As a third round pick in 2013, J.J Wilcox has never lived up to expectations in the Dallas Cowboys’ secondary. Coming from a small school like Georgia Southern where his first position was running back rather than safety, it’s been clear with his time in the NFL that the position does not come naturally to him.
Wilcox repeatedly takes bad angles to ball carriers or fails to make a play on a ball in the air. With Byron Jones slotted at FS for most of this season, Wilcox became a man without a true position. As a result, his snap counts look like this:
I could easily see the Cowboys moving on from Wilcox after 2016, making the starting safeties for the foreseeable future Byron Jones and Barry Church. Of course, addressing this position again in the 2016 Draft is an option as well.
First, let’s take a closer look at Wilcox to see what he will have to do to earn more time in Dallas.
To say that Wilcox could find a home on the Dallas defense as a line-of-scrimmage and in the box safety would largely be inaccurate. The numbers show that, even when given the rare chance to make a play in the box, he misses more tackles than he should.
This leaves him to fight for a spot as the deep free safety, which puts him in competition with one of the Cowboys most promising young players – Byron Jones. While Jones is clearly the better option of the two, Wilcox is still good enough in coverage to be a viable backup option.
Wheter or not the Cowboys can settle on a contract price for what they feel is a backup deal will be the question facing Wilcox and Co. next offseason. On the field, he can help himself by improving in tackling and awareness – as well as on special teams – to make his prescence felt as much as possible.