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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #6 Donovan Wilson

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. And we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

Houston Texans v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 6.

S Donovan Wilson
Born: 21st February 1995 (28) - Shreveport, Louisiana
College: Texas A&M Aggies
Draft: 2019, Round 6, Pick 213, Dallas Cowboys

2022 Stats:
Snaps: 1,102 (84%)
Tackles: 101
Tackles for Loss: 7
Defensive Stops: 40
Pass Breakup: 2
Interceptions: 1
QB Rate Allowed: 93.8
Pressures: 14
Sacks: 5
Forced Fumbles: 2
Penalties: 5

Donovan Wilson accepted a scholarship at Texas A&M in 2014 and played as a backup safety in his freshman year. He played in six games making ten tackles and two tackles for loss. In 2015, he played in all 13 games for the Aggies. He made 63 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, led the team in interceptions with five, scoring one for a touchdown. He also had three pass breakups and three forced fumbles with two fumble recoveries.

His junior year saw a decline in production. He played in 12 games for the Aggies and registered 59 tackles with five tackles for loss. He made one interception and two pass breakups. His senior year was ended when during the season opener against UCLA he suffered an ankle injury that would put him out for the season. In 2018, Wilson came back and was the team’s starting safety. He had a career year in tackles with 67, which was second most on the team. He also led the Aggies in interceptions with two. He had 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups and one forced fumble.

Cowboys Review:
It was a slow start for Wilson in his rookie year, although during the preseason there were inklings of his talent. He finished the year playing mostly on special teams where he had three tackles. As a defender he came in on a few plays and finished the year with two defensive tackles.

The next season the team was forced to play Wilson more regularly when Darian Thompson showed signs of struggling at safety. He looked strong and physical and fans soon started to notice his skills. Versus the Philadelphia Eagles, he would strip-sack Carson Wentz and recover the ball, then three weeks later he would force two turnovers against the Minnesota Vikings. He finished the season with 71 tackles, two interceptions, three passes defended, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The next season with eager anticipation from the fans, Wilson had to cut his season short and he was forced to go on injured reserve. He managed to start three games but only made 29 tackles and one pass breakup.

In 2022, Wilson solidified the safety corps and helped raise the position to a level Cowboys fans have been begging for since Darren Woodson left. Wilson had the best season of his career last year and started every game for Dallas. He led the team with 101 total tackles while adding four tackles for loss, five sacks, one interception, two pass breakups and forced two fumbles. His 40 defensive stops led the safety position last year in the league. The Cowboys awarded Wilson with a three-year, $21 million contract extension before the NFL Draft this year.

2023 Roster Projections:
Getting injured at the start of training camp will put a dampener on the hype for Wilson for now. But rest assured, when the news breaks he’s back in practice people will be asking about how soon he will return. His ability to lay the big tackles playing from the fringe of the box, or to get back and be a solid defender in coverage, makes him a huge asset. He is one of the team’s top run defenders, his instincts and athleticism to get to the ball-carrier are elite.

Wilson’s set to be ready from the injury for Week 1, but whether the coaches insert him straight away or let him practice to be more “football ready” is unknown. Either way, Wilson is one instigator of the meteoric rise the safety position has taken in Dallas the last couple of years, so there’s no doubt he’s out there when he’s medically cleared.

2023 Projected Stats:
Snaps: 980
Tackles: 108
Tackles for Loss: 8
Defensive Stops: 36
Pass Breakup: 3
Interceptions: 1
Sacks: 5

The Big Question:
How many tackles do you think Donovan Wilson will get this year? Comment below with your answer.

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