Dallas selects Safety J.J. Wilcox with the 80th pick

The Dallas Cowboys finally met one of their more dire draft needs with the 80th pick in the NFL Draft as they selected Georgia Southern Safety J.J. Wilcox.

November 17, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Rantavious Wooten (17) runs with the ball against Georgia Southern Eagles safety JJ Wilcox (19) during the first quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Wilcox starting his collegiate career as a wide receiver then switched to slot back when Head Coach Jeff Monken went back to the option.  He eventually made the switch to safety where he finished second on the Eagles’ squad with 88 tackles, three passes broken up, and had two interceptions.  Wilcox also averaged 25.2 yards per kickoff return for Georgia Southern.

His size, athleticism, and versatility make him an attractive selection for the Cowboys.  Wilcox had an impressive enough Senior Bowl as he put himself at a place to be drafted on the second day.  He was expected to go somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round. Wilcox has been scouted as being a good open field tackler, as he breaks down very well and shows enough balance and patience to be a solid safety.  Another thing Senior Bowl coaches liked about him was his leaping ability and body control.

The negatives on Wilcox include his lack of good straight-line speed. And his technique needs some working on especially when he attacks the offensive line to get after a runner.  Wilcox tends to get caught up in the offensive line, so he has a lot of work to do during the Cowboys’ training camp and OTA’s.

Although this is a good future pick for Dallas, Wilcox is not an instant starter.  He will probably play some special teams and work his way into the starting lineup in a season or two.  The Cowboys met a need, but it wasn’t quite the need us fans were looking for.  Bottom line is Dallas should have gotten themselves a starter at safety earlier in the day.

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