Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys J.J. Wilcox (27) runs with the ball after an interception against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Safeties Need Not Apply For Dallas Cowboys


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.

Tags: Featured J.J. Wilcox Popular Rod Marinelli The Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo

  • David

    First off I will say I do love the Martin pick. However in regards to Wilcox and the rest of the safeties you talk like they are a strength of the defense. Lets be real for a minute. Church was pretty good because he had a high number of tackles. However he was terrible in coverage and helping out the corners. Wilcox and the other band on no names wer not any better. I hope Wilcox can step up and be the player they think he is, but this team eventually has to invest a 1st or 2nd round pick if these guys do not improve a ton. In todays pass happy NFL you dont win with average safeties, I dont care how good the front seven is.

  • davidisanidiiot

    Find a shortstop to play cars with boats. Duh!

  • bigred1985

    David- I feel the same way I thought Wilcox played Ok at best last year but with supreme talent there at the Cowboys pick I thought for sure they would take one Calvin Pryor is going to be a earl thomas type safety and dallas passed on him because they wanted to look smart with the J.J. Wilcox pick

  • Earl Robertson

    You build championship teams by putting extreme value on the O line and D line also QB. Then you have to be smart in building the rest of the team. So Cowboys did the smart move.

  • Robert

    Mike V.
    Let’s tone it down a notch and you are welcome for the hit on your site.
    Optimism runs rampant this time of year for every organization and to the Cowboys credit, they are making nice progress. The main factors with this team, you are correct.
    Without meltdowns from the coaching staff last year, that Cowboy team was 12-4, 11-5 at worst. 8 points separated last years team from the playoffs and possibly a run thereafter, no excuses for injuries.

  • IBleedBlue

    JJ will prove all the naysayers wrong.