Since 2010 the Dallas Cowboys have done a better job of finding talent. As a core of Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer and Doug Free inch closer to the end of their careers, the Cowboys need a group of young players heading into their primes to take ownership of the team. Cowboys reporters Calvin Watkins and Todd Archer analyze those players from the class of 2010 on.
IRVING, Texas -- The key to the Cowboys’ first-round trade down in last year’s NFL draft was picking up wide receiver Terrance Williams in the third round.
With Travis Frederick in the first round and Williams picked two rounds later, the Cowboys found two core players in their first three picks.
Williams caught 44 passes for 736 yards and had five touchdowns. His playing time increased with Miles Austin’s absence with a hamstring injury and the game was not too big for him. The only rookie receivers with more catches in team history than Williams are Bob Hayes (47) and Dez Bryant (45). The only rookie receivers with more yards in team history than Williams are Hayes (1,023) and Mike Sherrard (744). He had a touchdown catch in four straight games early in the season, which was the longest by a rookie in team history.
Williams was able to make the big play -- touchdowns of 82 and 60 yards -- and the intermediate plays – a nice sideline grab late vs. the Washington Redskins comes to mind. He and Tony Romo took some time to gel, but they developed a feel over the course of the season that paid off with 51-yard catch on the game-winning drive against the Redskins when things broke down.
The coaches were impressed with his work ethic throughout the season. They felt like he rarely made the same mistake twice. He was also a solid blocker. He even showed some toughness by fighting through a hamstring injury the last two games.
With Austin’s status in doubt because of a salary-cap crunch, the Cowboys know they have Williams ready to assume the No. 2 role behind Bryant. The next jump he has to make is handling the pressures of being the guy opposite Bryant on a full-time basis.