Georgia Southern safety JJ Wilcox actually played receiver during his first three years in college, making the transition to strong safety in 2012. He finished with 88 tackles and two interceptions.
Wilcox has excellent size at 6-0, 213 pounds. He turned in a solid 40 time at 4.51 and a remarkable 4.09 short shuttle, showing why he was used at receiver for three seasons. As you’d expect, Wilcox is an outstanding athlete; he moves fluidly and shows excellent lateral quickness. Despite little experience at safety, Wilcox is a good tackler. He doesn’t wait for ball-carriers to reach him, but instead attacks the line and breaks down well in space.
Wilcox didn’t play much from a single-high position at Georgia Southern, but he got time there at the Senior Bowl. He performed surprisingly well, and his measurables suggest he should be able to play deep. He showed good ball skills at the Senior Bowl—and during his time on offense in college—so he has the ability to make big plays in the secondary.
The obvious knock on Wilcox at this point is that he’s a project. He could take a year or two until he becomes fully acclimated to the safety position, but there’s obvious upside.
NFL Comparison: Eric Weddle
The Weddle comparison is high praise for Wilcox, but I think he has that sort of ability. He’s raw, but there isn’t an obvious weakness in his game. He could potentially play either safety position.
Wilcox is currently slated for the middle rounds—anywhere from the third to the fifth—although I think he could surprise some people. NFL teams should be emphasizing upside after the first couple rounds, and Wilcox will offer a higher ceiling than just about any safety after the second round.
Fit In Dallas
I love the way Wilcox could fit in Dallas because he’s versatile. He can play underneath or deep. With Barry Church playing strong safety, I think Wilcox has what it takes to make the transition to playing the deep middle.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.