You may not be aware, but the Dallas Cowboys have been excellent over the years at finding undrafted players to come in and play prominent roles. Just last season in 2017 they had nine undrafted free agents (UFAs) start at least one game. La’el Collins (16), David Irving (8), Cole Beasley (4), Keith Smith (3), Benson Mayowa (2), Byron Bell (2), Richard Ash (2), and Rod Smith (1) all went undrafted and had to scratch and claw their way to earn playing time. Who’s next?
Despite the success the Dallas Cowboys have had finding UFAs in the past, this year will be a lot tougher for any of them to make the roster, let alone earn much playing time. That should be considered a good thing because the Cowboys have a deep roster from top to bottom without many open spots up for grabs.
With that in mind, I decided to take a look at the UFAs the Dallas Cowboys brought in after the completion of the 2018 NFL Draft to see how many have a chance to actually make the roster. Like I said earlier, it’s going to be tough, but there are a few candidates capable of earning a roster spot this season.
CB/S Kameron Kelly, San Diego State
Kameron Kelly (6’2″, 204) is a versatile defensive back who has played both cornerback and safety during his time at San Diego State. He was projected to be a mid-round draft pick by many draft analyst, but unfortunately didn’t hear his name called in any of the seven rounds.
Kelly fits the mold Kris Richard likes in his CBs. He has the size and length to be a press corner and is physical in run support. However, his best chance to make the Cowboys roster is probably as a safety. The Cowboys need more depth at the safety position, which happens to be where Kelly looks the most comfortable in my opinion.
CB Charvarius Ward, Middle Tennessee State
Charvarius Ward (6’1″, 198) has taken a long route to get a shot at making it in the NFL. He started two years at Hinds Community College before making a name for himself at Middle Tennessee State. In two years at Middle Tennessee State, Ward had 21 passes defensed and 2 interceptions, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get drafted.
Again, Ward fits the mold Kris Richard likes in his cornerbacks because of his height/length. He is still developing as a player and probably needs more time to improve his craft before he can be relied upon, but his speed and measurable’s give ham a chance to stick around on the Cowboys roster. The cornerback position is crowded, but he has a fighting chance to catch the attention of the coaching staff.
FS Tyree Robinson, Oregon
Tyree Robinson (6’3″, 199) is yet another height/length defensive back the Dallas Cowboys brought in as an undrafted free agent. You might notice the trend here, but you can definitely see Kris Richard’s handprint on the kind of defensive backs he wants in his secondary.
Robinson has already caught the coaching staffs eye and Bryan Broaddus’, former Scout and Staff Writer for the Cowboys, a little already at the rookie mini-camp. He has a chance to make the team as a rangy free safety, but really needs to add some muscle/weight to his slender frame. He also has experience at cornerback, but again, his best chance to make the team is as a safety.
TE David Wells, San Diego State
David Wells (6’5″, 256) has a chance to make the Dallas Cowboys roster due to both Jason Witten and James Hanna announcing their retirements. The tight end position with the Cowboys is up for grabs and will be one of the more interesting position battles to watch throughout the remainder of the off-season.
Unfortunately, Wells isn’t going to blow anybody away with his athleticism. He is a sluggish athlete and will have a tough time creating separation in the passing game due to his heavy legs. He does have the size and competitiveness to become a good in-line blocker, which is probably his best chance of making the roster.
LB/QB Joel Lanning, Iowa State
Joel Lanning (6’1″, 232) is probably the most intriguing undrafted free agent the Dallas Cowboys signed after the draft. He started his career at Iowa State playing quarterback, but ended his collegiate career at linebacker because the team wanted more of a passer than a runner at QB. Being the team player he is, he switched positions without hesitation.
Lanning is exactly the “right kind of guy” head coach Jason Garrett wants on his football team. Lanning’s best shot to make the Cowboys roster is on special teams and as a reserve linebacker, but he can play other roles as well. I believe it was the Oakland Raiders who even worked him out at fullback before the draft. I don’t know exactly where he will play, but this is the kind of player you want to find a place for.