The Cowboys signed linebacker Martez Wilson to a two-year deal Tuesday and will try him at defensive end, believing he can be a pass rusher.
Wilson was a third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2011 out of Illinois. He played in 13 games as a rookie, collecting one sack, and played in 16 games last year, getting three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, plus a blocked field goal.
But an elbow injury in training camp hampered his development, and he didn’t get a lot of snaps in the Saints’ new defensive scheme and was released him Oct. 22 after playing in four games, getting one sack. He was claimed by Oakland and played three games before being released last week.
It’s the continuation of a recent trend by the Cowboys to take chances on former high draft picks, hoping they will stick
Defensive end Everett Brown was a second-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2009. Defensive tackle Corey Irvin was a third-round selection by the Panthers in 2009. Defensive tackle Drake Nevis was a third-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 2011. The Cowboys took a chance on defensive tackle Marvin Austin, a former second round pick, but he didn’t work out and was released.
"They are obviously guys we liked coming out," executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "Sometimes it was scheme. We were running the 3-4 and they weren't fits. They were 29s or 39s, second or third rounders that don't fit in our system and now that we do run the 4-3 we are getting to re-look at them. There is a reason why those guys get drafted high or we had them high. You never know when that light is going to come on. Sometimes it takes a stop or two before they start to learn how to become a pro and understand what it take ... We continue to try to look to guys who can help us. I applaud Rod [Marinelli] and Monte [Kiffin] for being willing to bring guys in and train them on short notice. We will certainly give this one a good effort to. We are trying to find some places we can get some good pass rush."
To make room, the Cowboys released defensive tackle Everett Dawkins, who played in one game.
The Cowboys also lost practice squad quarterback Alex Tanney, who was signed to the active roster by the Cleveland Browns.
The Cowboys released linebacker Taylor Reed from their practice squad today. Reed signed with the team on November 18, 2013.
Clarence Hill Jr.