With holes on the defensive line and at safety, the Cowboys waited way too long to draft a player on that side of the ball. With their fourth pick of the draft and the 80th pick overall, Dallas finally addressed a defensive need by drafting J.J. Wilcox at strong safety out of Georgia Southern.
J.J. Wilcox, SS
Pros. Wilcox’s story is pretty amazing. He went from the offensive side of the ball in his sophomore and junior year to the defensive side fo the ball in his senior year. No experience at safety, didn’t matter. He was a natural. He finished the year second on the team in tackles with 88, and two interception. Wilcox is a naturally gifted athlete and has the body to go with it. At 6′, 215 lbs., he’s got a solid frame and he can use it. Unlike most offensive players, this guy can hit. He’s got good hands and good speed. He is naturally instinctive and has a ton of upside.
Cons. Yeah he’s got freakish natural talent. Unfortunately, he has no experience. With only one year at safety, no one knows how long it will take him to make the leap to the next level. Wilcox is pretty fast but there is a question whether he has the kind of acceleration to stay with the fastest receivers over the top. He has a tough time shedding blockers. When he gets blocked, he’s pretty much out of the play. His biggest weaknesses have to do with technique. His natural ability has allowed him to get passed this weakness but he’ll need some coaching if he’s going to stick around.
Grade. A- With this pick, the Cowboys finally filled a much needed hole in the defense with a pretty solid player. This draft was safety deep which is to say that there was a lot of value in later rounds. Wilcox must have been high on the Cowboys’ board since Dallas passed on some pretty decent talent in earlier rounds. Wilcox will probably be a special teams guy and punt returner in 2013. If his progression is quick, we may see him along side of Barry Church in the secondary at some point this season.