The Dallas Cowboys need to upgrade their defensive backs. Cornerbacks Patrick Surtain and Caleb Farley will be called on day one if they are on the board. Then the team should look to grab a safety later in the draft. On day two, safety Tyree Gillespie will be a name to watch.
Right now, Donovan Wilson is the number one safety, with Xavier Woods awaiting a new contract. I expect owner Jerry Jones to re-sign him, but there is a chance Woods walks away for the team to save some money.
Woods’ roster spot does not change how the Cowboys should look at drafting a safety. Gillespie would add a physical presence to compliment him and would fill in the hole if he leaves.
Dan Quinn is the new defensive coordinator for Dallas, and he will use cover three defenses often. That will suit Gillespie’s style of play perfectly. He is a safety that will dissect an offense and position himself to make a play.
He lacks a top speed and can be inconsistent when breaking down for a tackle. At the NFL level, he needs to wrap up the runner more. The Missouri product misses tackles trying to blow up ball carriers.
Luckily for him, playing as the box safety will allow him to play at his best. His short quickness will be enough in the tight spaces and will allow him to attack running backs.
Lining up against tight ends should be alright with him. Not many tight ends are fast enough to exploit Gillespie’s speed. The odd chance he would need to line up against a Darren Waller, the team will call upon Donovan Wilson.
Gillespie made 45+ tackles in the past three seasons with the Tigers. What may concern some is that he does not have one interception to his name. He makes up for that with 11 passes defended in his last two seasons and bone-crunching hits.
There is not a clear idea of where the safety might get drafted. Mock drafts project him to be drafted anywhere from the second to the fourth round. We will have to wait for the NFL Combine to get a better picture.