Cowboys Draft Picks 2014: Anthony Hitchens (LB) Selected At #119 (Fourth Round)

Matthew Holst

With pick #119 (overall), 19th pick in the fourth round, the Cowboys select Anthony Hitchens.

With pick #119 (overall), 19th pick in the fourth round, the Cowboys select linebacker Anthony Hitchens. He's 6' 2" and weighs 240 lbs. He was productive at Iowa, led the team in tackles for the last two years, and is an aggressive player. He's a weakside linebacker who looks like he'll compete with Bruce Carter. Most draft experts had him much further down in the draft than the fourth round. Described as an "active, undersized, run-and-hit" linebacker. Also said to play faster than his recorded times. Could help on special teams, too.

SB Nation's Iowa blog, Black Heart Gold Pants, has a great post on Hitchens you can read here. Below are some excerpts:

Hitchens was Iowa's leading tackler over the last two seasons. He finished 2013 with 112 tackles and 2012 with 124. For a career, he recorded 270 total tackles, good enough for 20th all-time at Iowa. He earned the Roy J. Carver Defensive MVP Award in 2013.

While he led Iowa and the Big Ten in tackles his junior season ,he still improved his game this past season and was a better all-around player as a result. Over the last two seasons Iowa has transitioned from a defense led by Norm Parker to a defense under the direction of Phil Parker. Iowa also added former Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid to the staff in 2013. Reid and Parker implemented new strategies that better utilized their linebacking corps.

Hitchens was a definite beneficiary of the tweaked Iowa defense: he saw his tackle for a loss statistic take a big jump from 5.5 in 2012 to 13.5 in 2013. Iowa used their linebackers to blitz the passer far more often in 2013 and he was effective doing so. He also became a better tackler and learned to step into the hole and initiate contact.

He's a solid tackler and will contribute right away to special teams. Once he learns a team's defensive system, he could be a reliable second option at middle or weak side linebacker.

NFL COMBINE:

HEIGHT WEIGHT ARM HAND 1ST 40-YARD 2ND 40-YARD 40-YARD OFFICIAL
6'0" 240 32 3/8" 9 3/8" 4.72 4.62 4.74
10-YARD DASH BENCH VERTICAL BROAD 3-CONE SHUTTLE 60-YARD
1.57 23 31.5" 116" 7.15 4.45 N/A

Cowboys 2014 draft picks

Round 1: Pick 16 (16 overall) --- Zack Martin (OT/OG Notre Dame)
Round 2: Pick 2 (34 overall) --- Demarcus Lawrence (DE Boise State)
Round 3: Pick 14 (78 overall) --- Traded
Round 4: Pick 19 (119 overall) --- Anthony Hitchens (LB Iowa)
Round 5: Pick 18 (158 overall)
Round 7: Pick 14 (229 overall) (from Bears)
Round 7: Pick 16 (231 overall)
Round 7: Pick 23 (238 overall) (from Chiefs)
Round 7: Pick 33 (248 overall) (compensatory selection)
Round 7: Pick 36 (251 overall) (compensatory selection)
Round 7: Pick 39 (254 overall) (compensatory selection)

Cowboys team needs

Defensive Tackle: With Jason Hatcher gone and Nick Hayden just a serviceable player, the Cowboys interior is weak. Henry Melton has been signed but is coming off an ACL injury. A couple of guys on the roster could help, but Dallas needs a stud.

Defensive End: Long time pass rusher DeMarcus Ware is no longer a Cowboy. That immediately leaves a huge hole. Anthony Spencer is trying to recover from injury. The rest are unproven. Help is needed. [UPDATE] The addition of Demarcus Lawrence makes defensive end help less of a priority.

Safety: Barry Church can play, everyone else is questionable. J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, Matt Johnson? None of them are a lock.

Guard/Tackle: Mackenzy Bernadeau is a stop-gap. Ron Leary showed some promise, but needs to improve and has a chronic knee injury. Doug Free could regress at any moment. [UPDATE] With the selection of Zack Martin, the Cowboys need for offensive line help is greatly reduced.

Wide Receiver: Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams form a good duo, but behind them is slot receiver Cole Beasley. The Cowboys could use another guy.

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