The Dallas Cowboys’ selection of Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens in the mid-fourth round of this weekend’s draft was viewed as a major stretch by many. Going into the weekend, Hitchens was projected as a seventh rounder or a priority undrafted free agent.
So what did the Cowboys see in the undersized backer?
“We saw a guy who could run with size, and we saw one of the few inside linebackers that we thought could come in here and help us if we lost Sean Lee,” said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has final say on all picks, per ESPN Dallas. “So we saw a guy who could definitely improve us from where we were last year when we lost Sean Lee. Probably, for me, the most important thing is how much of a hitter he is. He blows them up. So we sat there with him and used a fourth-rounder.”
Jones made clear that he respectfully disagrees with the experts who had Hitchens as a seventh rounder or an undrafted free agent.
“With all due respect to the other evaluators, I would say that there is a lot of difference in a lot of players when you start getting in that fourth round between this player or that player and whether we would have taken him. We literally had him--as we’d been sitting there all day long--we had him there, too. We didn’t have him there in the third, we had him there in the fourth. We sat there all day long with him as one of the guys that we would use our fourth pick with at that time. I’d say that’s the difference in the eye of the beholder.”
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