After adding 11 new players through the 2021 NFL Draft and others in free agency, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t left much room for their undrafted free agents to get onto the 53-man roster. If any of the undrafted rookie class can make it, Fullback Nick Ralston from Louisiana may have the best opportunity.
When I did my latest 53-man roster projection shortly after the draft, I didn’t have Ralston or any other UDFA making the team. The numbers just aren’t looking good for them as the draft aftermath has already seen Dallas part ways with a trusted veteran in DT Antwaun Woods and experienced, versatile depth option in G/C Adam Redmond.
But unlike the defensive or offensive lines, or pretty much any other spots on the Cowboys’ roster, there are no immediately superior prospects at fullback. After Jamize Olawale’s release in March, Dallas only had Sewo Olonilua left on the roster as an official FB prospect.
Olonilua, like Ralston now, was an undrafted free agent in 2020. After Olawale chose to opt-out of the season under the COVID-19 policy, Sewo managed to be active for just a couple games and only saw a handful of snaps on special teams. He spent most of the year on the practice squad as Dallas elected to go with no fullback for most of the season.
Both Olonilua and Ralston are now up against each other for the job, but perhaps even more the potential that the job won’t even exist. One of them will have to convince the Cowboys that keeping a true fullback is a good use of a roster spot.
Ralston comes into this competition with high praise for his blocking and receiving skills on offense, plus his work on special teams. While Olonilua was more of a convert to fullback from his college career at TCU, Ralston seems more ready-made for the role right out of the box.
While true fullbacks are an endangered species in the NFL, Mike McCarthy may be one of the few coaches left who appreciates their value. He made John Kuhn a household name at the position during his Green Bay years and appeared committed to Jamize Olawale in 2020.
The fact that Dallas continues to bring in these prospects indicates they’d like to utilize the position. The opportunity is there for someone who proves his worth and can contribute both on offense and special teams; a prerequisite for any FB to make the team these days,
Only time will tell how Nick Ralston stacks compared to Sewo Olonilua, but the fact they’re both here indicates that the Cowboys still want a fullback on the roster. With no established veterans to contend with, Ralston may have the easiest road to making the team of any of this year’s undrafted rookies.