It's hard enough being a rookie in the NFL, much less one expected to make an instant impact on one of its most iconic teams. Fortunately for the Dallas Cowboys, the formation of their future is being overseen by their past and present.
Rookie pass-rusher Sam Williams recently lauded the impact that Charles Haley, DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons had on him during recent OTAs and minicamp.
Dallas, choosing Williams in the second round (56th overall), made sure that the Ole Miss alum kept busy in late spring activities by moving him around in several areas.
While Williams had no issues with defensive commuting (claiming he's happy to "play wherever", including "kickoff and kickoff return"), the prospect of being overwhelmed certainly lingers. Williams, however, has two of the best in the business to help him out. Haley partook in five Super Bowl endeavors, including each of the three the Cowboys earned in the 1990s, en route to the Hall of Fame. Williams has come to appreciate the Canton dweller's throwback methods,
"It's old school," Williams said. "We did some work yesterday with my get-off and my hand work. So, it was pretty nice to work with someone like that."
Parsons, meanwhile, immediately flipped the Cowboys' defensive fortunes after the team drafted him 12th overall in the 2021 selections. Williams has stated that asking Parsons to add leader and nurturer to his expanding professional resume, showing he's just as capable of taking care of his Arlington teammates as he is those in Happy Valley.
"Micah has helped me out," Williams said. "(He said) 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."
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Williams is expected to take an active role in improving the Cowboys' pressure rates: though they earned 41 sacks last season (up from 31 the year prior), they generated pressure on only 18.5 percent of opposing drop-backs, the fifth-worst rate in the league. Indeed, owner Jerry Jones' recent remarks about the rookie speak volumes (as Jerry often does).
"I feel good about Sam,'' Jerry said. "He’s a mess with his speed and combination of his size. He can really be an effective pressure player for us.''
A "mess'' is a good thing here. As is a mass of mentors.
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