Written by theMBIIIeffect
A lot of things can lead to position battles in training camp.
Releasing a former Pro-Bowler and a player not living up to his contract are both certainly on the list of things that can stir up a little competition in training camp.
That’s exactly the predicament that the Cowboys find themselves in just before the start of training camp: Roy Williams is with the Bengals and Ken Hamlin might not see the third year of his 6-year, $39 million dollar contract according to the Dallas Morning News’ Cowboys blog.
These two spots are completely up for grabs. This should be interesting.
The Favorites: Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh
Just because Ken Hamlin had some issues last year doesn’t mean that he can’t right the ship, and Sensabaugh supposedly has pretty good coverage skills. We might see Hamlin move back to strong safety, his position during his time in Seattle, while Sensabaugh takes over the free safety spot.
The Long Shots: Pat Watkins and Alan Ball
This could be a last call for Pat Watkins. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 211 pounds, Watkins had all the tools to succeed, but he hasn’t. If he doesn’t have a good training camp, Watkins could find himself cut.
Alan Ball was the last pick of the 2007 NFL draft for the Dallas Cowboys and has developed as a free safety prospect even though he played corner in college. Ball’s problem is that he isn’t a proven hitter. If Wade Phillips runs another “Camp Cupcake,” then Ball will have to prove himself during preseason games during limited time. That’s tough.
The Prediction: Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh
I think these guys will be the ones who emerge from training camp as the starters at strong safety and free safety, respectively. That doesn’t mean that they’ll hang on to their jobs.
Michael Hamlin, a fifth-round pick out of Clemson, could push both for their starting jobs if he can adjust to man coverage as he has already proven that he can tackle and play zone defense.
Even Pat Watkins could push either of these two given his size and speed.
We had a pretty good pass defense last year, ranking fifth in the league in passing yards allowed per game. But our eight picks were third-worst in the NFL.
We need to improve at this position, and having this wide-open competition will only help the overall quality of our defense.