The Dallas Cowboys selected safety Donovan Wilson in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft. Here are five things you might not know about the new Cowboys defensive back:
Wilson was born on Feb. 21, 1995 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He attended Woodlawn High School in Shreveport.
The defensive back was named the Shreveport Defensive Player of the Year and was an all-state selection his senior year of high school.
The Times-Picayune named Wilson among the “Nifty 50” for the high school class of 2014, which annually gives recognition to Louisiana’s top prep players. Wilson was rated as a three-star recruit by multiple recruiting services. After originally committing to Utah and Louisiana Tech, he flipped his commitment to Texas A&M.
He showed his power against Clemson during the 2018 season.
Some big influences
Current and former NFL players have helped shape Wilson as a player, according to Luke Thompson of The Shreveport Times. That included visits with current Green Bay Packers cornerback/safety Tramon Williams and watching film of former Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.
In fact, Williams is one of Wilson’s two favorite players of all time. The other: former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins.
“Brian Dawkins is someone I watched as a little kid, and he played for my favorite team,” he told LA Football Magazine in 2013. “Tramon Williams is a great player. I met and worked out with him over the last spring break and was impressed with his hard work ethic.”
So that would have made his favorite NFL team … the Eagles? *Cue
Honey Badger of Texas A&M
And here’s a comparison Cowboys fans might like: while in high school, Wilson’s coach, Jerwin Wilson, said current Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu reached out to the high schooler “sometimes calling him ‘the Honey Badger of Texas A&M.'”
Senior season at Texas A&M
Wilson started 11 of 12 games as a senior with the Aggies. He totaled 66 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and five pass breakups. His 66 tackles were second on the team. He did that coming off of a season-ending ankle injury in the 2017 opener against UCLA.
Capped off his college career winning awards
Wilson was the recipient of the Aggie Heart Award in 2018. The award is presented to a senior who has completed his eligibility and displays the intangibles such as effort, desire, determination, competitiveness, leadership and courage, per the Texas A&M athletic department.
The Aggies’ defensive captain and three-year star was also the winner of the Defensive Leadership Award at Texas A&M as a senior.
FRISCO — With the 213th pick in the sixth round of the NFL draft, the Cowboys selected Texas A&M safety Donovan Wilson.
Wilson had 207 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and eight interceptions in his career at Texas A&M.
After passing on a safety with their second-round pick on Friday night, the Cowboys finally added to the position of need. The late-round safety pick fits a pattern. The Cowboys haven’t poured resources into the position, a strategy that’s OK by them unless they spot a special player.
Team owner Jerry Jones on Saturday night even ventured that he’d thought they might end the draft without taking a safety at all.
“Well, we felt better than people from the outside looking in feel about our safety position,” said executive vice president Stephen Jones. “I’ve mentioned time and time again that we don’t have as much resources allocated to that position, and it is probably not by accident. We certainly look at that, and if you can find a difference maker, then you do it. I think we feel good about the group that we had coming in here, and then to be able to add a guy like [Donovan] Wilson will make that position even more competitive. It will be great to see everybody compete.
“We have some guys who we really like in there, and it will be a good situation. I’ve always said that we have as deep a roster as we’ve ever had in terms of competition from the top to the bottom. At some point – you know player acquisition is 365 days a year – if we see a situation to improve anything, then we will do it. At the same time, we like what we have at safety.”
Jerry Jones said he likes Wilson’s approach and felt reassured by defensive backs coach Kris Richard that Wilson can be coached up.
“The thing that he does that was interesting to me, is that [Coach Kris Richard] was talking about how sometimes he comes in and you think he missed, he wasn’t quite in position, but that is very coachable,” Jerry Jones said. “Richard pointed that out and made me feel a lot better about it, because he sure does have the right attitude back there at safety and can cover. If you see him criticized at all, it will be because sometimes he comes in and misses.
“But he will bite, and if they bite as a puppy, they’ll bite as a dog. He will bite.”
—Huge hitter who is a treat to watch with his power and ability to come downhill and rock ball-carriers.
—Team leader and coach’s pet with excellent on-field instincts, awareness and football IQ.
—Versatile defender with experience in nickel and single-high sets.
—On-ball production is impressive with eight career interceptions; soft, natural hands and the eyes to find and close on the ball.
—Has the short-area quickness to match up with slot receivers.
—Injured for 2017 season after suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the opener.
—Fails to impress as a mover in space; doesn’t have great closing speed and shows hip tightness when changing direction.
—Can be too aggressive as a hitter and was often penalized for targeting.
—Struggles coming out of his breaks and has heavy, choppy feet.
After losing the 2017 season to injury, Wilson fought back onto the field and made a huge statement for A&M under Jimbo Fisher. He’s a hard-hitting, physical safety who will impress scouts. But his lack of athleticism and range are enough to keep him from being a starter.