The Dallas Cowboys surprised a fair amount of people when, in the fourth round of the draft, they passed on Boise State running back Jay Ajayi--a local product who had visited Valley Ranch before the draft, and would go on to be picked in the fifth round by the Dolphins--and selected Minnesota linebacker Damien Wilson.
Apparently, the team was and remains very high on the Golden Gopher, who also visited Valley Ranch but whose appearance there was far less publicized than Ajayi’s.
“When we were going through the draft, [Wilson] came up with our coaching staff and came up as somebody we kind of liked and would fit into our system,” said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, per the Dallas Morning News. “The more we did research on him, the more we liked him. We actually had him into Dallas to have a more in depth visit with him. Everything came out in a good way.
“We really feel like this guy can be Anthony Hitchens, if not even a little better. He’s actually a little bigger and a little faster, although, he didn’t run a great 40. We had some good information that we felt like he plays faster than his timed 40. This is a guy that we think could step right in and be able to contribute on our defense.”
Right now, the plan is for Wilson to occupy the weakside spot behind Sean Lee on the depth chart. If Jones’ assessment is correct and he is as good or better than Anthony Hitchens, fans will get to know Wilson in short order; Hitchens appeared in all 16 games last year, starting 11, and recorded 75 tackles and an interception.