Optimism is always a thing this time of the year. NFL teams have completed their draft and are looking at all the new talent brought into the system. Rookie minicamps and OTAs allow the coaching staff to start getting a feel for the players and because it is just helmets and no pads, everyone has a chance to look like a star.
That’s the caveat to remember when teams are trumpeting the skills of their new roster members. It’s only minicamp and no one is hitting each other, it’s more akin to flag football. So you have to take declarations of excellence with a grain of salt.
With that out of the way, the Cowboys seem to be pretty excited about their second-round pick, Sam Williams. The defensive end was worked out previous to the draft by Dan Quinn, and he seems to be instrumental in the Cowboys choosing Williams.
After the entire coaching staff got a look at him at minincamp, Mike McCarthy came away impressed.
“I think we’d all agree that Sam Williams looks like a guy that was born to play professional football,’’ McCarthy said, via the Dallas Morning News. “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.’’
While it’s nice to hear all that praise, there is one sentence that stands out. I think he’ll do extremely well early for us. It’s always a waiting game to see how long it will take a rookie to work his way into any kind of significant playing time. Lots of times it doesn’t even happen in the first year. Here McCarthy is making the prediction early that Williams will be part of the position rotation from the start.
The Cowboys have Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler, Chauncey Golston and Tarell Basham all looking for playing time at defensive end alongside DeMarcus Lawrence. We know that Williams is accomplished as a pass rusher but might struggle against the run. It sounds like the Cowboys are ready to make him a situational pass rusher from the start and see if they can coach up the rest of his game.
Yes, it’s only rookie minicamp. He’s not DeMarcus Ware just yet. Put away the anointing oil as Bill Parcells would say. But it does sound like Sam Williams is turning heads early on. So take small victories where you can get them.