Michael Conroy/Associated Press
When Lee went down with his knee injury, Hitchens' chances of providing meaningful contributions multiplied exponentially. Actually, he worked with the first team in OTAs, according to Blogging the Boys, albeit with veteran Justin Durant nursing an injury.
Chances are Hitchens won't begin the season as a starter, but he could still play a significant role. Lee has already been helping the youngster, according to The Dallas Morning News:
Lee was back at Valley Ranch on Wednesday going over defensive plays with rookie fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens, one of the candidates to fill-in for Lee. Just after the second organized team activity practice ended, Lee talked to Hitchens.
'He just helped me out a little bit on a couple of Cover Twos that we ran in practice,' said Hitchens, who took all of the first-team reps at middle linebacker Wednesday. 'It means a lot to me, being a young guy, that he's helping me out already. Whenever I have questions, I run right to him.'
Based on what Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com had said, Hitchens might be best as a run defender who initially comes off of the field on passing downs:
Another option if you want to keep Holloman on the outside is to use rookie Anthony Hitchens. I was told in Wednesday's OTA practice that he took several reps with the first defense to test where he was at mentally and was no worse for wear. There were good fits in the run game, playing with his hands and putting himself in position to make the tackle.
What you get from Hitchens is the physical side of the game more than the athlete. Where he is going to have to make the most improvement in his game will be in the coverage aspect of the position. In this scheme, if you struggle to know where you fit in your zone drops, there are going to be issues.