In just 8 days, the 2016 NFL Draft will begin from Chicago. Excitement will build as the Los Angeles Rams go on the clock for the very first time as the modern Los Angeles Rams, hoping to choose a quarterback that can take their franchise to the top.
The Rams will be followed by the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers before our Dallas Cowboys enter the spotlight with the fourth overall pick. A fan favorite player for Dallas to land with this pick is Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey.
In 2002, they came on the clock with the 8th overall pick after a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs and selected another defensive back that worked out pretty well for them.
That would be 5 time Pro Bowler Roy Williams. Let’s take a closer look at him in this edition of Cowboys on the Clock!
Williams played just three years of college football at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops before declaring for the NFL Draft. Still, he accomplished more in those seasons than most players do in their entire four year college careers.
In his sophomore year, he started on the 13-0 National Championship team, setting a school record on the way by recording 12 tackles for loss – the most by a defensive back in the program’s history.
The following season, he won the Jim Thorpe Award and Bronko Nagurski trophy, making him the best defensive back and overall defensive player in the country. He was the Big-12 conference’s defensive player of the year, making their first team, while earning All American honors.
The highly decorated Williams helped lead the Sooners back to a BCS bowl, as they won 10 games and defeated Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.
In his first year with the Cowboys in 2002, he was featured in a number of spots on Mike Zimmer’s defense. Primarily, Williams played as a deep safety with Darren Woodson.
Roy Williams finished tied for the team lead in interceptions with 5, coming in second place for defensive rookie of the year. It did not take long for Williams to improve on his rookie campaign though, as the duo of Woodson and Williams was right back to work in 2003.
The two safeties gave Dallas the league’s best defense, leading to their first playoff appearance since 1999. They would lose in the Wild Card round to the Carolina Panthers.
Williams would play four more seasons as a Cowboy, but not without controversy. After his stellar 2003 campaign, injuries would set him back in 2004. While he recovered to start all 16 games, he was asked to play more in coverage as a corner due to the need at that position the Cowboys had.
In 2005, he returned to his natural role of a hard-hitting safety, while continuing to create horse-collar tackles despite them being banned the year before – primarily due to his play.
He would be named to the Pro Bowl this year, before signing a new 5 year deal with the Cowboys in 2006. Dallas returned to the playoffs for the first time since Williams’ second season with the team, losing again in the first round on the road to Seattle.
This would again be the case for the Cowboys in the 2007 playoffs, ending a season in which Williams served a one-game suspension for his horse-collar tackling while taking criticism from teammates.
The Pro Bowl safety would play just one more season as a Cowboy, appearing in 3 games during the 2008 season due to two separate injured suffered to his right forearm.
He would sign with the Cincinnati Bengals and play two seasons there following his release from the Dallas Cowboys in March of 2009.
On August 13th, 2015, Williams was named the greatest player to wear #31 in Dallas Cowboys history by our Inside The Star Staff Writer RJ Ochoa during his “Countdown to Kickoff” series.
The following players have also been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the 8th overall pick:
Although he only hit double digit sacks once in his Cowboys’ career, Greg Ellis was a consistent and durable starter along the team’s defensive line from 1998-2008. He was a Pro Bowler in 2007, the year after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Cowboys on the Clock. To leave your feedback, just reply below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This series will go beyond the clock again tomorrow as we take a look at undrafted, fan-favorite WR Cole Beasley!
I’ll be back with our most recent 6th overall pick on Friday. Until then, be sure to catch me talking sports today from 1-4 ET on 90.3 WMSC with “Upon Further Review”! Wmscradio.com has the stream, and you can also listen on the iHeart Radio app!