The Cowboys hit the jackpot in the 2021 NFL Draft when they landed linebacker Micah Parsons with the 12th pick.
Of course, there are high expectations for any first round pick, but it’s amplified when one of the most popular teams in all of sports selects you.
But even the Cowboys couldn’t have foreseen Parsons having the sixth-most sacks in the NFL, earning all-pro honors, being selected to the pro bowl and winning defensive rookie of the year.
Though now, defenses will be keying in on Parsons given that there’s an entire season of game film on the former Penn State Nittany Lion.
But Dallas acquired a pass rusher this offseason that’s primed to form a dominant tandem with Parsons getting extra attention from opposing teams.
DC Dan Quinn’s “bromance” with rookie Sam Williams
When Dallas drafted the defensive end from Ole Miss in the second round of the 2022 draft, it didn’t come as a surprise.
When Quinn paid a visit to Ole Miss for a pre-draft workout, he went back to head coach Mike McCarthy raving about Williams. Standing at 6’4 and 265-pounds, Williams is an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier than Parsons.
While William’s size and strength is important in his game, the key to his success is his speed. Williams ran a 4.46 40-yard dash, which surely caused some restless nights for college QBs having to line up against Williams.
Quinn had this to say about what he was at Ole Miss that day, per an article on the Cowboys website:
“Just his initial quickness. Sometimes as a pass rusher, beating someone to the punch is more than half the job. If you have the quickness to get on somebody, both mentally and physically, (it puts) pressure on someone.”
Williams shared the love, speaking fondly of a visit he paid the Cowboys in April:
“When I came here, I told them I wanted to miss my flight on purpose so I wouldn’t have to leave. It’s just a connection that I can’t explain. With DQ and the other guys, it’s just different.”
Williams just as dominant as Parsons in 2021
Registering 12.5 sacks landed Parsons a spot in the Ole Miss record books for the most sacks in a single season. Among the rest of the NCAA, that landed Williams fifth in sacks and his four forced fumbles ranked ninth.
It’s always worth noting that competing in the Southeastern Conference is the highest level of college football. For further evidence of this, look no further than the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championships, where two SEC representatives faced off when Georgia took down Alabama.
Williams’ slip in Draft wasn’t accidental
Williams was arrested for sexual battery in 2020, but the charges were dropped. Details of the situation were kept under wraps, but the incident was enough to leave Williams on the board for Dallas to draft him in round two.
But after drafting Williams, owner and general manager Jerry Jones assured Cowboys fans that Dallas did their research before selecting Williams:
“We looked thoroughly into all of the allegations. As you well know, it was aired out real good there at Ole Miss. Once they were satisfied where he was, then he came back and joined the team. We spent a lot of time because we had a keen interest in him. We spent a lot of time talking with a lot of people that know him real close.”
The Cowboys drafted CB Kelvin Joseph in 2021 despite reported character issues. This past March, Joseph met with Dallas police about his involvement in a fatal drive-by shooting following a dispute in a bar. Two others were arrested in connection with the shooting that is still under investigation.
Time will tell if Joseph is forced to miss playing time if he faces legal issues. But it’s worth noting that sometimes drafting a talented player with background issues can come back to haunt a team.