By SCHUYLER DIXON, AP Pro Football Writer
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Mississippi rusher Sam Williams is the Dallas Cowboys’ last second-round pick with an off-court problem, drafted Friday night just days after owner Jerry Jones said he became more conservative about these choices.
The Cowboys took Williams with the 56th overall pick in the draft after losing defensive end Randy Gregory to Denver in free agency as Dallas believed he could re-sign in the 2015 second round.
Like Gregory coming out of Nebraska, Williams joins Dallas with a character question. He was suspended from Ole Miss in July 2020 after being accused of sexual assault. Williams was reinstated two months later after the charge was dropped.
“It’s the past. Obviously I haven’t done anything,” Williams said. “It’s a new life, just a brand new start ahead of me. , it’s a new start in a new field with great coaches, great teammates and my family.
Last year, Dallas drafted cornerback Kelvin Joseph in the second round from Kentucky, where he ended up after leaving LSU for off-field issues. Joseph is part of a Dallas police investigation into a fatal drive-by shooting in March.
Joseph’s attorney said his client was an unarmed passenger in the vehicle and “went into a situation that escalated without his knowledge or consent.” The NFL is investigating the matter as part of its personal conduct policy.
Asked before the draft about taking less risk more recently in 33 years as owner and general manager, Jones said: “That kind of thing, that decision on issues off the field, I’m probably a little more conservative that I was 15 years old. years ago.”
Pressed to say how comfortable he was with Joseph’s selection last year, Jones said: “Let’s be very clear, I didn’t say if I was comfortable or uncomfortable. easy.”
Williams was a third-team All-American last season after setting an Ole Miss record with 12 1/2 sacks. He finished tied for 10th nationally with four forced fumbles.
The Cowboys’ defensive pick came after taking Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith in the first round. Dallas drafted South Carolina wide receiver Jalen Tolbert with the 88th pick in the third round.
The Dallas defense had a dramatic turnaround under first-year coordinator Dan Quinn last season. The opportunistic unit led the NFL with 34 takeouts.
Williams could have a chance to start against DeMarcus Lawrence, a 2014 second-round pick who is returning to a reworked three-year deal after signing a five-year, $105 million deal.
“They’re going to have a player who wants to play, who wants to win, who wants to do his job, who wants to go above and beyond,” Williams said. “I’m just ready. I can talk about it, but I’m just willing to show it.
The Cowboys added free agent defensive end Dante Fowler, a 2015 first-rounder, and have high hopes for Dorance Armstrong after re-signing one of their 2018 fourth-round picks.
Williams joined Ole Miss after recording 17 1/2 sacks at Northeast Mississippi Community College in 2018. He led the Rebels in sacks his freshman year with six.
Tolbert was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year last season after finishing sixth in the FBS with 1,474 receiving yards while setting the school record with 82 catches and eight touchdowns. He is South Alabama’s career leader in catches (178) and yards (3,140).
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.