Written By Evan McShane
Chris Covington, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys, (6th Round/193rd Overall)
Chris Covington climbed his way from unknown to the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys selected Covington with the 193rd overall pick to fill a need at linebacker. Hoosier fans know the Cowboys will be getting a versatile athlete with a huge chip on his shoulder. Chris Covington was an unheralded two-star recruit who played quarterback and cornerback at Raby High School in Chicago, just two and a half miles west of the United Center. A long and winding road took Covington from uncertainty all the way to the pros.
Although he wasn’t highly ranked, the multi-talented Covington was a very intriguing recruit. Standing at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, the Hoosiers gave Covington a shot at quarterback. He appeared in five games at quarterback, primarily used as a threat in the running game. Unfortunately, Covington suffered a torn ACL as a true freshman, ending his season after just six games. The coaching staff made the decision to move him from quarterback to linebacker – a decision that earned Covington a chance at an NFL career.
Tom Allen stepped in as defensive coordinator and helped make the most of Covington’s feel for the game. Covington appeared in all 13 games, making 29 tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble. With one year of eligibility left, Covington had to make the most of his final collegiate season. He surpassed expectations and turned in an impressive senior season.
Covington piled up 85 tackles, good enough for third on the team. He had 12 tackles for a loss and three sacks, proving to be a constant force in the backfield. Covington penetrated the line of scrimmage with ease using his size and athleticism. He also notched five pass breakups, which was third on the team. Covington’s experience as a quarterback undoubtedly heightened his football IQ as a linebacker. The Hoosiers relied on him as a leader and defensive play-caller at times. He was named IU defensive player of the week three times. Covington’s performance as a senior earned him an honorable mention by coaches and media for the All-Big Ten Team. Perhaps the best evidence of Covington’s impact on the Indiana defense is his IU Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Quite frankly, it’s rather unprecedented for a quarterback to change positions to linebacker during his college career and still earn an NFL combine invitation. There are obvious doubts about Covington’s experience at the linebacker position. He has tremendous potential based on his feel for the game, but he lacks the in-game experience of his draft-eligible peers.Covington’s Hoosier career was short-lived due to injury, but he made sure his impact was known.Now, he’ll get a chance to make an impact at the next level. Hoosier fans will be rooting for Chris Covington to thrive in Cowboys’ defense.