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Roster Rundown: Rookie Blues Behind Him, WR Seems Ready
Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players’ impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2014 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features receiver Terrance Williams.
Name: Terrance Williams
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 200
Experience: 1 season
Key stat: Williams finished the year with 736 receiving yards, the fourth-most by a Cowboys rookie in franchise history. His streak of four straight games with a touchdown is a club record.
Contract Status: Signed through 2017.
2013 Impact: This is where you have to give Derek Dooley and Keith O’Quinn a great deal of credit for the initial development of a player. There were traits about Terrance Williams game coming out of Baylor that led you to believe that he had a nice shot of a good future in the NFL. What Dooley and O’Quinn were able to do is take those traits, expand on them but add some more trick to the bag for the player. There usually is a period of the season where these rookie receivers hit the wall and are not as effective as they might have shown in camp. Even though, Williams had a spell where he wasn’t as productive, I never observed him falling off the cliff and disappearing for the entire season. What has been a pleasant surprise about Williams’ game is how he has developed into a productive route runner. At Baylor, their offense does feature the pass and where you saw Williams make the majority of his big plays were ball that were delivered down the middle of the field on the move. I always liked the thought of getting him the ball on the move because I thought that was a real strength. For the Cowboys, we did see balls going down the field to him but there were also routes along the sideline and to the outside. As the season wore on, his game became more developed and even when the ball did not go his direction, he managed to work himself open whether that was fighting press or sitting down in the zone. If there is a trait that bothers me about his game is that you will see him still body catch ball. On the other hand, there are also times where he will snatch the ball and extend. I believe this is an area that he will continue to develop as grows as a player.
Where He Fits: With the questions of whether Miles Austin will return to the club in 2014, Terrance Williams has put himself in a position to be the starter opposite Dez Bryant if the club decides to go in a different direction. My feeling is that Williams will be much more prepared to handle this role because there were times where defenses did not respect his contribution to the offense and were able to focus more attention to trying to deal with Bryant. As he continues to develop, defenses are going to have to respect his game and this in the long run will help Bryant in what defenses are trying to do to him. I don’t expect Williams to take a step back in his 2nd season but with or without Austin in the mix, he will be called on to deliver much more to the attack but the traits are there to handle that task.
At the time of the draft, the Cowboys thought they got a steal in Terrance Williams. Midway through his rookie year, they thought the same thing and now as they prepare for 2014, the thought hasn’t change regarding the former Baylor receiver. Williams proved to be a great addition to the offense, especially as a third-round pick. Williams improved so much that the Cowboys will likely head into next year’s training camp with Williams starting opposite of Dez Bryant. Regardless of Miles Austin’s situation, Williams seems to be a perfect complement to Bryant. He might not be the fastest, but Williams has shown the ability to create separation on the deep throws. His confidence will continue to soar. To me, he looks like the Alvin Harper role from the 90s, with Dez being Irvin, of course. If Williams can continue to be that type of player, the offense should have no problems thriving once again.