Anthony Hitchens was a later-round draft pick that was pretty unheralded coming into his rookie season last year, and the ex-Iowa Hawkeye quickly became a key piece to the Cowboys' defensive resurgence from an awful, awful defense into a middle-of-the-road unit.
Hitchens ended up playing in all 16 games and racked up 75 tackles to go with an interception. In the Cowboys' two postseason games, he added nine more tackles.
With Justin Durant now gone to the Atlanta Falcons, and Bruce Carter likely following him out the door, it would seem safe to assume Hitchens is in line to start somewhere on the field, along with Sean Lee and possibly Rolando McClain, if he's retained as a free agent.
The thought coming into 2015 was that the Cowboys would absolutely love Hitchens as a fourth linebacker, but maybe not so much as a starter with the hopes of having Lee, McClain and one of two between Carter and Durant back.
Now, it's looking like Hitchens will get his chance to prove his worth.