The preseason is where younger players and veterans trying to earn roster spots really showcase what they can do. Last season, a certain young safety, Donovan Wilson, took the Cowboys fan base by storm after he was selected in the sixth round. He led all players with three interceptions and was set to challenge former Cowboys safety Jeff Heath for the starting role opposite Xavier Woods.
Rookie Donovan Wilson with the INT for the #Cowboys! Makes it a lot easier when the QB (C.J. Beathard) throws it right to you pic.twitter.com/EIcACB6TSR
Donovan Wilson makes a crazy toe drag interception 2019 NFL Preseason Week 3 Dallas Cowboys vs Houston Texans pic.twitter.com/MGExKjhrIh
Another game, another INT for #Cowboys rookie Donovan Wilson. He’s got 3 in the preseason. Obviously a pretty bad throw, but Wilson reads this really well. LOVE the playmaking he has shown. pic.twitter.com/YDEZb9rKNg
Unfortunately for Wilson, he suffered an ankle injury just before the season which slowed all of his momentum from the preseason. He would appear in 11 games but only registered two tackles. This season, Wilson was supposed to seriously challenge for a starting role, but the current COVID-19 pandemic canceled practices in the spring and later saw the elimination of preseason games for 2020.
Now, unlike last season, Wilson will only have training camp practices to earn his spot on this year’s roster. Standing in his way are Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Darian Thompson. The former is trying to rekindle his All-Pro/Pro Bowl form from his days with the Green Bay Packers under new Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy and earn another payday, while the latter just recently resigned with the team on a two-year, $2.8 million dollar deal to add more depth.
Wilson could very well get added competition from veteran cornerback Chidobe Awuzie who might see a transition to safety in an attempt to keep the ball in front of him after having issues getting his head around in 2019.
Cowboys teammates Donovan Wilson and Tony Pollard were working out together on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/mflYTKPYcv
Dallas Cowboys safety Donovan Wilson appears to be staying in shape. pic.twitter.com/bjobLxsNwC
Wilson also has excellent versatility. During his collegiate days at Texas A&M, he played nickel cornerback in addition to safety. In his last three seasons with the Aggies, he recorded eight interceptions, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. This makes him a perfect candidate to compete for snaps under new Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan who’s hybrid scheme will be geared toward takeaways, something the Cowboys defense lacked in 2019.
Now it’s just a matter of if Wilson can make his training camp reps count enough to get significant playing time this season.