3 Dallas Cowboys entering a make-or-break year in 2024

The Cowboys will need these 3 players to rise to the occasion in 2024
Dallas Cowboys, Sam Williams
Dallas Cowboys, Sam Williams / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Sam Williams, EDGE

Ahead of the 2022 season, the Cowboys took a lot of criticism for allowing an extension with Randy Gregory to slip through their fingers. Language in the contract led to frustration for Gregory and his representation and the pass-rushing specialist bolted for Denver.

When he left, Stephen Jones said the team could rely on Dorance Armstrong, citing his five sacks in 2021 as a reason to believe he could produce as much as Gregory. At the time, it seemed as though Jones was trying to convince himself but he was proven correct.

Armstrong recorded 16 sacks over the past two seasons. He's now on the way out after signing with the Washington Commanders, meaning the pressure he felt to step up his game will now fall on Sam Williams.

The former second-round pick spent the past two seasons in a rotational role but should see his snap count increase drastically in year three. So far, he has proven he can make splash plays. Williams enters his third season in the league with 48 tackles and 8.5 sacks.

He's a 261-pound defensive end who ran a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash. He has enough speed and explosion that he's spent time as a gunner on special teams, a job often reserved for wide receivers and defensive backs.

Ideally, he will spend less time on coverage units this year. Williams earned his shot with his play thus far but he's going to have to step up his game. If not, someone such as Marshawn Kneeland could steal his spot down the line.

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