The Dallas Cowboys addressed the safety position in the 2014 NFL draft, just not when most expected them to. Using one of their five seventh-round selections, the 'Boys took Baylor product Ahmad Dixon.
In recent years, Dallas has been noticeably on the lookout to improve the safety position. The team drafted J.J. Wilcox in the third round last year and Matt Johnson in the fourth back in 2012. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, neither have blossomed into the next Darren Woodson just yet.
Johnson has never played in a regular-season game due to two seasons with season-ending injuries. In fact, he's only played in two preseason games over that span. Wilcox showed potential at times last year but ultimately lost his starting job to undrafted free agent Jeff Heath.
Dixon might not be the answer as far as becoming Dallas' next All-Pro safety, but he does provide those aforementioned players with some nice competition. The starting gig opposite Barry Church is arguably the most wide open position on the roster.
While in college, Dixon quickly became known as a punishing tackler, which Dallas could use in its secondary. He also channels that aggression into his coverage, showing a clear understanding for how and when to be physical.
At 6'0", 212 pounds, the former Bear has the size to succeed when he chooses to throw his weight around in coverage or when tackling.
Dixon is a bit cocky from an attitude standpoint, but given how he plays on the field, it's a small drawback. One could argue that the Cowboys could use a jolt of swagger on the defensive side, so it's possible his attitude will become a positive thing.
Even with his size, aggression and 4.56 40-yard dash speed, though, Dixon will likely be riding the bench in 2014. The Dallas coaching staff needs to give Wilcox another chance at developing and to do so in a starting role.
Even if he falters in camp, Johnson is probably more likely to land the starting gig than Dixon. Still, the rookie will provide some needed depth, considering Johnson's injury history and the lack of veteran talent at the position.
While he waits to get his chance to lay big hits on running backs and wide receivers, Dixon will be a nice special teams addition. Dallas must be excited about adding a guy who can punish ball-carriers like Dixon can to punt and kick-return coverage.
Dixon will be a nice addition to one of the Cowboys' biggest training camp battles and especially the special teams unit.