Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Tyms (85) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys defensive back Jakar Hamilton (43) and cornerback B.W. Webb (20) during the second quarter at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Safety Sleeper..on the Roster


Aug 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive back Jakar Hamilton (43) practices during warm ups before the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 12-7. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones has said time and time again that the Dallas Cowboys safeties are already on the roster.  We know that Barry Church is a surefire starter, but who plays alongside him is a looming question.  J.J. Wilcox showed promise in his rookie year, but inconsistent play cost him the job to Jeff Heath, who at times really struggled.  Matt Johnson is apparently a practice superstar, but he hasn’t stayed healthy enough to play a full game in two years.  Alas, there is another, not often-discussed Safety on the team with enormous potential: Jakar Hamilton

After training camp last year, Dallas lost out on several undrafted free agents who they really liked, such as Linbacker Brandon McGhee who was given a hefty signing bonus by the Cleveland Browns.  They were sure, however, to retain Hamilton: a safety out of South Carolina State and a few other places.

Hamilton started his collegiate career at Georgia Military Academy.  After earning All-America honors for the Junior College division (rated the second JUC prospect behind Cam Newton), his talents were battled over by the Universities of Georgia and powerhouse Alabama.  “Hitman”, as he was known, opted for the Bulldogs.  After a solid junior year campaign, Hamilton suffered a hamstring injury going into training camp.  That, combined with emerging young talent, prompted him to transfer to SC State, where he would get more playing time and be closer to family.

Despite the odd sequence of events, scouts took great notice to Hamilton, the younger brother of NFL running back Mike Goodson.  He was invited to work out for six teams, Dallas being one of them.  His 40-yard dash time hovered around 4.56, and he displayed a monstrous 41.5″ vertical leap – higher than any of the safeties in this year’s class.

This past season, Hamilton was promoted from the practice squad following an injury to J.J. Wilcox.  He played sparingly, but his athleticism was obvious.  As a safety in college, Hamilton showed a better-than-average ability to keep up with receivers, good awareness, and solid tackling despite a somewhat small frame.

Jakar Hamilton has a real opportunity to compete, as the safety position is still very much in flux for the Cowboys.  At the very least, he should be a solid special teams contributor.  Aware that he may not make the roster, however, Hamilton worked out at South Carolina State’s recent pro day, along with Oakland Raiders linebacker and fellow SC State alumn Marshall McFadden.

Once again, Jakar Hamilton will have many hills to climb in order to achieve his dream.  That being said, he has a lot of potential and is in a good place to fulfill it.

Tags: Barry Church Dallas Cowboys Jakar Hamilton Jeff Heath JJ Wilcox Matt Johnson Safety

  • David

    Hamilton does not have that many hills to climb with Wilcox, Johnson and Heath to beat out. The Cowboys safeties are depressing to read about and watch. I seriously hope JJ is just saying they dont need safeties as a smoke screen.

    • SK_Jersey13

      Yeah, I’m just not sure what they like about Heath so much. I’m willing to give Wilcox and Johnson a chance, though. You know, I think JJ may be truly opposed to drafting a Safety, but not necessarily opposed to signing one. Then again they’ve passed on a lot thus far and got rid of Will Allen quickly last year.

  • Earl Robertson

    Why they cut Allen last year I will never know? Because of that move Heath played a lot and there is nothing good about Heath being on the field!

    • SK_Jersey13

      I agree completely – so much so that I wrote an article about it when it happened! http://sportdfw.com/2013/10/09/releasing-will-allen-good-move/ <- that link is misleading: it's about why it a BAD move lol but anyway, I'm not sure why Heath was given so much time, I would have liked to see Hamilton and Wilcox more but both did struggle with injuries

  • Ed

    The Cowboys haven’t solved their safety woes since Darren Woodson and James Washington patrolled the secondary. It’s not because they couldn’t. It’s because they simply don’t value the position as they should. They had a solid chance to pick up Eric Reid in last years draft, a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism. They chose to pass and the Niners got themselves a Pro Bowl safety. Let’s face it, this team goes as the safety position goes…and that’s bad news for all Cowboy fans.

    • SK_Jersey13

      That’s a really interesting way to look at it. It makes sense though; value could be the reason they pass on using a top pick on the position year after year. I think if that’s true, though, such an assessment will change under Kiffin and Marineli who both know the value of a safety. Also, for what it’s worth, Reid wasn’t projected to be taken so highly last year, so it’s possible they were targeting him, or even Jonathon Cyprien in the second round. What, if any, entering Safety would you like to see the Cowboys pick this May?

      • Ed

        Reid was projected as a late first rounder which would have been touted as a reach for the Cowboys had they taken him at 17…yet was touted as great value for the Niners. Go figure. From an analytics perspective none of the top safeties in this years draft provide greater athleticism or value vs what the Cowboys already have on their roster. I prefer to look at it this way–the Cowboys front office and coaching staff don’t necessarily think the have Probowl caliber players at safety but they realize, at least this year, that the talent on the draft board isn’t much better and there are more pressing needs on this team. Unfortunately they missed the boat last year.

        Put a different way, in a draft (last year) deep with exceptional talent at safety the Cowboys came away with a converted wide receiver. That shows a lack of respect for the importance of the position. Perhaps there’s sufficient video footage of Heath consistently getting burned to change that mindset.

        • SK_Jersey13

          Ha! There is definitely a double-standard. Anyway, I think that last year’s low premium put on the position is attributed to how highly they valued Matt Johnson who wound up getting hurt. Really, we did what a team with a young guy ready to step in should do: let him play, sign a veteran, and maybe draft another just in case. At the same time, I also could not believe Wilcox was taken as high as the 3rd round. I think he still has a chance to be great, but it was definitely puzzling to take somebody new to the position that early. Still, I think it all revolved around Johnson who unfortunately was lost for the second straight season

  • Jack Farguson

    Here are some possibilities for our next Safety Prospects. They are both projected to go in the 5th to 6th round. They are big guys to help with those big receivers and Tight ends. and shouldn’t be too costly.
    Dontae Johnson, FS
    School: North Carolina State | Conference: ACC
    College Experience: Senior | Hometown: Pennington, NJ
    Height/Weight: 6-2 / 200 lbs.
    Jonathan Dowling, FS
    School: Western Kentucky | Conference: C-USA
    College Experience: Junior | Hometown: Bradenton, FL
    Height/Weight: 6-3 / 190 lbs.
    A four-star prep defensive back, Dowling had offers from Alabama, Georgia and Florida State, but chose Florida prior to his senior year in high school. He played sparingly as a true freshman and often found himself in the doghouse of Urban Meyer and the rest of the Gators? coaching staff, ultimately leading to his dismissal from the program. Dowling transferred to Western Kentucky and sat out the 2011 season due to transfer rules. He started two full seasons for the Hilltoppers with excellent production both years, including 18 total turnovers (9 interceptions, 8 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery). Dowling is a tall, rangy athlete with intriguing speed and playmaking ability for the position, but he is currently a liability vs. the run and needs to be more aggressive in space and attack instead of reacting to the ballcarrier. He loves to freelance and roam, but his undisciplined style will drive coaches wild and he doesn?t have the best reputation as being a coachable player. Dowling is best suited to play cornerback at the NFL level and if he dedicates himself to fixing his technique (will need a patience positional coach), he has a future at the next level.

    • SK_Jersey13

      1) Johnson – All right a Jersey guy! Haha
      2) It’s funny how Dowling’s situation is markedly similar to Hamilton’s. I’ve heard a lot of rumblings about him, I think he might be considered a true sleeper in this draft
      3) Interesting that you mention two Free Safeties – do you assume that Church will move back to the Strong Safety position? Personally, that’s what I would like to see, but I’m not so sure if it’ll happen

      • Jack Farguson

        Church is and always has been a strong Safety! I don’t care where they have tried to play him his strength has always been in the box and that is where he has spent most of his time playing. My choice of these two guys as well as being Free Safeties, at 6’2″, and 6’3″ they are big rangy guys that can take on those big receivers and tight ends, and they both have decent speed. not to mention they are not early rounder’s so we can concentrate the early rounds on Defensive line, and Offensive line.