Roy Williams: In The Crosshairs

Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams has been the object of quite a bit of media scrutiny lately. The media wants to know the answer to the question that has been a major topic on this blog since Williams was acquired mid-season: Can Roy Williams be a number one receiver?

To answer this question, we must first determine what exactly is to be expected of a number one wide receiver. Last season Terrell Owens was the Cowboys’ number one receiver, catching 69 passes for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns. I tracked the stats for the top wide receiver for each NFL team in 2008. The top wide receiver for each team averaged 74 receptions, 999 yards, and just over 5 touchdowns. I for one would be satisfied if Roy Williams could match these numbers…but in this offense I think he could destroy them.

Before we evaluate Roy Williams' career production, can we just throw 2008 out the window please? I mean, Roy had to deal with Dan Orlovsky and Duante Culpepper in a mediocre offense for six weeks. Then Roy was shoehorned into a Tony Romo-less Dallas offense, only to limp through Romo's return with a foot injury. 2008 cast aside, Roy Williams averaged 61 receptions, 913 yards, and 7 touchdowns per season in his career in Detroit.

If Roy can post those numbers in Detroit with a much lesser supporting cast, he ought to be in good shape in Dallas with such a wide array of weapons around him. He may be staring down the barrel of double coverage quite a bit at first. But if Jason Witten continues to be Jason Witten, and guys like Miles Austin, Martellus Bennett and Felix Jones can consistently make defenses pay, Roy may see some more favorable coverages. Roy put up decent numbers in Detroit, and now finds himself in the best situation of his career in Dallas.

Roy can run, but doesn't have the straight-line speed of Owens, or even Austin. He is not overly sudden at the line of scrimmage either. Williams does however tower over his peers when it comes to his exceptional leaping ability and body control. Williams also possesses good strength, and is one of the best in the league at high-pointing the football. Cowboys fans should not be expecting to see a lot of the 60 and 70-yard touchdowns that we saw from Owens. What can be expected is a lot more catches in traffic, a lot of first downs, and a ton of jump balls in the corner of the end zone. With Roy Williams, the Cowboys have a touchdown anytime they want one inside the 10-yard line.

DC.com currently has some footage up of a recent Roy Williams interview. Williams was grilled about his work ethic and whether or not he thought he could be a number one. Roy looked and sounded irritated about having to answer the questions, and I have to tell you I like the fact that he was so annoyed by the questions. If you watch the interview, it quickly becomes clear that Roy Williams is confident in his own abilities. To his credit, Williams has been in putting in a ton of work with Romo, and taking all of the right steps toward making a major impact next season.

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