Safety J.J. Wilcox, taken with the Cowboys’ second pick in the third round, played offense his first three years at Georgia Southern. He was a slot receiver and also carried the ball, finishing his career with 45 catches for 898 yards and four touchdowns and 138 carries for 968 yards and 13 touchdowns.
But it didn't slow him down when he moved to safety last year. He recorded 88 tackles, three pass breakups and two interceptions.
“It doesn’t make you limited,” he said. “You have to be a good athlete and a good team player at any position. It helps you with ball skills, feet, hips. You understand route recognition, how receivers come out. Playing offense all three years definitely helped me out playing safety in college. Hopefully it will help me out once I’m in the NFL.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he was impressed by how smoothly Wilcox adapted to safety last year after not having played the position since high school.
“If you watch him play, he leaps off the screen at you,” Garrett said. “He can run, he can hit. He plays with great explosiveness. For a guy who hadn’t done this since high school, he really seemed to pick up the position well.”
Wilcox said he likes playing safety, anyway.
“You know, back in the days when you were playing Emmitt Smith and John Lynch, playing tiger football in the back yard growing up, I laid a couple guys out,” he said, drawing laughs from reporters. “I got laid out a couple of times, too. But I was usually one of the ones that wound up on top.”
-- Carlos Mendez