The Cowboys had the defensive rookie of the year last season, with Micah Parsons turning into one of the greatest seasons by a rookie defender in history. Sam Williams wasn’t the Cowboys’ first-round choice this year, but he will have the same chance to impress in his first season.
Randy Gregory left for the Broncos in free agency, and Dante Fowler is the only veteran free agent the Cowboys signed. That will give Williams, a second-round choice, a chance to start for the Cowboys opposite DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Cowboys asked a lot of the rookie defensive end during the team’s offseason workouts following the draft.
“They have moved me to different spots,” Williams said, via the team website. “I just want to be used wherever to help the team, even if it’s to do kickoff and kickoff return. I’ll play wherever.”
Williams soaked in advice from Parsons and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley this offseason. He said it has helped him take a big step in his development ahead of training camp.
“Micah has helped me out,” Williams said. “[He told me] I just need to terrify these guys and open pass rushing lanes, things that I can do. Just start off with speed. Once they get used to your speed, then it’s like a chess match. Now they have to figure out what I am doing.”
He called Haley’s instruction “old school,” with Haley working with Williams on his “get-off and my hand work.”
“It was pretty nice to work with someone like that,” Williams said.
Williams is unlikely to match what Parsons did last season or maybe even what Haley did as a rookie in 1986 with the 49ers, with 12 sacks in 16 games with only one start. But Williams will get the chance to contribute heavily in Dan Quinn’s defense.