What began with joy in starting his first game in the NFL ended in tears for Dallas Cowboys rookie wideout Terrance Williams. The Cowboys 2013 third round pick out of Baylor was pressed into starting duty on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers due to yet another hamstring injury suffered by veteran wideout Miles Austin. And what was to be a dream starting for the first time for his favorite childhood team soon became a nightmare for Williams.
The Cowboys staff was ecstatic to find out that the 2012 NCAA leader in receiving yards was still available when their pick came up in this year’s NFL Draft. Williams is a Dallas native and a life-long Cowboys fan, who Mel Kiper Jr. called the best senior wideout in the draft. Although the receiver position wasn’t a pressing need for Dallas, they believed his potential and talent outweighed their needs at that point in the draft.
As much as the Cowboys staff was excited to land Williams in the draft, the bloom fell off the rose a bit once they got him into camp. Williams underperformed in the offseason, struggling with drops early on in OTA’s. He had a similar problem during Senior Bowl practices, which combined with his reported 4.52 speed might have accounted for his drop in the draft. Both Cowboys receiver coach Derek Dooley and former scout Bryan Broaddus said Williams had a “long way to go”…repeatedly.
Williams received even more criticism during training camp. This time from All-Pro tight end Jason Witten who yelled out “Damn it, 83! Come on!” after a dropped pass early on in practices. Then Williams suffered a set back as he was diagnosed with a concussion prior to the exhibition game against the Oakland Raiders. He ended up missing two games in the preseason and numerous practices due to the concussion. Although he played in the rest of the preseason games, Williams acclimated slowly and failed to really make his presence felt.