While the players selected in the NFL Draft get all the headlines, we shouldn't sleep on the undrafted free agents signed by teams. When the Dallas Cowboys sign an UDFA, we should pay especially close attention. They've developed such a track record for finding diamonds in the undrafted free agent rough that we almost expect them to uncover some gems every year. 2019 is no different.
This year's undrafted free agent crop features several players that were considered draftable by most in the draft community. While each UDFA will have an opportunity to earn a roster spot, most will likely be cut or put on the practice squad with the hopes that they make a push for the 53-man roster in 2020. For 2019, however, there are three players who have a legitimate shot to make the opening week 53 out of training camp.
Let's talk about them.
Daniel Wise, Defensive Tackle
Playing defensive tackle in the Big 12 is a tough task these days, with the way those offenses love to spread teams out and attack the perimeter. Daniel Wise, who was seen by some as a potential fourth round pick this year, played admirably for the Kansas Jayhawks.
In four years in Lawrence, Wise had 17 sacks and five in each of his last two seasons. He also recorded 43 tackles for loss in 42 games. At 6-3, 290 pounds he's likely a 3-tech defensive tackle in the NFL. He doesn't have great athleticism, but he has a nice wing span that could allow him to keep blockers from engaging him.
Jalen Guyton, Wide Receiver
I know every year we fall in love with some late-round or undrafted free agent wide receiver that we hope will make the roster. Inevitably, that player gets a lot of hype and has a productive training camp only to find themselves caught in the numbers game. This year is no different with how deep the Cowboys are at wide receiver. For a player like Jalen Guyton to make the 53-man roster, he's going to have an uphill battle.
What's intriguing about Guyton is he has the athleticism and the speed to be an impact player in the NFL given the right opportunity. Per Bobby Belt, Jalen Guyton was the only player weighing over 200 pounds to run his 40-yard dash under 4.4 seconds and his 3-cone drill in under seven second in this year’s draft class.
That's incredible. Remember that Guyton was originally a member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish before transferring to North Texas after his freshman year.
The Cowboys have been known to carry seven wide receivers on the roster before, but this year feels more like they'll carry five or six given the depth at offensive line and defensive line.
With elite speed and agility, Guyton is a weapon that the Dallas Cowboys don't have on the roster. No wide receiver on the roster can boast a sub-4.4 40-yard dash. The Cowboys brought in a couple of players with that kind of speed in Emanuel Hall and Mecole Hardman, so it's clear that they're looking to add that kind of element to the offense.
Chris Westry, Cornerback
Though a bit raw technically, Chris Westry played a lot of football at the University of Kentucky. He flashes incredible 4.3 speed and with some refining could be an excellent fit as a boundary corner in Kris Richard's cover-3 scheme.
The Cowboys have four guys that are likely locked into the roster in Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis. The fifth spot will be up for grabs and the Cowboys could carry six depending on what the rest of the roster looks like. Westry will have to battle with sixth round draft pick Joe Jackson, former sixth round pick Marquez White, and Donavan Olumba to make the team. However, if the Cowboys fear another team grabbing him when they make their post-training camp cuts, they could attempt to stash him on the 53-man roster for week one, before trying to sneak him through waivers later.
Westry's speed and height combination makes him an interesting prospect to keep an eye on. If he can improve his footwork and play recognition, the Cowboys could have found a dynamic player to add to their secondary.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The competition to make the 53-man roster is going to be hot and heavy this year and training camp will be fun to watch. They're as deep a team as we've seen in the Jason Garrett era and roster spots will be difficult to come by. If any of the undrafted free agents are going to make the squad, they'll have to have impressive training camps. If anyone can do it, it's these three guys.