Why the Dallas Cowboys defensive X-Factor is EDGE Sam Williams

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Sam Williams #54 of the Dallas Cowboys gets set against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Sam Williams #54 of the Dallas Cowboys gets set against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

Today, I’m focusing on Sam Williams, a defensive end in his second year with the Dallas Cowboys.

Sam Williams was considered a reach by many when the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in the second-round last season. I was not one of those individuals.

In terms of athleticism, Williams ticks almost every box. He is lengthy, sturdy, explosive, and well-built. His bend may not be elite, but he has exhibited some level of flexibility on the edge.

If you require confirmation, Charles Cross is able to verify this. Among all the edge rushers he faced during his college years, it was Sam Williams who caused him the most difficulties.

During his first year, Williams managed to accumulate 15 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble, despite being given limited opportunities to play. The Dallas Cowboys are betting on Williams making a big jump in year two.

Last season, he exhibited instances of dominance that were noteworthy. It wasn’t until we hit week five that everything finally started to fall into place for him.

In week seven, he delivered his best performance against the Detroit Lions. Williams made a name for himself by recording not just one, but two sacks in his first career game against Detroit, and also forced and recover a fumble on the same play.

Williams has ambitious objectives as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys in 2023. Last year’s evidence supports the notion that he will reach those objectives. The Dallas Cowboys will consider this a great problem. There’s no such thing as too many edge rushers.

"“10 sacks is what I need. Ten sacks will open up a lot of opportunities for me. Obviously, the team goal is to win a championship, but my personal goal and what I’m working towards is getting better with my hands, and I need 10 sacks.” – Sam Williams announced at Cowboys OTAs."

The Dallas Cowboys need to bring in younger talent to boost their defensive end position. Williams is fully capable and has the self-belief to accomplish that and more. Others share that same belief. Let’s welcome Brian Baldinger to the conversation (follow hyperlink for a breakdown).

Williams, who weighs in at a solid 261 pounds and boasts an impressive 4.46 time in the 40-yard dash, is an athlete who doesn’t rely on finesse in his game-play. He plays with a burning motor that roars like a Texas tornado and engulfs everything in its path.

While the foundation is strong, there are still certain areas that Williams needs to focus on in order to become a well-rounded defensive end.

Learning how to coordinate his hands and feet is still ongoing. The power of Williams’ bull rushes is sometimes weakened because he engages them off the wrong foot in particular snaps. The inconsistency in hand carriage results in timing issues with hand-strikes and other associated details.

If he can effectively use his hands and feet, there is a high possibility that he could become an elite edge rusher. The incredible blend of straight line speed, power, and violent physicality creates boundless opportunities and endless possibilities.

Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler are both playing on one-year contracts. DeMarcus Lawrence has crossed the 30-year-old threshold.

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An infusion of youthful talent in 2023 will be of significant benefit to the defensive line of the Dallas Cowboys. That new mantra can be started by Sam Williams.