Dallas Cowboys: A review of the 2015 rookie class
Aug 1, 2015; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson (45) at training camp at River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Round 3: Chaz Green, OT
With the Cowboys taking a couple of talented defensive players with their first two picks of the draft it was no shock to see their third pick for the offense. Taking an offensive tackle over a running back wasn’t quite expected however.
Surgery on a hip injury after the draft has meant Green has failed to make even a single appearance in the preseason games. With the offensive line not playing at its expected level and Doug Free displaying signs that he’s no longer at the peak of his game a fit Chaz Green could be important for 2016.
Round 4: Damien Wilson, LB
Damien Wilson hasn’t quite had the baptizm of fire that was afforded to the 2014 fourth round linebacker pick in Anthony Hitchens. While Hitchens had to step up in place of Sean Lee, Wilson has been able to perform alongside Lee in parts.
In five games Wilson has been involved in 122 snaps – over fifty less than Hitchens in the same number of games in his rookie year (178 snaps in 5 games).
It was while deputising for Lee that Wilson’s inexperience was on show though. The Cowboys lost Lee to concussion in the game against the Saints and Andrew Gachkar subsequently went off injured late on leaving Wilson on the field in overtime.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been around the block enough to pick on rookie linebackers given the opportunity, and with players confused over assignments Wilson was caught standing off of his intended man C.J. Spiller; whom Brees found effortlessly of course for the victory sealing score.
Things weren’t made any easier on Wilson the following week to the Falcons when he was asked to rush the passer – he last put his hand on the ground as a rush defensive end during his freshman season.
While there’s been moments to forget in these early stages of his career, Wilson hasn’t allowed his head to drop and must continue to work hard on this steep learning curve. The staff including linebackers coach Matt Eberflus remain impressed with the rookies developmental momentum.
"“Damien has been working his tail off in the fundamentals and basics of football. I think he’s improved tremendously up to this point and he’s only going to get better with his work ethic. If you’ve got a player who’s willing to work extremely hard and be a good listener and be a good practice player, then the inevitable is going to happen. He’s going to improve.’’ – Matt Eberflaus, linebacker coach"
Next: Ryan Russell & Mark Nzeocha