Going into the 2013 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys entered with plenty of needs. One was the offensive line, where Left Tackle Tyron Smith is the only one really worth anything. The other was the back end of the defense, particularly the safety position. The Cowboys addressed one offensive line position, center, with their 31st pick when they took Wisconsin Badger Travis Frederick. The secondary needs were addressed in the third round with Georgia Southern University safety JJ Wilcox and as well in the fourth round with William & Mary cornerback BW Webb. Frederick will start from day one and help solidify the offensive line. Fifth round draft choice Joseph Randle, the 6 foot, 204 pound running back out of Oklahoma State University, should figure important in the Cowboys’ run game, especially with Felix Jones out of the picture. Outside linebacker Devonte Holloman – the sixth round University of South Carolina product – has talent but is raw and will be used for insurance in his first season.
But the Cowboys rookie who is bound to have the biggest impact in 2013 is former Baylor Bears wide receiver Terrance Williams, selected in the third round.
Williams, at 6’2″ 208 pounds, led the NCAA in receiving yards in 2012, amassing 1,832 yards on 97 catches in 13 games, scoring 12 touchdowns. Williams’ selection came as a surprise to many with number one and two wideouts Dez Bryant and Miles Austin of Pro Bowl caliber and Dwayne Harris emerging last year as a nice complementary threat. Williams though allows the Cowboys to be more creative in the passing game and gives them more flexibility.
They now can move Austin into the slot and start Williams alongside Bryant if they so desire, giving Tony Romo two viable vertical threats to work with. One of the other pluses to Williams’ game is that he has the ability to make tough catches, something that Austin struggled with last year, especially in clutch situations.
Personally, I would like to see this kid on the outside and Austin on the inside. I just don’t think that Austin is the threat he was pre-injury. He had back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 2009 and 2010, but he missed six games in 2011 while hampered by a hamstring injury and sat out some of training camp last season with the same injury. He also played through an injured hip late last season, and doesn’t seem to have the same burst as he once did. Williams, unlike Austin, is a very good red zone threat and a natural go getter of the football. And given the Cowboys’ severe lack of red zone scoring the last couple seasons, he should help in that area.
Jerry Jones’ assertion that Williams will be used on the outside gives me the impression that he expects him to play regularly and be effective. If that happens, expect Williams to have a big impact in 2013.