(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2015 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features linebacker Kyle Wilber.)
Name: Kyle Wilber
Height/Weight: 6-4 / 245
Experience: 3 seasons
Key stat: After completing three regular seasons without a single interception, Wilber recorded one in his first playoff game, catching a deflected pass from Detroit's Matthew Stafford in midair, followed by a five-yard return early in the third quarter of Dallas' 24-20 Wild Card win.
Contract Status: Signed through 2015.
2014 Impact: It's easy to be critical of Wilber from the outside looking in, but what those fail to realize is that every team needs his type of ability on the roster. You might not notice him early in the season or even in the middle, but where you do notice him is when a position on the squad begins to lose depth and there is a need for a replacement to make a start or two to gets you through a critical period. Wilber is that type of player for this team. He was drafted to play as an outside linebacker in the old Rob Ryan 3-4 scheme but when that scheme changed under Monte Kiffin to a 4-3 - Wilber was really a man without a position much like he was while playing his college football at Wake Forest. It is not that he is a poor player, in my opinion he has never been at one spot long enough for him to develop and gain experience. It has been a curse and a blessing that he has the skill set to play in a couple of different spots. I have seen him cause problems with his hand down rushing the passer in 2013 when DeMarcus Ware went out of the game against the Redskins and I have also seen him rack up eight tackles to lead the club in a playoff victory against the Lions. You never know when Wilber is going to have one of those types of games but what you do know is that when the coaches put him in the lineup whether as a backup linebacker, rush end or special teams performer there is a good chance he is going to find a way to have some productive snaps that will help the club to a victory which he has been able to achieve during his career.
Where He Fits:With all the questions at linebacker going into the 2015 season and the possibility of guys like Bruce Carter and Justin Durant leaving due to free agency, Kyle Wilber will once again to be looked at to provide depth at both outside linebacker positions and continue his work on special teams. I believe these coaches have found a spot for him just playing as a linebacker and are willing to just leave him there. For his benefit, that is the right direction to go. Wilber might not ever be the answer as a long-term starter in this defense but what he is able to do for those one or two games he does - it would be hard to find one better.
Nick Eatman: For some reason, he always seems to be the forgotten guy at linebacker. That probably stems from the amount of big plays he makes. I think Wilber's progress has been hurt by the constant position changes he's had to make since he got here three seasons ago. From outside backer in a 3-4 defense to a defensive end in a 4-3 to an outside backer in this scheme … it's been rather hard for him to not only make the changes, but getting his body in the proper shape to play these positions. But the Cowboys' staff likes him and keeps giving him chances. It'll be interesting to see what the Cowboys do in free agency, knowing they've got Wilber in the fold for at least another year. My guess is that he will have a shot to start at strong-side linebacker because they simply won't have the cap room to sign all of their free agents such as Bruce Carter, Rolando McClain and Justin Durant.