In 1964, both the Houston Oilers of the young American Football League and the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League sought to sign the Oregon star. The Oilers drafted him in the 6th round (46th player overall) of the AFL draft, while the 49ers tapped him in the 3rd round (29th player overall) of the NFL draft.
The 6-3, 241-pound Wilcox opted to sign with the more established 49ers where he went on to star for 11 seasons. Converted to the outside linebacker position, Wilcox quickly established himself as one of the league’s finest.
Nicknamed “The Intimidator,” he was ideally suited for the position, both mentally and physically. Known for his ability to disrupt plays, he was particularly tough on tight ends. He simply didn’t let anybody off the line of scrimmage whether to block or get into a pass route.
Following each season, San Francisco would rate their players based upon their performance. The typical score for a linebacker was 750. Wilcox’s score in 1973 was 1,306. That season the veteran linebacker recorded 104 solo tackles, four forced fumbles, and tackled opposing ball carriers for a loss 13 times. Durable, Wilcox missed only one game during his career due to injury. Five times he was named All-NFL (1967,1970, 1971, 1972, 1973) and three times All-NFC (1971, 1972, 1973). He was also selected to play in seven Pro Bowls.
Wilcox was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Dave Wilcox's Hall of Fame bust
Dave Wilcox's Hall of Fame mural.