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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #54 Sam Williams

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. And we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 54.

DE Sam Williams
Born: 31st March 1999 (24) - Mobile, Alabama
College: Ole Miss Rebels
Draft: 2022, Round 2, Pick 56, Dallas Cowboys

2022 Stats:
Snaps: 518
Defensive Snaps: 274 (24%)
Tackles: 22
Pressures: 22
Sacks: 4
TFL: 10
Defensive Stops: 15
Penalties: 4

Sam Williams started playing for Northeast Mississippi Community College out of high school, but soon found his way to Ole Miss and playing against some of the best offensive linemen the nation had to offer. It didn’t take long for Williams to make an impact and showcase his natural talents as a pass rusher. He recorded his first sack in the SEC in his second game, and finished his first season for the Rebels with 9.5 sacks. By his senior year, Williams had established himself as one the best defensive ends in the county and led the SEC in sacks as well as breaking an Ole Miss single-season record.

Having a chance to interview Williams, he mentioned one of the inspirations in his life while playing college was knowing his mother was watching from the sideline, and she would drive to some games for over four or five hours to cheer for him. The life lessons she taught him by doing this every week would later impact Williams when he got drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, and give him a heightened appetite to succeed for his own children.

Cowboys Review:
The best word to describe Sam Williams’ career in college is “perseverance”, and that word best describes his first year at Dallas. He clearly put in the time training during his rookie season, and he put what he learned to good use when he got the chance. He played mostly in a rotation but still managed to be one of the more productive defensive players for Dallas. His 22 pressures ranked sixth for the Cowboys, while his four sacks ranked fifth. What’s even more impressive, his 10 tackles for loss were the second-most on the team, only trailing Micah Parsons by three. All the other Dallas players ahead of Williams in those statistical categories had double or more snaps than what he had last season. Yet Williams, with the limited snaps, made his opportunities count. So the question becomes, how many sacks does Williams get when given a larger share of the snaps?

2023 Roster Projection:
With DeMarcus Lawrence getting older, Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr. both entering the final year of their contracts, this is now the year for Sam Williams to strike and prove he can be “the guy” going forward. Last year we saw plenty of moments of his pass rushing skills, and how much strength he has in his tackle. Let’s not forget the time he picked up the ball carrier and threw him to the ground like an empty briefcase. It’s now time to show the world he can do it again on a bigger scale. With more opportunity, he stands a chance to battle Micah Parsons for Cowboys season sack leader one day, and he’s certainly motivated to be that.

Projected 2023 Stats:
Snaps: 650
Tackles: 45
Pressures: 45
Sacks: 9
TFL: 12
Defensive stops: 33

The Big Question:
Will Sam Williams be second on the team in sacks this year? Answer in the comments section.

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