For years the Dallas Cowboys defense has lacked a playmaking strong safety who demands attention from opposing offenses. The last true safety Dallas had who made an impact was Roy Williams, who played seven years with the team and was a five-time Pro Bowler.
Starting strong safety Donovan Wilson, who was a sixth-round pick in 2019 by the Cowboys, is now entering his third season and looking to build on his successful 2020 campaign. Even though he only started in 10 games, he contributed significantly as he finished with 71 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions.
When former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was still at the helm in 2019, Wilson did not see the field considering the outstanding preseason performances he displayed. If he were allowed to play in more games that season, he would have had the ability to showcase his skills much sooner.
Fans became frustrated when Garrett’s staff kept Wilson in the dog house as former Cowboys safeties Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods struggled to make plays in the secondary. It wasn’t until mid-season in 2020 when Wilson finally got his shot to play at his best.
Last season, Wilson became one of the few bright spots on a 6-10 team that frequently struggled to stop big plays. Wilson may have very well been in discussions for a Pro Bowl selection had he been given the starting job in week 1. If healthy, he will get his opportunity to contribute early on in week 1 when they kick off the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Early in training camp, Wilson has been playing his assignments and making plays that come his way. Nothing has been flashy, but the best thing you can do as a player is to do your job which he’s done so far in these practices.
Jon Machota on Twitter: “Donovan Wilson with the pass breakup in two-minute work pic.twitter.com/q1Rz5HxiuO / Twitter”
Donovan Wilson with the pass breakup in two-minute work pic.twitter.com/q1Rz5HxiuO
Donovan Wilson with the tackle pic.twitter.com/PnbuTXUHCP
There may be a few critics who are not sold on Wilson’s ability to take the next step to shore up the back end of the secondary since he’s never been a full-time starter. With the free-agent additions of free safeties Damontae Kazee and Malik Hooker, these two veterans will allow Wilson to play closer to the line of scrimmage where he was a force.
The best thing to hope for is with the added pieces in the secondary Wilson can use his talents and make plays. Otherwise, Wilson and the defense will struggle much like they did last season.
Now that Wilson will get his first chance to become a full-time starter, we’ll be able to witness if Wilson can take his game up a notch or last season was as good as it gets.