It is almost a case of deja vu all over again. With their fourth pick of the 2015 draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected linebacker Damien Wilson out of Minnesota. In him, they got a player many fans had paid absolutely no attention to. He is from the Big 10 conference, where he had impressive numbers and was a standout for his team. In other words, he sounds eerily like Dallas' fourth-round pick of the 2014 draft, Anthony Hitchens.
This checks off one more of the pre-draft needs for Dallas. The team has to be thinking not only of how well Hitchens worked out for them, but also how many problems they have had with injuries in the linebacking corps. Sean Lee is a great linebacker, but we don't know if he will be able to stay on the field. Rolando McClain had his own injury issues last year.
Twitter was quick to fill in some of the details on Wilson after the pick was announced.
Minnesota LB Damien Wilson said he took a last-minute pre-draft visit with the Dallas Cowboys.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) May 2, 2015
Damien Wilson ranked in the top 10 among all LB's at the combine at the broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle.— Jordan Ross (@TheJordanRoss) May 2, 2015
#Cowboys pick LB Damien Wilson out of Minnesota. Had 119 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 3 PBU's and 1 forced fumble in 2014.— Jordan Ross (@TheJordanRoss) May 2, 2015
Damien Wilson (David Cobb's cousin) was one of the Big Ten's best defenders in 2014. Physical temperament ideal for the NFL #Cowboys— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) May 2, 2015
Big fan of Damien Wilson. Could play Mike or Will in Cowboys scheme. Just flies all over the field.— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) May 2, 2015
There was also a lot of negative fan reaction over this pick - much like happened after last year's fourth-round selection.
Looking at the numbers on him, both from his production and the combine, you might start to wonder why you haven't heard more about him. Then when you see he was a stealth visitor to Valley Ranch, you almost get the impression the team was trying to keep their interest in him under wraps.
And if you were paying attention a little over a month ago, our own One Cool Customer had already found out about Wilson. In his article on finding impact linebackers for the Cowboys, Wilson's SPARQ scores and production point to him being better than Shaq Thompson in both categories, and probably equal to or maybe a bit better than Benardrick McKinney overall. They were both players that many fans here were interested in Dallas taking much earlier. This looks more and more like the Cowboys doing their homework and using some analytics to find a player that many in the league overlooked.
Sort of like they did with that fourth-round pick in 2014.