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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Undrafted Daniel Wise reaches free agent deal with Cowboys

University of Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise

University of Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise

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One of the Kansas football program’s most important players during the past three seasons, Daniel Wise found out Saturday, later than anticipated, he’s leaving the Big 12 for the the NFC East.

But the news didn’t come the way many figured it would.

Various mock drafts s projected Wise to land anywhere from the fourth round to the seventh. Ultimately, though, the seven-round, 254-pick event concluded without Wise or any of his KU teammates hearing their names called.

Calvin Watkins of The Athletic reported shortly after the draft ended that Wise will sign with Dallas as an undrafted free agent.

At the college level, Wise was often disruptive at and behind the line of scrimmage for KU’s defensive line once he became one of the team’s leaders during his redshirt sophomore season in 2016. He finished his college career with 44 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks.

Thanks to the Cowboys, who drafted his former KU teammate Dorance Armstrong in the fourth round a year ago, Wise will soon discover how well the skill set he honed in Lawrence translates to the NFL level.

In an interview with The Draft Wire of USA Today this past week, Wise said the team with which he ended up would be getting someone who loves playing football.

“That comes first and foremost,” Wise said. “I’m going to bring a lot of energy and passion to the locker room that I join. I’m the same guy off the field. I’m very passionate about this game. I’m a caring, charismatic guy. I’m energetic off the field. That’s just who I am.”

The KU football program hasn’t had players selected in back-to-back drafts in 14 years, dating back to when the New York Jets took offensive lineman Adrian Jones in the fourth round in 2004 and Cleveland drafted defensive end David McMillan in the fifth round in 2005.

The only Jayhawk invited to the NFL Scouting Combine this year, Wise will not be able to join his older brother, Deatrich Jr. (a fourth-round pick of New England’s in 2017), and father, Deatrich Sr. (a ninth-round pick of Seattle’s in 1988), as draftees in the Wise household. But he could end up sticking with the Cowboys as a rookie if he’s able to impress the organization as a priority free agent.

Over the course of the past year-plus, first while looking into leaving KU early to enter the 2018 draft with Armstrong, then while preparing for and going through the pre-draft process following his redshirt senior season at Kansas, Daniel often called upon his brother and father for advice.

Deatrich Jr. even attended Daniel’s KU pro day in late March.

“Just relax and do what you trained to do,” Daniel told local media members of Deatrich’s recommendation that day. “You’re prepared.”

A first-team All-Big 12 defensive lineman during each of his final two seasons with KU, Wise further made a name for himself on the NFL landscape this past January, at the East-West Shrine Game, where scouts were able to watch him both practice and play.

“It probably helped me move up in a lot of guys’ books,” Wise predicted during an interview in late March.

More post-draft deals

Wise was considered the most likely Jayhawk to be drafted in 2019, but some of his teammates also reached agreements with NFL teams not long after the draft’s completion.

Lawrence native and Free State High graduate Joe Dineen, an All-Big 12 linebacker at KU, agreed to an undrafted free agent deal with Denver.

Former KU receiver Steven Sims Jr. received a similar deal from Washington.

Long snapper John Wirtel, meanwhile, reached a deal with Chicago.

Before the night was over, three more Jayhawks found themselves in position to impress an NFL franchise in the near future.

Offensive lineman Dwayne Wallace reportedly reached a free agent deal with Pittsburgh, cornerback Shakial Taylor accepted a free agent offer from Indianapolis and tight end Mavin Saunders picked up a rookie minicamp invite from Cleveland.

KU NFL Draft picks — since 2000

Year — Player (position) | Round selected/Overall pick | Team

2018 — Dorance Armstrong Jr. (DE/LB), 4/116, Dallas

2015 — Ben Heeney (LB), 5/140, Oakland

Jacorey Shepherd (CB), 6/191, Philadelphia

Dexter McDonald (CB), 7/242, Oakland

2012 —Tanner Hawkinson (OL), 5/156, Cincinnati

2010 — Darrell Stuckey (S), 4/110, San Diego

Kerry Meier (WR), 5/165, Atlanta

Dezmon Briscoe (WR), 6/191, Cincinnati

2008 — Aqib Talib (CB), 1/20, Tampa Bay

Anthony Collins (OT), 4/112, Cincinnati

Derek Fine (TE), 4/132, Buffalo

Marcus Henry (WR), 6/174, New York Jets

2005 — David McMillan (DE), 5/139, Cleveland

2004 — Adrian Jones (OT), 4/132, N.Y. Jets

2002 — Nate Dwyer (DT), 4/113, Arizona

Justin Hartwig (OT), 6/187, Tennessee

2001 — Moran Norris (RB), 4/115, New Orleans

Comments

Dirk Medema 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Great that he gets to go close to home and be reunited with Dorance. Except for the prestige and a little $, it might be an even better situation for him.

Good to hear about the others as well. Wirtel will be near home as well IIRC.

Chris DeWeese 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Unfortunate that none of our guys heard their names called, but not shocking in the least bit. I'm just hoping these guys can make a squad. Daniel probably has the best shot, but I wouldn't be surprised if Joe gets on a roster. The others are really going to have to bust their tails to earn a roster spot.

Al Martin 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I am absolutely the worst at predicting NFL caliber talent, but I think the Cowboys will be happy with this signing.

Jeff Kallmeyer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Nice article Benton. Would be nice to know who from the above list is still on an NFL roster.

Dane Pratt 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Too bad NFL Europe folded. Would like to see more opportunities for marginal players to develop their skills after college.

Stuart Corder 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Great article, and congratulations to new NFL Jayhawks!

Personally, I think Wise has the ability to have a real career in the NFL. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Steven Sims Jr. work his way into consistently getting on the field.

KU’s football stock is rising! Although, that’s really the only direction it could go. Les Miles worked magic at OSU and spent time in the sun at LSU. Let’s see how that experience is applied towards a ground-up program rebuild. KU’s situation kind of reminds me of Oklahoman State in 2001/02/03, right before they turned Lewis Field into Boone-Pickens Stadium, and not only because it’s the same head coach! Could KU go bowling as soon as next season?

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