FRISCO, Texas — Going into year two, there's a combined sense of tranquility and hunger with 2022 second-round pick defensive end Sam Williams that has started to radiate within the defense.
Despite taking advantage of his opportunities that excited fans in year one in accounting for 15 tackles, four sacks and one forced fumble, Williams doesn't feel like he has even reached the surface of his potential as an NFL player.
"I didn't live up to what I wanted," Williams said. "Nothing is ever how I expect it in most situations, but all I can do is learn from it and enjoy the process. When I first got here, I was saying I need it and want it now instead of learning the technique."
Becoming a more fundamental player has become the focus of the offseason for Williams as he looks to take the knowledge he gained from last season and apply it this offseason ahead of a promising sophomore campaign.
"I knew I could play football but I had to learn to play in the NFL," he said. "Everybody can play football but not everyone can play at the top level. That's what I'm focused on this year. Learn the process, take it all in and apply it on the field."
Dallas has one of its healthiest pass rushing groups in recent memory with talent top-to-bottom on both sides of the defensive line and in the interior. While the group is stacked, Williams sees a firm role for himself to contribute if given the opportunity in 2023.
"Everyday is a new opportunity for me," Williams said. "Knock on wood, but if a man goes down, I'm next up. If I outplay somebody, then maybe I'm starting. Everyday is an opportunity to show that I deserve to be on the field. I need and want to be on the field."
In order to reach his goal for year two, taking advantage of any opportunity would be crucial as he looks to reach an echelon that would put him among the best young pass rushers in the league.
"I need ten sacks," Williams said. "Ten sacks will open up a lot of opportunities for me. Obviously the team goal is to win a championship, but my personal goal and what I'm working towards is getting better with my hands and I need ten sacks."
The support around the building for Williams to reach that goal has been both humbling and rewarding as he walks into the locker room everyday excited to be a part of what the players themselves would consider one of the top defenses in the league.
"I love it here. Even last year, this is my happy place. It's straight happiness around a good group of guys in a good environment."
"I don't think there is a ceiling for this group. We can go as high as we want to."