Covering a variety of topics during a recent media session, Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones praised their crop of 2022 undrafted free agents. Jones noted that these rookies are unusually ready to contribute to Dallas in the upcoming season.
While he didn't name names, Jones cited the group as a whole as being exceptionally impressive based on early observations from minicamps and pre-draft scouting. He also said the performance of these UDFAs could have a significant impact on the Cowboys' fortunes in 2022.
“We've got really young players, not only the draft picks but also more college free agents that have a chance to help us this year than I've seen in a long time. They're important for us. Their lack of success would cripple our hopes this year. Their success would enhance our hopes more than any group than I think we've seen. I think they've got that kind of appeal.”
One should always be on guard for hyperbole with Jerry, and there probably is some in this statement. After all, none of this year's UDFAs are projected to start on offense or defense.
However, one rookie free agent who could decide games is Kicker Jonathan Garibay out of Texas Tech. Currently Garibay is the only kicker signed to the roster, which could change before training camp but keeps him in a pivotal position until it does.
Another UDFA with impact potential is Texas A&M LB Aaron Hansford. Dallas needs to fill that depth chart and Hansford, who some had as a 4th-round talent in 2022, could be competitive for a roster spot against thin competition.
Safety Markquese Bell has had some buzz around him since the draft. He's been considered for a hybrid LB/S role, which could be his ticket to the roster given the LB shortage we just discussed.
Center Alec Lindstrom has potential to compete at his position as well. While Tyler Biadasz and Matt Farniok are the current favorites to be starter and backup, Lindstrom could push them if he hits the ground running as a rookie.
Outside of Garibay as kicker, assuming he holds that job into September, it's hard to see any of these rookies making the kind of impact that would fully back up Jerry's statement in 2022. But the opportunities to contribute are there and could make this a more meaningful group of undrafted rookies than we've had in recent years.