The Cowboys began their rookie minicamp on Friday. Players like first-round pick Tyler Smith and third-round selection Jalen Tolbert will have a lot of eyes on them seeing as they will both be significant contributors in 2022.
Edge rusher Sam Williams, who was selected in the second round as the replacement for Randy Gregory, will also have a spotlight on him, and he didn’t waste any time showing why he was one of the best at his position coming out of the college in the Cowboys’ first minicamp practice.
Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy swooned over Williams and what he showed, albeit in a small sample size.
“I think we’d all agree that Sam Williams looks like a guy that was born to play professional football,’’ McCarthy said. “He has the gifts. He has the physical traits.
“He had two pass rushes today. I know we’re just in helmets, but he was clean in the backfield. He has that kind of ability. He’s in a great place. He’s obviously in an excellent system that he’ll definitely benefit from. I think he’ll do extremely well early for us.’’
Williams was coveted by the Cowboys before the draft process. He was worked out by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn at his Pro Day and was one of the Cowboys’ 30 visits.
Some of the criticism when it comes to Williams is that he has tight hips and doesn’t have a great bend coming around the edge. Those are things he certainly has to get better at to maximize his production with the Cowboys, but Williams has an attribute that can make up for those shortcomings, speed.
At 6’4 and 260 pounds, Williams ran an impressive 4.46 at the NFL Combine. Quinn spoke on Friday about the burst Williams has off the line of scrimmage.
“Just his initial quickness,’’ Quinn said. “Sometimes as a pass rusher, beating someone to the punch is more than half the job. If you have the quickness to get on somebody both mentally and physically, to put that kind of pressure on somebody.
“I felt that with him.’’
In a very short time, Williams has formed quite a bond with Quinn. Williams told Quinn that he was going to draft him, and he gushed over playing for Quinn because of how he’ll be used with the Cowboys as an edge rusher exclusively as opposed to playing the 4i technique like he did at Ole Miss where he had to battle guards and tackles.
Williams talked on Friday about his relationship with Quinn and the atmosphere he provided at practice.
“Just a connection I can’t explain,’’ said Williams. “Like today. I had fun today. Coach was pumping us up, teaching us and pumping us up at the same time.
“You can’t ask for anything better than that.’’
There’s a long way to go for Williams in his development, but he’s off to a good start.
Feature image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports