- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Cowboys' 2009 draft looks worse by the week.
They announced the release of linebacker Jason Williams on Tuesday. Williams, the 69th overall pick in the draft, was the Cowboys' top draft pick in the class after they traded down.
Williams is the third member of that draft class released in the last month. The Cowboys cut fifth-round safety Michael Hamlin and third-round offensive tackle Robert Brewster in October.
Only four players from the 12-player class remain on the roster: fourth-round quarterback Stephen McGee, fourth-round outside linebackers Victor Butler and Brandon Williams and fifth-round kicker David Buehler. (The best player in the class, sixth-round tight end John Phillips, is on injured reserve.)
Williams, a workout wonder, never grasped the Cowboys' defensive scheme. He has only three defensive tackles in his career (eight more on special teams) and failed miserably in his audition as a nickel linebacker. Williams had two key blown assigments in the loss to the Vikings, giving up a touchdown pass and a long pass that led to another touchdown. He was inactive in the two games since then.
There was internal discussion about releasing Williams after training camp. However, Wade Phillips fought to keep the linebacker he lobbied to pick in the third round.
Maybe this is the beginning of Phillips' newfound desire to force his players to be accountable. It would make a much stronger statement if the Cowboys released or demoted one of the many underachieving veterans on the roster.
The Cowboys could opt to promote cornerback Bryan McCann off the practice squad to fill the open roster spot. The Cowboys have only three cornerbacks on the roster, and Terence Newman might not be able to play Sunday against the Packers due to a painful strained muscle in his rib cage.