The 2019 NFL preseason is finally over. The start of the regular season is just a week away, but before we get to that point the Dallas Cowboys will have some tough decisions to make as it pertains to their 53-man roster. But instead of discussing roster predictions, I wanted to take a look at the Cowboys free agent signings this year and how they’ve performed in preseason.
Over the past several years the Dallas Cowboys have pretty much been bargain shoppers in free agency and it was pretty much more the same this year. That doesn’t mean they haven’t found some solid contributors for the season, but they let the market come to them and signed players to team friendly contracts.
Let’s take a look at some of the new faces the Cowboys signed in free agency and discuss a little bit about how they’ve played in preseason.
S, George Iloka
Quick, what jersey number does Safety George Iloka currently where for the Dallas Cowboys? Do you know? Did you have to look it up? I write about America’s Team on nearly a daily basis and it took me a second to remember he currently dons the No. 20 jersey. Unfortunately, that’s not good news for a player who is expected to come in and possibly compete for a starting position.
I was actually kind of excited when the Cowboys signed Iloka earlier this offseason. I really thought, or hoped, he would be able to come in and compete with Jeff Heath for the starting role opposite Xavier Woods. Sadly, nothing ever materialized on that front. In fact, he’s pretty much been invisible since signing. I believe he will receive his walking papers, meaning he won’t make the final 53-man roster.
WR, Randall Cobb
If we were to judge Randall Cobb based solely on his preseason play he would probably receive a flunking grade. He’s only managed to haul in two catches for a total of 17 yards to date, but that’s not all that surprising considering how little the Dallas Cowboys have played their first-team offense. Cobb is a veteran and knows how to prepare himself for the upcoming season.
The word out of training camp though is much more favorable for Randall Cobb. It sounds as if he and Dak Prescott already have a strong bond with one another and it’s translating to how they perform on the field. The two have supposedly been putting on a show in practice. Being the most costly of the Dallas Cowboys FA signings puts more of a spotlight on Cobb, but if he stays healthy he should give them a good return on their investment.
DT, Christian Covington
Christian Covington hasn’t received a lot of praise with his play throughout preseason, but due to the position he’s playing it’s understandable. Don’t let that fool you though. This signing was an excellent one on the Dallas Cowboys part, especially considering how the Los Angeles Rams OL manhandled the Cowboys DL in the 2018 NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs last season.
Covington is currently the backup to Antwaun Woods at the 1-technique, but he has the versatility to play the 3-tech in the Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme as well. This kind of versatility could be invaluable at some point in the 2019 season. He’s an all-around solid DT and is equally effective in the passing game as he is in the running game. Get to know No. 95, because I believe will see him make a difference at some point this season.
P, Kasey Redfern
Kasey Redfern has done just about everything the Dallas Cowboys have asked of him this offseason, whether it was as a punter or a kicker, and done both pretty well. I would personally love to see him stick to the final 53-man roster, even at the expense of Chris Jones, because I think his ability to play both positions could come in handy.
I believe this will be one of many tough decisions the Cowboys brass will have to make when it comes to roster cuts. Redfern has punted nearly as well as Chris Jones in preseason and his ability to handle the placekicker responsibilities as well could make him a valuable insurance policy if Brett Maher gets injured or struggles at any point in the season. I’d have a hard time parting ways with him, but that’s just me.
DE/DT, Kerry Hyder
Kerry Hyder could be this year’s bargain free agent signing by the Dallas Cowboys. I could argue he’s been the most impressive defensive lineman throughout preseason and has the versatility to play either defensive end or defensive tackle. I’d even go out on a limb and say he’s an upgrade over Tyrone Crawford if the Cowboys wanted to part ways with their expensive veteran.
Hyder has been absolutely disruptive in all four preseason games, which I believe has earned him a roster spot. And, you can bet Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli has noticed and will find ways to get him on the field. That should be easy though considering his versatility to play DE or DT. I fully expect to see No. 51 on the field quite a bit in 2019 and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see him rack up a half a dozen QB sacks.