For a minute there James Wilcox was the oldest man in the room. He wasn’t. Not even close.
You would think Wilcox didn’t even exist on the Dallas Cowboys roster at all considering the nature Cowboys Nation clamored for a top safety prospect back in May during the 2014 NFL draft.
With top prospects Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor still on the board with the 16th pick, the Cowboys went with protection by adding offensive lineman juggernaut Zack Martin.
Cries. Moans. Anger.
For a minute there J.J. Wilcox was the safety never born.
The Fire in Young
Tiny. Old. Useless. That’s the message Wilcox got.
Old? Hardly. The young safety, who turned 23-years-old last February, is heading into his sophomore season with five starts and 13 games experienced.
Useless? He turned the corner early during the 2013 training camp — wooing the Cowboys staff who penciled him a rookie starter.
Tiny? Wilcox has nearly 10 pounds over Clinton-Dix and Pryor. He wasn’t a “big stage” meet Roger Goodell type 2013 first rounder. Wilcox, however, was respected enough to get a third round nod.
J.J Wilcox Is The Safety Version of Tony Romo
Nobody has more to prove or establish than J.J Wilcox. While it’s known that the Zack Martin pick will always be wedded to the Johnny Manziel opportunity, among side stories, Wilcox is married and divorced to Clinton-Dix and Pryor draft picks forever too.
The stats they produce during their respective careers will forever ghost around Wilcox, and in the shadows will be fans ready to cast a shadow over him while jumping up and down saying, “See! We could have had that guy or that guy or that other guy!”
That’s fine. That’s fire, actually. Wilcox, who showed flash in moments during the 2013 campaign, did play arguably like a rookie. But then again, who on the defense didn’t?
Carr. Ware. Scandrick. Mo-Claiborne. Yes. All of them. Rookies.
The Cowboys were so lost up front and back that by the time the ball reached Wilcox it was no matter. It was a lost cause. Pinning faults on the safety, and asking the team to wipe the data clean on a 23-year-old sophomore drafted in the third round is a lump of irrational waste.
The Safe Picked Safety
You don’t give up on 23-year-old who showed adolescent NFL signs of progress. It’s an absolute certainty the Cowboys made the right choice by going Zack Martin over two star-studded safeties. No two thoughts about that.
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t in the business of cherry picking trophy selections. It’s about building success by packing from within and moving out– a proven formula top teams adopt.
Teams don’t become great by developing the secondary and moving then towards the inside. Teams start at the front, offensively or defensively, add extra depth, and move towards the back.
Go ahead: Explain the reverse to James Wilcox. He’s probably heard it on Twitter. But don’t expect a reply. He’s busy at work being the Cowboys top future safety.