IRVING, Texas –
The Cowboys made Hitchens their fourth-round selection on May 10 with the expressed intent of turning him into a backup for
Given the adjustments required of the position, Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus was impressed with Hitchens’ first bit of work last weekend.
“It’s a new position for him, new techniques for him and the first time in front of the huddle for him,” Eberflus said. “So he had to learn how to take control of the huddle, make the call, make the close calls, set the defense and all those types of things – so there’s a lot of things going on there for the young man in the first practice.”
Even in shorts and helmets, Eberflus said Hitchens’ physical ability was evident. The Ohio native made 236 combined tackles in 24 games as a starter for Iowa – an average of 9.8 stops per game. The biggest adjustment may be the mental aspect of being the defensive quarterback.
“I loved his movement skills, he used his hands really well. He was taught well there at Iowa, so he did a lot of good things physically,” Eberflus said. “Some of the mental aspect of it he wasn’t used to doing, but he’ll get that.”
For all the talk of Hitchens backing up Lee, though, Eberflus brought up the always-appealing prospect of Hitchens’ versatility. The rookie’s experience as a Will linebacker could make him a factor in the competition for
“He’s got great hitting ability. We saw that on college tape, and we’ll see where exactly he fits. Right now we’ve got him at Mike. He could end up being at Sam, he could end up being at Will,” he said. “We’re going to get our best three in there, then our next best three and go from there. We’ll see where he fits as time goes.”