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PRO: Few Dallas Cowboys rookies have come to the franchise with a higher level of hype and expectation than safety Roy Williams. Even fewer of those heralded newcomers have been able to exceed the advanced billing in the fashion that Williams was able to do in his rookie season. The eighth overall selection in the NFL Draft, and a Dallas starter from his first day of training camp, Williams earned All-Rookie recognition while tying for the NFL interception lead among rookies with five. It is rare for a first year player to create the type of impact that Williams had on the Dallas defense - both as a ferocious run stopper and as a big playmaker in pass defense. As one of the bigger safeties in the league - and a very sure tackler - Williams also has the knack for being able to get all of his body mass into his tackles. Williams has a unique flair for making the big hit that stops opposing runners immediately - without yielding any additional ground. He also possesses outstanding instincts and a natural feel for the game, as evidenced by his ability to shed blockers and find the proper angles of pursuit. Williams aptly fits the prototypical description of the guy who is always around the ball. He is above the standard in size, speed, attitude and instinct, but his greatest asset may be his burning competitive nature. He also has natural leadership ability that has already been positively received in the early stages of an NFL career that is off to a blazing start.
2002: In the 43-year history of the Dallas Cowboys, only a handful of rookies have made the type of vivid impact that Roy Williams brought to the club in 2002. As a starter from day one, Williams not only provided a spark to the Dallas defense, but by mid-season he became a force that was earning league-wide recognition and respect. An All-Rookie selection, Williams tied with teammate Derek Ross (and Baltimore safety Ed Reed) to lead all NFL rookies in interceptions with a team-high five. Those five thefts were the most by a Dallas safety since Darren Woodson had five in 1996. Williams was also the leading scorer on defense - returning two of his interceptions for touchdowns. He closed the year second on the team with 127 tackles, a figure that was tops in the NFL among rookie defenders and the second most ever by a Dallas rookie (Dexter Coakley, 136 in 1997). He also tied for second on the team in tackles for lost yardage (seven for minus 13 yards) and tied for the team lead on defense in forced fumbles (three - ninth in the NFL) and fumble recoveries (two - fourth in the NFL) - he also added a forced fumble and fumble recovery on special teams - while finishing third on the squad in passes broken up with nine. Williams became the first Cowboys' rookie to start the season at safety since Ron Francis in 1987. In his first career start, at Houston (9/8), Williams responded with four tackles and a quarterback pressure. In the victory over Tennessee (9/15), he had five tackles and a quarterback pressure while helping to limit the Titans to just one pass play of more than 18 yards. At Philadelphia (9/22), Williams had his first career double-figure tackle game with 11 stops while adding two tackles for lost yardage and a fumble recovery. He first displayed the kind of big impact that he could have on a game in the 13-10 win at St. Louis (9/29). Williams led Dallas in tackles with a career-high 13 stops against the Rams while also forcing a Marshall Faulk fumble and breaking up a Jamie Martin pass. His pressure of quarterback Kurt Warner resulted in a first quarter interception by Greg Ellis and knocked Warner from the game. In the loss to the N.Y. Giants (10/6), Williams registered five tackles and his first career sack - a five yard take-down of Kerry Collins. In the following week's victory over Carolina (10/13), he recorded six tackles before leaving in the third quarter with a left heel bruise. Still hobbled with the heel injury, he returned to action at Arizona (10/20) and finished fourth on the team with seven tackles while adding his second sack of the season and a season-high two passes defensed. In the loss to Seattle (10/27), Williams was third on the team with nine tackles while helping limit Shaun Alexander to 2.5 yards-per-carry on 23 carries (58 yards). At Detroit (11/3), he had seven tackles and led the team with two tackles for losses. At Indianapolis (11/17), he collected 10 tackles while grabbing his first career interception when he picked off a Peyton Manning pass at the Cowboys' 10-yard line to stop a potential scoring drive. He also forced a Colts fumble that went out of bounds. In the win over Jacksonville (11/24), Williams enjoyed one of his finest days as a professional, recording eight tackles, two pass deflections, a forced fumble at the goal line that prevented a touchdown and a diving interception on the sideline that thwarted a bomb to Jimmy Smith, who he had covered step-for-step down the sideline. In the Thanksgiving Day win over Washington (11/28), Williams turned in the key play of the game with an interception return of five yards for a touchdown that cut the Dallas deficit to 20-17. The third quarter touchdown turned the game's momentum and sparked Dallas' fourth quarter rally. It was his third straight game with a pick, becoming the first Dallas player to accomplish that feat since James Washington in Weeks 4-6 of the 1994 season. Michael Downs in 1981 was the last rookie to accomplish the feat. Williams also tied for fourth on the team with six tackles as the Redskins were limited to 121 yards on eight second half possessions. In the loss to San Francisco (12/8), Williams led the team with a season-high tying 13 tackles. He also tied for the team lead with three special teams tackles, including a hit on Jimmy Williams on a kickoff return that forced a fumble that he recovered to set up a Dallas field goal. He wrapped up his outstanding rookie season with a dominating performance at Washington (12/29). He logged seven tackles and was in on two Redskins' turnovers. With 0:56 remaining in the first half and the Redskins driving, he picked off his fifth pass of the season, returning the Patrick Ramsey pass 85-yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 7-7. It was the eighth longest interception return in club history and the second best by a rookie. With the Redskins driving again in the third quarter, Tony Dixon forced Derrius Thompson to fumble at the Cowboys 11-yard line and Williams fell on the loose ball. At the season's end, Williams was one of just 10 defensive backs in the NFL to record multiple sacks (2.0) and interceptions (five) in 2002.
COLLEGE: Considered by many to be the nation's top collegiate football player in 2001, Williams ended a brilliant college career with one year of eligibility remaining. Williams was a unanimous All-America and All-Big 12 Conference selection at strong safety, while also claiming the 2001 Jim Thorpe Award that annually recognizes the nation's top defensive back. Williams was also named the Bronko Nagurski Award winner as the nation's top defender. Williams was also named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. In leading the Sooners to a 10-2 record and a victory in the Cotton Bowl, Williams set a school record with 27 pass deflections. He recorded a career-high 101 tackles with two sacks and 11 stops for losses. His 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage were one shy of his own school record for defensive backs (12 in 2000). He also intercepted five passes and recovered three fumbles. As a sophomore, Williams played a very visible role in the Sooners' perfect 12-0 season and march to the national championship. The title marked the first for Oklahoma since 1985, and the championship season was capped with a victory over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Williams was named All-America and was an All-Big 12 pick. Williams started all 12 games at strong safety and finished the year third on the team with 93 tackles. His 12 stops for losses set a school record for defensive backs, and he had four sacks, two interceptions and nine deflected passes while recovering one fumble. In 1999, Williams played in every game, starting the final five, and recorded 75 tackles with a five-yard sack and six stops for losses of 21 yards. He also intercepted two passes and deflected 11 others while causing one fumble to earn Sporting News Freshman All-America honors. As a true freshman in 1998, he played in the first three games of the season before suffering a back injury that forced him out of action the remainder of the year. He received a medical hardship to regain a year of eligibility.
PERSONAL: Williams played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back during his prep career at James Logan High School in Union City, Calif. He was the top-rated defensive back prospect in the western region by PrepStar after recording five interceptions and 56 tackles as a senior. He caught 13 passes for 301 yards and five touchdowns as a wide receiver while running for 162 yards and a touchdown on 38 carries. Williams was one of the main reasons that Logan had a four-year record of 38-10, two North Coast Section Class 4A championship appearances (1994 and 1997) and two semifinal appearances (1995 and 1996). He also lettered in track. After signing his first pro contract, Williams made a $100,000 contribution towards a new strength training facility at the University of Oklahoma, as a part of the school's new indoor workout complex. The new area, which carries Williams' name, complements the main Robin Siegfried Complex at the Switzer Center. As a member of the Cowboys 2002 Rookie Club - a program designed to introduce rookie team member to community service in the Dallas area - Williams participated in monthly charity visits to non-profit organizations serving children. He also participated as a guest speaker at the club's annual United Way Hometown Huddle event for 100 children involved with The Salvation Army. During the 2003 offseason, Williams served as a celebrity escort at the annual Children's Cancer Fund Fashion Show and Luncheon co-chaired by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and presented the Cowboys High School Coach of the Year Award to the Texas 5A State Champions Head Coach, Todd Dodge of Southlake Carroll High School. Williams majored in sociology at Oklahoma. His aunt, Vecepia Towery, was the winner of the popular CBS television series Survivor: Marquesas in the Spring of 2002.
YEAR TEAM G TOT SOLO AST PD SACK FF REC INT YDS TD
2002 DAL 16 96 86 10 8 2 3 0 5 90 2
2003 DAL 16 76 63 13 9 2 2 0 2 69 0
2004 DAL 16 95 78 17 10 0 1 0 2 53 0
2005 DAL 16 84 72 12 10 3 3 0 3 52 1
2006 DAL 16 63 53 10 14 0 0 0 5 33 0
2007 DAL 14 83 65 18 5 0 0 0 2 10 0
Career 94 497 417 80 56 6.5 9 0 19 307 3