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Mailbag: Donovan Wilson's Potential At Safety?


Donovan Wilson appears to be a game changer with his physicality. Can you speak to how he impacts the game and how his example of toughness sets a tone for the back-half of the season? — J.M. SMITH / SAINT CHARLES, MD

Nick: Just watch the Vikings game. That's really all you need to know about his impact and how he sets the tone. He hit Kirk Cousins on the first drive of the game and the Cowboys were hitting those guys the entire day. Even in Philly, he blitzed Wentz and rocked him for a fumble. The defense had other big hits later in the game. I think Wilson is a difference-maker in terms of his tackling and hitting. I'm sure he can be better in coverage but overall, I think the Cowboys have found something with him. He seems like a viable starter for years to come.

Rob: I agree that Donovan Wilson's physical style has set the tone on defense lately as much as any other player. DeMarcus Lawrence and Aldon Smith, too. I don't know if Wilson's play to this point necessarily assures him of a starting job next year. The Cowboys say they're always looking to improve the roster, and there might be opportunities to get better in free agency and the draft next year. But he has certainly earned playing time. Can't say I'm surprised by his performance because he was around the ball a lot at Texas A&M, too.

Can you rank the notable players who have worn No. 88 in Cowboy history by sheer speed? — DOUG HUMPHRIES / ORANGE, TX

Nick: Thank you for adding the word "notable" in there. I can't say I know how fast Sonny Randle (1968) or Ron Sellers (1972) was. But to your question, I think you'd have to say CeeDee is the most explosive of the group. We really haven't seen a lot of big plays down the field, but he seems like he should be No. 1 on the list. I would say Lamb – Dez – Irvin – Pearson. That's just my perception. Who knows. It's probably not a coincidence that those guys are in the order of youngest to oldest. I can't tell you how fast Pearson was compared to the others. I say Dez No. 2 because of the play I remember vs. Jacksonville in London. He was shot out of a cannon it looked like. But that's a very good question and not an easy one.

Rob: Nick is our resident Cowboys historian here, so I'll mostly defer to him. I've only seen highlights of Drew Pearson and only watched Michael Irvin on TV. I would probably give CeeDee a slight edge, but he and Dez basically had the same 40 times before the draft (about 4.5). The thing that made Dez so great during his time in Dallas was how physical he was, plus his ability to go get jump balls. But CeeDee also plays above his weight class, so to speak.

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