2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Cowboys rookie S Wilcox trying to leave impression

    2013-07-26 18:24

(Eds: Updates with quotes, details. With AP Photos.)
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Sports Writer

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) - J.J. Wilcox didn't hesitate when the Dallas Cowboys rookie was asked if he knew who Bill Bates was.

``Special teams hero,'' said Wilcox. ``And one of the hardest hitters back in the '90s when the Cowboys were rolling.''

Wilcox just forgot to mention why Bates' name was relevant - because the longtime Dallas safety was one of the most notorious practice players around thanks to his overzealous tackling.

Dallas coach Jason Garrett has diagnosed the rookie from Georgia Southern with ``Bill Bates syndrome,'' remembering how his former teammate would apologize for putting players on the ground in non-tackling situations and then ``pick them up and do it the next play.''

It's a tricky balance for coaches, particularly with a small school player who has just a year of college experience at safety and is trying to leave an impression.

``Wilcox tackles way too much in practice,'' Garrett says. ``And you kind of coach both sides of it: `Hey, keep doing that, but don't do that.' You know what I'm saying?''

Wilcox says he isn't overcompensating because he comes from the Football Championship Subdivision, a level below the top tier of college football. He's not anxious and eager over the fact that he started twice as many games on offense (26) as he did at safety (13) with Georgia Southern.

He's just playing - and practicing - the way he was taught by coaches and his father, James Wilcox Sr., who starred at the same high school in Cairo, Ga., three decades earlier.

``I don't understand half-percent, 90 percent,'' said Wilcox, a third-round pick by the Cowboys. ``All I know is 100 percent. That's the way I was taught. That's the way I play the game.''

But he doesn't want the ``dumb player'' label, either. Garrett jumped on him for too much tackling the first practice of camp.

``After that, that's all it took,'' Wilcox said.

It will take injuries at safety for Wilcox to become a starter, but he's getting solid work as a backup in training camp. And there's little question he'll have a chance to be a special teams ace along the lines of Bates, who played 15 seasons and led the team in special teams tackles three of the first six years the stat was kept.

``He's working his butt off,'' secondary coach Jerome Henderson said. ``You like the way he runs to the ball. You like the physicalness that you feel. But we've still got a long way to go.''

Wilcox impressed the Cowboys enough, starting at the Senior Bowl, to be the first defensive player they drafted - the fourth overall for Dallas with the 80th pick.

``The coaching staff just saw something in me that they liked,'' he said. ``That's all it takes is one team. I just want to come out here and prove them right that they got the right pick.''

He was the first of two small-school defensive backs taken by Dallas. Cornerback B.W. Webb of William & Mary went in the fourth round.

``We both come out here trying to improve each other every day,'' Wilcox said. ``We're roommates. We've been around each other all the time. It's great having him in the same predicament I am trying to prove myself.''

Wilcox doesn't mind drawing Garrett's ire for the extracurricular tackling. At least he's getting attention.

``I'd rather him to tell me to slow down than to speed up,'' Wilcox said.

And at least he's getting compared to a player who stuck around for 15 years.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group