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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?

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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

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott's Future?

It’s funny how quickly some players are able to establish themselves as professional athletes and grow their fan base. That is exactly what Ezekiel Elliott has done in just a little over a years time since becoming a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, given his current situation, it’s that fan base that might be starting to turn on him a little and doubt his long-term future in the NFL.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are fully aware of the six-game suspension the NFL slapped Ezekiel Elliott with based on nothing more than accusations of possible domestic violence. Right or wrong, guilty or innocent, it happened and there is no taking it back. But unfortunately, because of the suspension Elliott will now have to walk the straight and narrow if he wants to have any kind of career in the NFL.

I honestly don’t think Ezekiel Elliott is a bad guy, but the slightest slip up will more than likely put his career in jeopardy. It doesn’t matter how big or small the infraction, the NFL has already decided they are going to make an example of him.

RB Ezekiel ElliottFrom here on out, Elliott is going to have to live like he is under a magnifying glass. Any kind of slip up, big or small, will likely cause the league to suspend him an entire season. This unfortunately has been weighing on the minds of a lot of Cowboys Nation and has to be at least a little bit concerning for the Cowboys organization.

You see, the Dallas Cowboys have Elliott under contract for at least three more years after this season. He has already proven how important he is to the offense and how much production dips without him in the lineup. They absolutely want him on the field because he makes them better. But, any kind of slip up would pretty much erase one of those three years. Look no further than what has happened with Randy Gregory.

I’ve heard many fans voicing their concerns about Ezekiel Elliott’s long-term availability with the Cowboys. They are afraid Elliott’s immaturity will end up getting the best of him and Zeke unfortunately has done nothing to ease those concerns so far.

I for one am not all that concerned about Zeke’s future in the NFL. I think his six-game suspension has served as an eye-opening experience and that he will do better from here on out to put himself in better situations and surround himself with better/more trustworthy people.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel ElliottYou can see anytime Zeke is on the field his passion for the game and how much he enjoys it. I don’t think he’s going to put something he cares so much about in jeopardy. But unfortunately, he already has a bull’s-eye on his back and can’t afford to take a misstep. That will without a doubt put his future career in jeopardy.

I personally can’t wait to see how #21 responds when he is able to suit up once again next week against the Seattle Seahawks. I think he is going to play with a chip on his shoulder and run angry. That is the best way he can stick it to the league for suspending him based on accusations and another reason why I’m not concerned about his future in the NFL.

I know if it was me, my mindset would be to turn myself into the best player possible and once again become one of the more popular athletes in the league. That is about the only way he can say “F U” to the league, and I think that’s exactly what he will do.

Are you concerned about Ezekiel Elliott long-term?

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Star Blog

A Cowboys Win vs Giants Can’t Be Taken For Granted

Mauricio Rodriguez

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A Cowboys Win vs Giants Can't Be Taken For Granted 1

The Dallas Cowboys are coming from a bounce-back win versus the Washington Redskins in which they blew out their divisional rivals 38-14. The New York Giants are coming from a week in which Head Coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese were fired. The former is 6-6, and the latter is 2-10. You tell me which organization is getting the W this Sunday.

Easy, right? Well, no. Not really.

All week long, most of Cowboys Nation has been taking this win for granted. Understandably so, since New York is only a two-win team. However, this is certainly one of those games with a “trap game” feel to it.

It wouldn’t be the first time we see a football team being led by a new coach to a surprise victory. Hell, we saw a very similar situation when Jason Garrett debuted as the Cowboys interim head coach in 2010… against the Giants. 

 Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee, New York Giants QB Eli Manning  Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On top of that, you have Eli Manning back at the wheel after he was benched for Geno Smith a week ago. Even though the guy who made that decision is out of the picture, you have to imagine the veteran quarterback will go out to play with a chip on his shoulder.

And if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, this Cowboys’ team still has a lot to prove. Let’s not forget the fact that they lost three consecutive weeks. That’s why we´re trying to find which NFC teams need to lose certain games. Because the Dallas Cowboys put themselves in this position.

Dak Prescott is the future for this franchise, and despite having some tough games this year, I still believe he’s the guy. However, as Staff Writer Kevin Brady recently wrote here at Inside The Star, Dak Prescott must overcome his struggles when facing the Giants:

“Prescott played his worst game of that spectacular rookie season when he traveled to East Rutherford, New Jersey as the Cowboys prolific offense was only able to score 7 points during their key loss.”

Although they have a 2-10 record, the Giants’ defense shouldn’t be underestimated. They still have personnel that can give the Cowboys’ offense a bit of trouble, especially without Ezekiel Elliott running the ball.

Sean Lee should be ready to go this week, and while many discuss whether or not the coaching staff should give him an extra week of rest, the truth is that’s something the Cowboys can’t risk to do. At the end of the day, lose one game and forget about playing in January.

You need 50 on the field. If at some point in the second half they manage to get a big-lead, securing a win, then let’s hope they take him off the field and let the guy rest. But until then, Sean Lee should be playing.

Will Chidobe Awuzie's Return Benefit The Cowboys Defense?

Dallas Cowboys’ Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Dallas is expected to start three rookies at cornerback. Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Wood could be the guys who line up to start the game in New York. Naturally, this is the case because they’ve proven to be solid players.

But it’s inevitable to be a bit scared of this situation when you’re facing Eli Manning. Say what you want about him, but you never know what might happen when a player like that is on the other side of the field.

I’m picking the Cowboys to win this football games for at least a touchdown. But let’s not think of this game as if it were the Browns. If this ends up being a trap game and the Cowboys manage to get their seventh loss of the year, it’s over.

We’re 14 weeks into the season and it feels like we don’t know what this team is capable of doing with Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott starting at the same time. But this week will prove a lot of things about the Cowboys and their quest for the Playoffs.

Tell me what you think about “A Cowboys Win vs Giants Can’t Be Taken For Granted” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Week 14 Playoff Projection: Cowboys Still In Striking Distance

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Dak Prescott #14 Según los Jugadores, ¿Realmente Lo Es? 1

The Cowboys are one of three 6-6 teams still hoping to find a way into the NFC playoffs. Even if they win out and get to 10-6, they will need help based on tiebreakers and the superior records of the teams ahead of them.

Last night, Dallas’ hopes took a kick in the teeth when the Atlanta Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints. Atlanta not only moved to 8-5 but also holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cowboys, making them a major threat in the Wild Card race. The Falcons need to start losing, fast, for Dallas to have a shot at overtaking them.

Atlanta’s not the only team that Dallas should be concerned about, though. Here are the current NFC playoff standings, including last night’s result:

  1. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (9-3)
  4. New Orleans Saints (9-4)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
  6. Carolina Panthers (8-4)
    ————————————–
  7. Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
  8. Detroit Lions (6-6)
  9. Green Bay Packers (6-6)
  10. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)

TIEBREAKERS

  • The Vikings are ahead of the Eagles thanks to the common game tiebreaker, since they are both 8-1 against NFC opponents.
  • Seattle (6-3) is ahead of Carolina (4-4) thanks to a better record in NFC games.
  • Detroit has a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Packers and a common games tiebreaker over the Cowboys.
  • Green Bay has a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cowboys.

With the Falcons’ win over New Orleans already in the books, here are the other playoff-relevant games for the NFC in Week 14.

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

This is the easiest game let on Dallas’ schedule (assuming Philly doesn’t rest starters in Week 17). The Giants will have a new coach and have changed back to Eli Manning as the starting QB. Will they be galvanized by these changes or only in even greater disarray? We certainly hope for the latter.

Green Bay Packers @ Cleveland Browns

At 6-6 and with Aaron Rodgers potentially returning next week, the Packers are looming as a real threat. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Dallas from a win earlier this year. The hapless Browns winning this one is certainly faint hope, but it’s still Brett Hundley out there at QB instead of one of the league’s MVPs.

Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The other team in the 6-6 tie, Detroit needs to go away. The Bucs are 4-8 and a non-factor now, so we can root for the pirate people without hesitation.

Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are another key target for us in the Wild Card race. Minnesota should run away with the NFC North, so they’re a non-factor for Dallas’ concerns. A Carolina loss is clearly better for Dallas, dropping the Panthers to 8-5 and within reasonable range with three weeks left to go.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams

Last week, Dallas fans were put in the unfortunate position of having to root for the Eagles against the Seahawks to help our playoff chances. We’re back in that same boat this week as a Rams’s loss would be more damaging for the Cowboys than Philly losing.

Because L.A. has a head-to-head tiebreaker over Dallas, our best bet is for them to win the NFC West and stay out of our way. We have a much better shot at catching the Seahawks, especially since we get to play them in Week 16 when Ezekiel Elliott returns.

Seattle Seahawks @ Jacksonville Jaguars

So yeah, as just said, the Seahawks are one of the teams we have the best chance of beating out for a playoff spot. Last week’s win over Philly hurt, but a road loss against the 8-4 Jaguars is certainly possible and would go a long way to helping our cause.

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