The Dallas Cowboys have had a ton of success over the years unearthing undrafted free agents and finding production. Players like Tony Romo, Cole Beasley, Miles Austin, and Blake Jarwin each found their way onto the roster and made an impact. Like Beasley and Austin in years past, the Cowboys could see an undrafted free agent wide receiver make the final 53-man roster out of training camp.
One player with a good shot to start the season on the active roster is former Rhode Island Wide Receiver Aaron Parker.
Parker comes to the Dallas Cowboys after a tremendous career with Rhode Island. Known as an excellent route runner, he averaged 19.2 yards per reception as a freshman and 15.5 yards per reception over his four seasons at Rhode Island. Per PlayerProfiler.com, Parker finished with a score of 97.1 “speed score” which combines height and weight in relation to 40-yard dash times, which puts him in the 60th percentile among wide receivers. Meaning his size and speed combination is better than 59% of the wide receivers in this year's draft class.
Parker also had a breakout age of 18.3. Breakout age “represents the age when a wide receiver first achieved a 20+% dominator rating.” Dominator rating “measures the percentage of the wide receiver's total team receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in college.” For his career, Parker had a dominator rating of 37.5% which is just eight points shy of the 45% threshold for “extraordinary” and ranked in the 75th percentile among wide receivers.
Aaron Parker may have played at a small-time school, but he was really good at Rhode Island.
The top three spots at wide receiver are pretty set in stone with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb at the top of the depth chart. What happens on the back half of the depth chart is anyone's guess. Devin Smith, Noah Brown, Cedrick Wilson are the likely candidates to fill in the rest of the roster, but there will be competition from players like Jon'vea Johnson, Ventrelle Bryant, and Aaron Parker.
Parker's size, speed, and route running ability give him an opportunity to make a dent in training camp, once the NFL calendar resumes. One thing working against him is there may not be as many practices or preseason games for the Dallas Cowboys coaches to use for evaluation. The margin for error will be much smaller for guys like Parker. He certainly has the talent, but he'll need to impress every time on the field to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.