In case you haven't noticed, Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan are quite serious about fixing Dallas' defense, specifically, the secondary. After signing Brandon Carr in the offseason, the Cowboys traded up for Maurice Claiborne, hailed as the top corner in the draft. Dallas' secondary improvements didn't stop with the draft, though, as the team signed a slew of defensive backs through undrafted free agency, including Eddie Whitley, a free safety from Virginia Tech.
Whitley stands at 6'1", 200 lbs, and started during his junior and senior seasons at free safety and rover. In 2011, Whitley was a second-team All-ACC selection, after registering 83 total tackles, intercepting two passes and forcing a fumble.
The folks over at the National Football Post posted a scouting report on Whitley prior to the draft:
He exhibits good initial depth off the line but he gets upright and leggy in his drop. He really struggles with balance, he just isn't a guy who can quickly get out of his breaks and close on the football. Gets caught up with his legs not under him, too often drifting backward and needing to chop his feet in order to collect himself. He also needs to routinely collect himself when asked to turn and run, and I have seen him trip himself up a number of times trying to get out of his breaks. Exhibits solid range when trying to close, but does not have enough of a second gear to make up for a false step. Doesn't play real quick in tight areas, isn't clean when trying to re-direct/close and gives up his fair share of completions under him because of his limitations driving on throws.
Impression: Wasn't much of an impact guy in either the run or pass game at the college level and is only an average size/speed free agent at this stage.
The folks over at Blogging the Boys also have posted some impressions of Whitley:
At 6'1", 191, Whitley lacks the true bulk that some (at least I) prefer at the Safety position. Of course, you can forgive that in a Safety when he's over 6 feet tall and runs a sub-4.4 (4.39) forty.
Whitley's future in the NFL as either a true corner or safety doesn't seem very promising, in all honesty. He's not the most agile defender, and doesn't appear to be either a ball hawk or a punishing hitter (though he amassed 2 interceptions, 6 pass deflections, and 80 tackles as a senior). He wasn't incredibly strong or explosive, and yet I think he'll be a great addition to the squad.
While Whitley isn't the most exciting rookie Dallas has to offer, he does have some interesting versatility that Rob Ryan could very well utilize, and if anybody will bring out the most of Whitley's abilities, it'll be Ryan.