Well, the Cowboys certainly are letting folks know that they aren't worried about the bigger names that slid down the draft board. Just like with their third-round pick Tyrone Crawford, Dallas selects a player that draft pundits are far more familiar with than the casual fans.
Kyle Wilber, LB from Wake Forest has joined the Dallas Cowboys rotation at outside linebacker and will probably see some time as a down lineman when they go with a four-man front. Wake Forest switched to a 3-4 defense recently, so Wilber already has experience rushing the passer and setting the edge from a stand-up position; which is quite different than most players Dallas places at the OLB position. The team has already informed him he will start off backing up Anthony Spencer.
Standing at 6'4 and weighing in at 249 lbs, Wilber fits the prototype for Dallas' outside rushers. In fact, he returns Dallas to a bit of normalcy as he was a Valley Ranch pre-draft visitor, per Todd Archer. He's known as a smart, instinctive player who is always around the ball. In fact, that's exactly how NFL Draft Scout started their evaluation:
Strengths: Smart, instinctive player always around the ball. Has smooth hips to turn and run in coverage. Good at using long arms to disengage from blockers and make plays. Is quick off the snap and an effective blitzer. Covers a lot of area in zone and uses long frame to defend passes. Good athlete for frame.
Now, while they went on to evaluate that he wouldn't be a good fit as a 3-4 OLB, it doesn't match up with most of the other evaluations, or even their ranking him as 120th overall prospect and 12th best OLB in the draft. Maybe their evaluation was outdated.
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Wilber was also a participant in the East-West Shrine Game as was third-rounder Tyrone Crawford. Here's what Mike Mayock said at the time, courtesy of WalterFootball.com:
Kyle Wilber had a really nice performance as a pass-rusher, as he caused some havoc in the pocket.
"I don't think Wilber is big enough or sound enough to be a starter yet, but he's going to get some third-down work in the league next year," Mayock said. "Could he be a third- or a fourth-round pick? Absolutely."
And that's exactly what he was and exactly how Dallas plans to use him initially.
Wilber was ranked as National Football Post's 15th ranked outside backer, 130th overall. Draftcountdown.com had him as the ninth-best OLB prospect and had the following to say.
• Versatile, has played DE and OLB in 4-3 & 3-4
• Long, can weed through traffic to make plays
• Good first step, can rush the passer
• Gets sideline to sideline very quickly
• Explosive in space, great in pursuit
• Struggles to anchor
• Plays very upright, tight with COD
• Stiff hipped in coverage and disengaging
• Lacks strength to bull rush
• Coverage ability merely mediocre
Kyle Wilber vs. NC State
Kyle Wilber vs Baylor