticism to cause problems for opposing quarterbacks. “I’m relentless,” Williams said. “I’m a beast. I’m a dog. I love the game. I study the game. They have a player who wants to win, who wants to go beyond. I’m ready to put on my cleats and do whatever I have to show that I’m one of the best guys in this draft class.
Quick assessment: Williams has some concerns, given that he was suspended in 2020 after being accused of sexual abuse. He was reinstated two months later after the charges were dropped. “Obviously I didn’t do anything,” Williams said Friday night. “Now it’s a new life, just a new start for me. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most, a fresh start in a new field with great coaches, great teammates and my family. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he’s confident the franchise has done the proper groundwork on any off-field issues with Williams.
The Cowboys are now counting on Williams to be a productive player and become the double-digit sack producer he was last season at Ole Miss.
“In the NFL, the number of passes has gone up, you have to put pressure on the quarterback,” Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay said. “(Williams) is a guy who has wide receiving speed, he has length, strength and he knows how to rush the setter as well as play the run. Being productive in the SEC has been a real plus for us. »
(Photo by Sam Williams: John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)