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Undrafted Free Agents Have Uphill Battle To Make Cowboys Roster

Brian Martin

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Can An UFA Make The Cowboys 53-Man Roster In 2017?

The Dallas Cowboys are a very good football team and have a deep roster to prove it. From top to bottom they have arguably the best depth they have had in several years, which will make it really difficult to earn a spot on the Cowboys roster. This is especially true for the rookie draft class, but might be nearly impossible for any undrafted free agents.

The Dallas Cowboys have been known to find some hidden gems from the undrafted free agents they have signed in the past. Ronald Leary, La'el Collins, Cole Beasley, Barry Church, and Jeff Heath are just a few who have come in and not only contributed, but become starters. But, this year UFAs are going to have a really hard time earning a roster spot.

The Cowboys can only carry 53 players on the roster heading into the 2017 season, and a lot of those spots are already spoken for. All of the other Cowboys roster spots are few and far between, which makes training camp extremely important for these undrafted free agents.

After scouring over the Cowboys' roster, there aren't very many names that stand out among the UFAs. In fact, I think there are only three that have a legitimate chance at earning one of those coveted roster spots: RB Jahad Thomas, OL Dan Skipper, and OG Nate Theaker.

Dan Skipper

Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Jahad Thomas, Dan Skipper, and Nate Theaker should also be considered longshots to make the Cowboys roster, but I think all of them have a slight chance if they can prove themselves worthy. But, each one of them is really going to have to catch the coaching staff's eye in training camp and prove themselves better than their competition.

Of the three, I think Jahad Thomas probably has the best chance to make the Cowboys roster. The offense could you really use another receiving type back after the departure of Lance Dunbar in free agency. That is probably Thomas' best trait, but he's really going to have to improve in all other areas of his game. It's going to be difficult, but he could take over that Lance Dunbar role in 2017.

Dan Skipper is a big man (6'10", 311), and is hopping to throw his name in the hat for one of those vacant offensive line spots at either offensive guard or tackle. The Cowboys have been working him out at guard, but he was a fixture at OT during his tenure at Arkansas. His biggest hurdle that he needs to overcome his blocking technique. If he can improve that, he has a chance to make the Cowboys roster.

Of all of the undrafted free agents, my dark horse to make the Cowboys roster in 2017 is Nate Theaker. He played both tackle positions at Wayne State and also right guard. He has the size teams look for in an offensive lineman (6'5", 315), but it's a big jump in competition from Wayne State to the NFL. He's probably destined for the practice squad, but he still has a chance to make the roster.

Due to the depth the Dallas Cowboys have throughout the roster, it is extremely important the coaching staff gets things right when making cuts. All of the available spots are at a premium and I don't know if any of the undrafted free agents are good enough to claim one.

Do you think any of the UFAs make the Cowboys roster?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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16 Comments
  • Corey

    These are some pretty good rookies, I would also like to see WR Noah Brown make the roster. He is about the same size as Bryant and plays with the same intensity. Give him a year or 2 to learn from Bryant, and I think they have a very good WR to take some of the coverage off of Bryant

    • Brian Martin

      Corey, I’m a big fan of Noah Brown. I think he can make the roster this season if the Cowboys carry six wide receivers or if he can prove himself more valuable than Brice Butler.

      • Corey

        I really don’t think that will be a problem being more valuable than Butler. Butler never worked out in Oakland, and so far he hasn’t worked out in Dallas. I actually like Brice Butler and if he puts it all together he could be a dependable deep threat, but I watched him blow some easy catches last season, maybe Noah Brown will push him to be better, and if not, well bye, bye Bryce

        • Brian Martin

          Butler supposedly has looked really good so far this off-season and has the added benefit of being in the system now for a few years. But, he doesn’t play special teams like Noah Brown does and isn’t nearly as good of a blocker either. Brown can be used in several different ways, but Butler’s experience gives them a leg up. It’s going to be a fun training camp battle to follow.

          • Assassin

            That Noah Brown catch in the bowl was off the charts … dang! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTRAF8K6NXg

          • Assassin

            add – Zeke is a huge fan and friend of his. Good guy to have on your side on the Cowboys

          • Brian Martin

            Brown can be really useful in the running game with the way he prides himself on his blocking. Probably why Elliott is such a big fan ha ha.

          • Assassin

            Good point. Brown could also be a backup TE/HBack/FB similar to the way the Eagles used Keith Jackson in the late 80s, early 90’s

          • Brian Martin

            I’ve written about that in another article before. I think he could be an emergency TE/H back, while also playing special teams and filling in at WR from time to time. I love how much he can possibly do.

          • Brian Martin

            He definitely has the talent, but he still really young (19) and still needs to develop. But, I think the Cowboys found a hidden gem in the seventh round.

          • Assassin

            Realistically, if he can play special teams his rookie year without making mistakes, he has a shot to make the team.

            Add – by drafting Switzer, Lucky Whitehead may be on the chopping block. Switzer is just as fast, maybe quicker, doesnt fumble as much and is gonna be a lot of fun. Great personality. His teammates gravitate toward him. If Whitehead is out, this may open the last spot in the WR rotation

          • Brian Martin

            I think it will come down to it the Cowboys decide to keep five or six wide receivers. If it’s just five, Butler might be kept over Brown because of his experience in the system. But, I agree that Brown has a chance to make the team because of his special-teams ability.

          • #demboyz

            Brian Brown has a chance to make the team; this kid has it all….great hips, hands, deceptive speed ,and he is as smooth as glass when he runs his routes. I can’t wait until the rubber meets the road—pads and preseason! He has a future in the NFL; I hope Dallas keeps him.

          • Brian Martin

            I like Brian Brown as well, but I think he’s probably buried too far on the depth chart right now to make the team. I think his best bet is making the practice squad and sticking around that way.

          • Corey

            Yes it is

  • Assassin

    Do you have the overall list of UFAs available

Star Blog

The Cowboys Blueprint for Success has been Set

Shane Carter

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Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Dominate Jaguars Top-Ranked Defense 1

The Cowboys victory against the Jaguars was a reminder to everyone just how good Dak Prescott & Co. can be. They ran and threw all over the Jaguars defense like they were high school level. It was a one-sided, lambs to the slaughter type of game.

At the end of the game, it left all of us wondering, "where has this team been all year?"

Throughout the season, the Cowboys showed both dominance and incompetence on the offensive side of the football. One game the team moves the ball up and down the field with ease, the next game the offense looks inept. Last Sunday’s game versus Jacksonville shows that Dallas can be successful the rest of the season, if they continue to play as such.

Run the ball

This team was built to run the football. Look at the offensive line, their type of tight ends, their quarterback, and of course Ezekiel Elliott.

The line is full of first round talent, the tight ends are block-first types (sans Rico Gathers), Dak Prescott gives them another dimension with the mobile ability in and out of the pocket, and Elliott is one of if not the best running back in the league.

The concept of running the football should not be lost on this team.

If they let Elliott run 20 or more times per game, allow Prescott to run outside of the pocket and not just be a stand-still passer, and mix in some of Rod Smith and Tavon Austin (when healthy) to give their main runner a break, they can run on anyone.

Let Dak Move Around

What makes Dak Prescott so special to this team isn’t just his leadership, but also his ability to extend plays. He stays in the pocket if he has to but he’s so skilled outside with his legs. Zone read, play action, tuck and run, throw on the run, etc., any excuse to get Dak Prescott on the move is a plus. Defenses respect his ability to move so much that the Cowboys receivers get open more as a result.

The worst thing a coaching staff can do to a mobile quarterback is to keep him standing still when he can do so much more with his feet. Don’t buy a Corvette and keep it locked up in the garage. The best way for Dak Prescott to stay consistent and succeed as a passer is to let Dak be Dak.

Keep Blitzing

The Cowboys have found a serious advantage that they’ve lacked in years past. Led by DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have 18 sacks through the first six games of the season.

Throw in the contributions of players like Taco Charlton, Tyrone Crawford, and Randy Gregory, among others, and you’ve got the deepest pass rush the Cowboys have had in years.

The team is 7th in the league in sacks and there seems to be no sign of stopping and no shortage of players who can get to the quarterback. These numbers look like they’ll only go up from here and with the amount of players the Cowboys have to do so, Jacksonville looks like it was only a taste of what’s to come.

Creative Play Calling

A little more than a week ago Jerry Jones stated that the Cowboys offense looked similar to the L.A. Rams - a hilarious notion by most accounts, right?

The Cowboys offensive scheme had been mocked all season for being both predictable and out of date. I’m not sure how many times you can run a three tight end set and expect success when it hadn't happened yet.

The team would run then throw on first and second downs, and depending on yardage, would set up a predictable third down attempt.

Against Jacksonville, we saw more read option than we’ve seen all year. Dak Prescott was vintage. His ability to move the ball with his legs made the secondary shaky against the Cowboys receivers - especially Cole Beasley - and that opened up the playbook.

Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t be stopped and just about every receiver got in on the action. Even rookie receiver Michael Gallup got in and showed some of what Cowboy fans had been waiting for.

Hopefully, that game showed just how dangerous the Cowboys can be when they are unpredictable and let their quarterback be himself. If they game planned for today the same as they did against the Jaguars, the rest of the season will be much more winnable.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Jaguars

El mejor juego de los Dallas Cowboys en 2018 vino la semana pasada, cuando recibieron a los Jacksonville Jaguars y los vencieron 40-7. Un resultado que tomó a todos por sorpresa demostró la mejor cara en el año de este equipo que apenas tiene un récord de 3-3.

Por más dominantes que se vieron en el emparrillado el domingo pasado, esa actuación no termina de reflejar lo que realmente son los Cowboys. Son un equipo con potencial en la ofensiva y con una defensiva bastante fuerte, pero ¿pueden ganar constantemente como lo hicieron contra Jaguars?

De entrada, la respuesta a esta pregunta parece ser no. Aún en esa victoria, se vieron problemas evidentes en la ofensiva. Para empezar, la falta de ejecución en la segunda mitad en series ofensivas que incluso llegaron a iniciar en territorio enemigo. De gol de campo en gol de campo se juntan puntos, sin duda, pero en partidos cerrados eso termina costando victorias. Hace falta que Dak Prescott y compañía puedan mover el balón una vez en rango de gol de campo y convertir esas oportunidades a touchdowns.

Otra preocupación que no podemos subestimar es que el juego aéreo sigue sin funcionar apropiadamente. Cole Beasley dominó con nueve atrapadas para 101 yardas y dos touchdowns, pero el resto de los receptores se fueron sin  más de una recepción por cabeza. El único jugador que logró más de una fue el TE Geoff Swaim, quien se llevo dos en todo el juego.

Si bien Beasley tuvo uno de los mejores juegos en su carrera, más receptores tienen que involucrarse para llevar la ofensiva al siguiente nivel. La buena noticia es que en esta ocasión se enfrentaron contra una de las mejores secundarias en la NFL. Los números son malos, pero tienen la oportunidad de demostrar mucho más contra otras defensivas.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen que repartir más la bola y seguir buscando maneras creativas de utilizar a su RB Ezekiel Elliott. Pases pantallas en tercera y largo no es ser creativo. Lo vemos funcionar dos o tres veces al año pero mandan esta jugada semanalmente. En cuanto a Dak Prescott, hay mucho donde mejorar. Deberíamos estar viendo pases más arriesgados, al centro del campo y mucho mejor posicionados.

Sean's Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory's Potential Impact on Cowboys Defense

Para la defensiva, las cosas se ven muy bien. Puede que veamos la mejor versión de esta unidad esta semana, cuando viajen a Washington. Maliek Collins, Sean Lee, David Irving, y Randy Gregory estarán jugando mucho más sanos y preparados. Este es un frente defensivo lleno de talento que intimidará constantemente a Alex Smith este domingo.

A pesar de que los Redskins no tienen una ofensiva muy explosiva, el área de oportunidad principal para la defensiva de Cowboys está en la profundidad defensiva. Tanto Jeff Heath como Xavier Woods han hecho un trabajo decente, pero tienen sus momentos en los que no logran asegurar una tackleada y permiten jugadas largas.

Hace unos meses no esperábamos que fuera la defensiva y no la ofensiva la que cargaría a este equipo a muchas victorias, pero ese ha sido el caso en las tres victorias de esta temporada. Y en las tres derrotas, la defensiva fue la que mantuvo a los Cowboys en el juego.

Sin duda alguna, lo que tiene que mejorar es la ofensiva. Los receptores tienen que desmarcarse, Prescott debe ser más preciso y tener una mejor conciencia en la bolsa de protección.

Pero sobre todo, es la inconsistencia del equipo. Esto se comienza a sentir como la temporada del año pasado, cuando los Cowboys se fueron 9-7 y nunca terminaron de establecerse como contendientes a los playoffs. Aún en una NFC East donde todos los equipos tienen récords similares y débiles, no pueden continuar perdiendo una semana y  ganando a la otra.

Ganarle a los Redskins sería la primera victoria de Dallas jugando de visita. También sería la primera vez en el año en la que tendrían victorias consecutivas. Por esto y muchas otras razones, incluyendo el potencial liderato de la división, este juego es de suma importancia.

Si ganan, podría ser el momento en el que los Cowboys terminen de darle la vuelta a la página y si pierden, podría ser un indicador de que esta temporada será igual que la del 2017.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

Brian Martin

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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off arguably their best and most complete offensive performance of the season after playing the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but there is still quite a bit of improvement that can be made. The need to get more playmakers involved is apparent, which is why I think it's time to utilize Fullback Jamize Olawale's unique skill set.

I know many of you will argue that getting Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup going is a higher priority, and you wouldn't be wrong, but Jamize Olawale's playmaking ability could be a huge asset for Quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense. I know it sounds a little strange, but hang in there with me for little bit.

As things stand right now, Olawale has only played 38 offensive snaps (10%) in 2018. That's the exact amount of offensive plays Wide Receiver Terrance Williams has played this year and he's missed the majority of the season. It's not exactly the kind of production I was expecting when the Cowboys decided to bring him aboard via trade with the Oakland Raiders earlier this offseason.

I don't know about you, but I was expecting Olawale to be more involved in the offensive game plan. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and isn't too shabby as a runner either. But, we haven't seen him utilized in either fashion this season and I think that's an injustice that needs to be corrected.

Now, I fully understand there are other offensive weapons ahead of him in the pecking order who need to see more targets, but I also really think he can make a difference maker, especially in the passing game. That is where his strengths lie, not as a lead blocking fullback.

Jamize Olawale

Dallas Cowboys FB Jamize Olawale

Olawale was a bit of a Swiss Army knife during his time with the Oakland Raiders. He played a little running back, fullback, tight end, and even a little slot receiver. I really thought the Cowboys would take advantage of his versatility in the passing game, but as of yet they have failed to do so.

I'd like to see the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan utilize Jamize Olawale's unique playmaking ability a little bit more on offense. I think they should try to utilize him like the San Francisco 49ers use their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk. He's much more involved and has played a total of 263 offensive snaps (63.68%) this year.

Juszczyk is a better lead blocking FB then Olawale, but that's not where he makes the most difference in the 49ers offense. He does it as a receiver and has already caught 17 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. That's some pretty solid production from a position that is being phased out in the NFL.

Now, just imagine the Cowboys offense getting similar production from Olawale and how that would help open up things for everybody else. It's not out of the realm of possibility because the 49ers offense and the Cowboys isn't all that dissimilar.

Unfortunately, I think Jamize Olawale is pretty much an afterthought in the Cowboys offense right now. It's truly unfortunate because I think he can be a difference maker if given the opportunity. And with a division foe like the Washington Redskins next on the schedule, what better time to unleash a new and unseen element of the offense?

Do you think Jamize Olawale needs to be more involved offensively?



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