Last year, rookie cornerback Marquez White had to watch from the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad. He heads into 2018 still with the club and hoping to have a far bigger role next season.
Taken in the sixth round of last year’s draft, White failed to make the Week 1 roster but stayed in Dallas the entire season on the practice squad. He was signed to a futures contract after Week 17.
There is a good precedent for Marquez to have a bigger role next year. Other defensive backs taken in the sixth round, CB Anthony Brown (2016 draft) and safeties Kavon Frazier (2016) and Xavier Woods (2017), were all contributors last season. Brown will likely be one of the team’s top-three corners in 2018 and either Frazier or Woods could be competing for starting roles at safety.
With veteran Orlando Scandrick potentially gone as a salary cap casualty, the fourth spot on the cornerback depth chart could have open competition. Even if Scandrick returns, the fifth spot should up for grabs.
Another veteran, Bene Benwikere, is a free agent this year and his return is hard to project.
Marquez White will likely join Duke Thomas, another young prospect from last year, and other hopefuls the Cowboys may add from this year’s rookie pool. There should be at least one spot on the roster open for them to make the team, and perhaps two depending on what happens with Scandrick.
The arrival of Kris Richard as the new Defensive Backs Coach and assumed future Defensive Coordinator will also factor in. Richard liked bigger corners in Seattle and White is listed at 6’1″ on the team’s office roster. That could help him catch the eye of his new position coach.
While late-round picks have few guarantees in the NFL, they certainly have a leg up on any undrafted competition. Teams are naturally biased toward drafted players; wanting to prove themselves right for selecting them.
Will Kris Richard’s arrival, roster changes, and his drafted status help Marquez White make the Cowboys roster in 2018? Time will tell, but he certainly should not be forgotten about this offseason.