- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas – Historically the Cowboys have never shied away from small-school players.
They found Hall of Famers at Fort Valley State (Rayfield Wright) and Sonoma State (Larry Allen) and a Ring of Honor player from Ouachita Baptist (Cliff Harris). You can add Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois) and Miles Austin (Monmouth) to the list of recent small-school successes.
But the recent run on small-school defensive backs has not paid off. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (Indiana, Pa.) never got a footing, and Matt Johnson (Eastern Washington) was not able to get on the field last year. The jury is still out on Johnson, who will have the opportunity to compete for a starting spot this year.
On Friday the Cowboys drafted safety J.J. Wilcox in the third round from Georgia Southern and on Saturday they took William & Mary cornerback B.W. Webb in the fourth round. Wilcox and Webb played in the Senior Bowl and showed they could handle the jump.
“You want to evaluate them against the best competition you can in a game setting,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You probably weigh those games more than others. But again, it is the whole package of evaluation that you are trying to do. Certainly the smaller school guys, almost by definition, have further to go and thus become a little more risky. But if you can get your arms how they played against bigger competition and how they stack up physically, I think you pull the trigger on them if you like the player.”