Sam Williams led the Cowboys’ defensive line in snaps for the second straight preseason game.
And the rookie is making the most of those chances. The Ole Miss product is showing not only why the Cowboys made him a second-round pick in April, but also why he belongs in Dan Quinn’s heavy rotation in the defensive end in September.
Williams didn’t do much damage to Saturday’s box scoring, helping with just two tackles on the night. But he certainly made his presence known, consistently blasting opposing linemen and breathing down the quarterback’s neck on seemingly every other play.
One of those pressures forced a hasty shot that was intercepted by safety Israel Mukuamu.
Sooner or later, Williams knows, the spotlight will be on him. Only 77 games fit your pro career, it’s already getting easier.
“Yeah, yeah,” he told reporters after Saturday’s 32-18 victory over the Chargers. “When I watch the movie, I’m like, ‘Damn, I should have had this. Damn, I should have had this. But you can’t reverse time; I’m just trying to get better every day.”
So far, it seems to be working.
The six-foot Williams’ calling card at the start of camp was his insane speed. But studying and perfecting his technique every day — with guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons as his mentors — has helped him add to his rapidly growing toolbox.
In his 33 snaps against Denver, Williams made a point of experimenting with a variety of moves. This impressed NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger.
In week 2 of preseason, he was putting together his speed, power and technique. Baldinger sees room for improvement in the 23-year-old, but also sees tantalizing possibilities when he joins other game-busters in the Cowboys’ defensive unit.
“Imagine if Micah is coming the other way, and Sam Williams has this takeoff at this left tackle,” the former Cowboys player said via Twitter. “If you can do that and release the quarterback, Micah, Odighizuwa, Fowler…someone will clean up.”
“It will open some eyes in that movie theater,” Baldinger continued.
The young man has Sunday speed and strength for days. But he has already discovered that it is not enough at this level.
It’s the mental part of the game – the strategic chess game of how to prepare for an opponent all week – that often determines how effective that speed and strength will be.
And that’s what Williams is absorbing as camp comes to an end and the regular season approaches.
“In college, it was easier to know a trend, but now, in the NFL, they change a lot based on who they’re up against,” he explained. “They might move from a different set to me than a bigger guy or a slower guy. I try to find trends, I try to find weaknesses, but it’s hard because you’re going up against someone who watches movies too.”
Increasingly, it looks like opponents of the Cowboys will have to watch a lot of movies about Sam Williams.
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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire