Dallas Cowboys: Sylvester Williams

Frederick, Williams ready to break out?

June, 9, 2014
Jun 9
11:30
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- If the Dallas Cowboys are to break out of their 8-8 doldrums, they will need younger players to grow up in 2014.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has two candidates for breakout seasons -- Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams -- in his annual list.

Frederick
Williams
Williams
The Cowboys were one of four teams with more than one player. The San Diego Chargers had three: D.J. Fluker, Melvin Ingram, Keenan Allen. The New Orleans Saints (Kenny Vaccaro, Akiem Hicks) and Denver Broncos (Montee Ball, Sylvester Williams) also had two.

Here’s what Prisco said about Frederick and Williams:
Travis Frederick, C, Dallas Cowboys -- When the Cowboys picked him in the first round of the 2013 draft, there were snickers. But it was the right move. He showed last season as a 16-game starter that he has a chance to be a really good center. He is smart and athletic, two musts for the position these days.

Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys -- With Miles Austin now gone, this second-year player takes over as the starter opposite Dez Bryant. That should mean a lot of single coverage and a chance for big plays. Look for his numbers to go up dramatically from his 44 catches a year ago.

Defining how Frederick breaks out is tougher than Williams just because of the nature of his position. The Cowboys were stronger up the middle in 2013 than they had been in recent years because of Frederick. He did not miss a game as a rookie and carried himself as a veteran from the first day he arrived.

(As an aside, there is a similar feeling when it comes to this year’s first-round pick, Zack Martin.)

For Williams, it can be a little easier to define because his statistics will be there for everybody to see. He caught 44 passes for 736 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.

With Austin gone, Williams will be the starter opposite Bryant in 2014. The Cowboys have no reservations about Williams. They believe he will slide into that role without any issues. In coach parlance, they don’t believe the game is too big for him.

He will get opportunities. Bryant will be the focal point of opposing defenses.

With Bryant catching 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013, Austin caught 66 passes for 943 yards and six touchdowns as the No. 2 receiver in 16 games in 2012. The Cowboys would live with those numbers from Williams.

Cowboys' quarterbacks had 375 completions last year.

Pencil in Bryant for another 90-plus catch season. Jason Witten will catch 75-80 passes. The running backs will combine for 80. Cole Beasley should figure in that 35-45 catch range. Dwayne Harris and Gavin Escobar will have more than the 18 they combined for last year. Devin Street will be in that 20-30 range if things go well as well.

There will be opportunities for Williams to show 2014 will be a breakout season.

Cowboys trade down to No. 31

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
9:19
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys made their 60th draft day trade under owner/general manager Jerry Jones on Thursday night.

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Did the Cowboys make the right move trading down in the first round?

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    32%
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    58%

Discuss (Total votes: 27,504)

The Cowboys switched spots with San Francisco, moving from No. 18 to No. 31 in the first round. The Cowboys also acquired a third-round pick, the 74th overall selection.

The 49ers drafted LSU safety Eric Reid with the 18th pick of the first round.

Dallas was interested in several players, including Sheldon Richardson, Kenny Vaccaro, Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper, but those players were off the board by the time the Cowboys' turn came to pick.

However, the Cowboys left highly-regarded Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams on the board.

The Cowboys have two third-round picks, 74th and 80 overall.

Playing out Cowboys' scenarios at No. 18

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
3:08
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – With the 18th pick in the first round, the Cowboys could make their pick sometime around 10 p.m. That’s a lot of time to sit around and wait.

PODCAST
Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what we can expect in the first round of the NFL draft and how it relates to the Dallas Cowboys.

Listen Listen
Throughout the week, the Cowboys have run through every possible scenario so when they are on the clock (or even a little earlier than that) they will have a pick ready. It’s like going in with multiple game plans on a Sunday.

Best-case scenario: Somehow, some way Jonathan Cooper or Chance Warmack are available. History says they will there because five offensive linemen have not gone so early in thirty-plus years, but it seems like there is a lot of evidence to the contrary.

Cooper would be the preference but Warmack would be a nice pickup, too. They would walk in as Day 1 starters, which has become something of a catch-phrase around the Cowboys here this week. They would upgrade the weakest part of the team.

The only way this happens is if a quarterback or two or a wide receiver or two go early. Perhaps a running back. They need some unexpected moves that would push Warmack (most likely) down to them.

Likely scenario: The Cowboys take a defensive lineman, like Sheldon Richardson or Sylvester Williams, or safety Kenny Vaccaro.

As of this moment, I believe they would take Richardson if they cannot move back and the offensive linemen are gone. He can play both interior spots with the idea of him becoming the Warren Sapp for this Monte Kiffin defense. Williams is more of the traditional run stopper. Both would bring value to the defense.

Vaccaro is the top safety and he would fill an immediate need. Does he slip to No. 18? The Cowboys worked him out privately and had him at Valley Ranch for a visit.

Of the three, Williams figures to be the guy most likely to be available.

Second-best case scenario: Trade down in the first round and pick up extra picks.

Some might believe this would be the best-case scenario, but the offensive line needs big help.

If the Cowboys can move down, then that would open up more players to them and fit with their draft board more. They are in a no-man’s land right now where there is a gap in talent.

Depending on how far back they go, this would give the Cowboys looks at offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and Justin Pugh, defensive end Bjoern Werner and safeties Eric Reid and Jonathan Cyprien.

A pick of Fluker would seem to mean Doug Free would not be back. Pugh could be a walk-in starter at guard. Werner would fill a need as a backup defensive end with the eye on him starting in the future with Anthony Spencer on a one-year deal. Reid and Cyprien would be walk-in starters, too.

Worst-cast scenario: Everybody listed above is gone and they can’t trade down.

They must be willing to make a pick and this is where Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert comes into the mix. He could be their best player available but drafting a first-round tight end doesn’t help them that much in 2013 or give Jason Garrett the best chance to win now.

Eifert will be a terrific player, but Garrett has not shown the ability to work multiple tight end packages effectively like New England has. The Cowboys couldn’t make it work with second-rounders Anthony Fasano or Martellus Bennett behind Jason Witten.

Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Werner, Cyprien and Fluker would also be in this mix. Picking any of them at No. 18 would likely be higher than the Cowboys would want.

First-round preview: Dallas Cowboys

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
12:36
PM ET
Where they're picking: No. 18

Conventional wisdom tells us the top six offensive linemen will be gone by 18, depriving the Cowboys of the chance to address their most significant short-term and long-term need. The mock drafts in which this happens have the Cowboys taking a defensive tackle such as Sheldon Richardson or Sylvester Williams at No. 18, and some are still connecting the Cowboys with Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, since safety is a need as well. Everybody seems to agree that the Cowboys' dream scenario is that they get one of the draft's top two guards, either Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper, but no one seems to think either will fall to 18.

PODCAST
Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Kansas City to discuss Jerry Jones' attendance at the Bush Library on NFL draft day, what he expects the Chiefs to do with the No. 1 pick and tell a funny tale about Bill Clinton and Jerry Jones.

Listen Listen
History tells us that the conventional wisdom is wrong. The last time six offensive linemen went in the top 17 picks was 1966, when the league only had 15 teams in it. Guards don't tend to go early, since most teams don't assign top-half-of-first-round value to that position. History tells us the Cowboys will be able to get offensive line help if they want it in the first round. But history also tells us that the Cowboys tend to pick out a guy they really like in the first round (Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith and Morris Claiborne are the recent examples) and do what they can to get him.

They probably won't end up with Vaccaro. First of all, it's possible he goes earlier than 18 (say, to St. Louis at 16). Second of all, their needs on the lines and the comparative value at those positions likely will push them to take a linemen of one sort or the other in a draft whose second round is packed with starting-caliber safeties. Sure, it's possible Vaccaro is this year's Jerry Jones crush and there's nothing anyone else in the braintrust can do to talk him out of it. But I'd be surprised if they end up with the Texas safety.

They could shock us by taking a tight end. The Blogfather, Matt Mosley, says he's been hearing the Cowboys love Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, and if that's the case they could be making plans to move up to get him. While that would seem silly with Jason Witten still in place and at the top of his game, it's not completely crazy to find another weapon for Tony Romo in the passing game. If Eifert is the Cowboys' best player available, they could go for it. It would be foolish, and would leave them too short in too many other areas, but I'm not sure that would stop them.

My prediction: I'm leaning on history here and saying the mocks are all wrong and the Cowboys are going to be able to get one of those guards. Since we're making a pick, I'll say it's Chance Warmack who falls either all the way to 18 or at least into the 14-15 range that would allow them to make a sensible, cost-effective trade-up to get him. Not like last year's trade for Claiborne, which cost them their second-round pick, but maybe for a later-round pick or even a 2014 one.

The final mock drafts

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
10:30
AM ET
Late Thursday night we'll know the entire first round of the NFL draft and begin the discussion of who did what and why.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have their final mock drafts.

Kiper has the Cowboys taking North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. Says Kiper:
The Cowboys currently have 31-year-old Jay Ratliff as one starting defensive tackle, and 30-year-old Jason Hatcher as the other. They may have other more pressing needs, but if the Cowboys can't put together a solid rotation on the interior of their defensive line, the conversion to a 4-3 is going to be ugly.


To get the rest of the first round, go here. You need to be an ESPN Insider to get the complete list.

McShay's final mock draft has Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson going in the first round to the Cowboys. McShay has Williams going to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 23.

Here's McShay's mock. You have to be an ESPN Insider to view it.
In a conference call with reporters, ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. dismissed the notion that guards Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper will be around when the Cowboys select at No. 18.

Safety Kenny Vaccaro, who is projected to be the first safety taken, is falling in Kiper's eyes.

"To see them drop all the way down to 18, if they don't, Vaccaro could be there," Kiper said. "Vaccaro has slipped down, I think into the 20s, but he would be a possibility. I bet Sylvester Williams from North Carolina, you need a defensive tackle to fit that Monte Kiffin scheme. Then you look at the second-round possibilities, a Justin Pugh."

Kiper said the Cowboys need to upgrade the interior of the offensive line and believes Warmack and Cooper are "all going very high."

So to improve the interior, Kiper offers Pugh, from Syracuse, "who's a left tackle, can be a guard, can be a center. They have to improve the interior of the offensive line, Dallas does, and Pugh would be a very nice addition at that point."

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