After recording his third interception in four preseason games, this 2019 sixth-rounder is being hailed as a potential starter by 2021 for the Dallas Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys have recently had a run of finding quality starters on Day Three of the NFL draft. In 2017, the Cowboys drafted safety Xavier Woods in the sixth round. The year before that, Dallas famously landed quarterback Dak Prescott late in the fourth round. And now it appears their successful streak will continue if one team insider is right about the future of rookie safety Donovan Wilson.
Selected 213th overall in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M, Wilson was considered to be a hard-hitting box safety that NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein described as someone who will not turn down a chance to lay the wood. And there were concerns about the young defender’s fluidity, footwork, speed, and ball skills.
Based on the fact the Cowboys found him lingering in the sixth round, Wilson’s selection was only newsworthy due to the fact he was the lone player selected in the draft at a position of perceived dire need, safety. Then the preseason started.
Wilson flashed his potential with an interception in his preseason debut against the San Francisco 49ers. The 24-year old likely secured himself a spot on the final-53 man roster with his second pick in the Cowboys’ third preseason game against the Houston Texans. Finally, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night, Wilson grabbed his third interception in four games. And now one Cowboys’ insider is declaring the sixth-rounder a potential starter by 2021.
Here’s what longtime DallasCowboys.com staff writer Nick Eatman had to say about Wilson’s future following the Cowboys’ preseason finale versus the Bucs.
"“Now, what’s the upside for this guy? Is he a potential starter? I think at some point Wilson will get there because he’s a combo of a big-hitter with range and playmaking ability. Isn’t that the prototype for safeties? … Wilson looks like a guy who can be on the same path as Xavier Woods. He plays some as a rookie and by Year 2 or 3, he’s a potential starter. Now that’s a nice draft pick.”"
Wilson will end his four-game preseason run with the impressive stat-line of 11 total tackles, three pass defends and three interceptions. He’ll likely enter the regular season as the primary backup to starting safeties, Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods.
The safety position in Dallas has been a hotly debated topic over the past two years. After the Cowboys failed to complete a trade for former Seattle Seahawk All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas early last year, there have been major concerns about the talent-level at the position. But improved play by 2017 sixth-rounder Xavier Woods and the surprising emergence of rookie Donovan Wilson could go a long way in settling that debate.