Few safeties have come up and exploded into the box with the type of ferocity that Donovan Wilson has in recent memory. The guy must’ve been a WWE fan growing up because he’s made a deep enough montage of clotheslines, spears and pile-driving tackles to make Vince McMahon beam from ear-to-ear.
The frequency of soul-crunching hits we see in the league has significantly dwindled in the past few years, and as more concerns surrounding high-speed collisions and head safety have surfaced, players seem more cautious to unleash the full breadth of their power in lieu of penalty.
But not Wilson.
He’s an eager hit-stick machine, and has developed a blood-hound like nose for the football that’s undoubtedly caused offensive foes to seek his whereabouts when trekking across the middle of the field. And he does it while staying true to the NFL’s specified protocols — leading with his shoulder pads, avoiding blows on “defenseless” targets, and still managing to deliver fully-charged strikes that leave no room for questioning as to who they came from.
Case and point:
Now, this hit in particular was notable because of whom it came against, but don’t get it twisted, Wilson unleashes knockout haymakers by the plenty. This season, he’ll get to do just that more than ever before. Dallas released a tentative depth chart following the draft to include its newly-selected greenhorns, and Wilson’s name was trooper numero uno at the strong safety position.
He leads a group that includes Jayron Kearse and Steven Parker, and if his regency holds, Wilson will enter 2021 as an opening day starter for the first time in his short career. It would be well-deserved title after the production he put out last season after earning a starting spot midway into the season following his capitalizations on the few instances of playing time he was given.
Aside from wipe-out-esque jawbreakers and slew of forced fumbles, Wilson made creditable headway in the passing game as well, recording two interceptions to go with three pass deflections. A versatile playmaker, he also posted 3.5 sacks as part of his 71 total tackles.
We can expect all of these numbers to increase next season. Wilson’s everywhere on the field, and makes his presence felt at every level. Plus, the addition of several backline stalwarts in the draft and free agency should only propel his progress.
He’s right where he should be at the top of the chart, and if Dallas is going to climb its way to the NFC East’s mountaintop, Wilson’s contributions to that hike will have to be mountainous themselves.