The Dallas Cowboys picked Kyle Wilber in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft as Anthony Spencer‘s eventual replacement. Wilber was a superb pass rusher as a 3-4 outside linebacker at Wake Forest and then-Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan saw him as an excellent pass defender as well, which was why Dallas was confident in drafting him. A year later, Ryan is gone, the Cowboys are now running a 4-3, Spencer is playing defensive end and Wilber is apparently the frontrunner to start at outside linebacker opposite Bruce Carter.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has been talking a lot lately and that didn’t change when he got to the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. When asked who would start opposite Carter and next to Sean Lee, Jones said he “hopes” it’s Wilber. The heir to the Cowboys’ throne went on to say the team is expecting Wilber to basically grab the open position and run with it despite veterans like Ernie Sims vying for the spot as well.
Sims may be the eldest player in the hunt, but Alex Albright is the clear favorite to win the job among the media members. Wilber is easily more athletic than Albright, but he struggled to keep up with all the shifting and constant audibles in Ryan’s complex scheme, so learning a second scheme as a sophomore certainly isn’t going to help him. In addition, Albright played exceptionally well toward the end of last season and found favor in the eyes of the Cowboys’ front office, which clearly trumps the thinking of Dallas’ coaching staff.
So since the Joneses like Wilber, he will get every opportunity to earn the starting job this offseason, especially now that the Cowboys have an extra week of training camp and an extra preseason game to prepare. We’ll see what happens.