Cowboys ‘Ballhawk’ Signing Issues 4-Word Post-Draft Statement

Cowboys signee Julius Wood (left)

Getty Cowboys signee Julius Wood (left)

When the weekend’s draft came to a close on Saturday, the Cowboys and teams around the NFL remained in high gear. That’s because one of the underrated portions of the selection process is what happens when the process itself is over—the teams go scrambling to get camp commitments from all the undrafted free agents who did not get their names called in the seven-round pick-a-thon.

The Cowboys entered the free-agent phase with a pretty clear intention—they were going to get some defensive back help, specifically at safety. Of the 11 players tallied as undrafted signees on Saturday at, three were safeties.

One of those safeties who might have the best chance at sticking is former 3-star recruit Julius Wood from East Carolina. Wood Led the Pirates in tackles each of the past two seasons, with 87 in 2022 and 86 last year, and totaled 5.5 tackles for a loss. He also logged two interceptions in each of his last two seasons.

Even though he was not drafted, Wood was pretty clearly pleased by the end result on Saturday. In a response to an ECU post announcing his signing with the Cowboys, Wood posted on Twitter/X, “HOW BOUT’ THEM BOYS?”

Safety Help Is Welcome in Dallas

The Cowboys would welcome safety help, a spot at which the team is badly in need of depth. Malik Hooker is a top-rate starter at free safety, who recorded a season grade of 77.2 last year, which was 14th out of 95 safeties in the NFL. But strong safety Donovan Wilson rated a 66.2, just 53rd out of 95, and depth is a concern.

He Cowboys did draft a cornerback, using fifth-rounder from Caelan Carson of Wake Forest.

In addition to Wood, the Cowboys signed safeties Emany Johnson out of Nevada and Josh DeBerry from Texas A&M. All three are longshots to actually make the 53-man roster in September, but they will have training camp to prove themselves and could at least spots on the practice squad—and, eventually perhaps, spots on the active team.

The team’s website was enthusiastic about Wood’s prospects going forward.

“A physical, hard-hitting ballhawk, Julius Wood’s aggression puts him out of position at times, but when he is in position, he makes some big hits. A productive tackler out of the third level, Wood reads and reacts well and uses his slender frame to account for more physical receiving weapons,” reporter Nick Harris wrote.

Cowboys Draft Dominated by Linemen

As for the Cowboys in general, it was clear what the priorities were in this draft. The team was criticized for not taking a running back despite several hints that they would do so after letting star back Tony Pollard walk in free agency in March. But Dallas figures to fill that hole with a low-cost free-agent signing.

Instead, the priority was beefing up the middle of the field on both sides of the ball. The Cowboys used two of their first three picks on offensive linemen, including first-rounder Tyler Guyton, and picked five linemen overall with their eight draft picks.

That is not a surprise, given that the Cowboys lost two starters—center Tyler Biadasz and left tackle Tyron Smith—in free agency. But it helped that this was a very good draft to be on the hunt for linemen.

“We weren’t even trying to be coy about our interest in offensive linemen,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said, per ESPN. “This is the year to be interested in them because of the depth in the draft, and we took advantage of that in every respect with a great trade.”






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