Continuing my series on potential draft prospects for the Cowboys, I can’t help but wonder why there are so many positions that the Cowboys continually need to address when they had developmental players on the roster for at least 2 yrs. The inability to develop players has been the Nemesis of this franchise for quite some time. They either end up over paying, by signing a vet in free agency, or continue using valuable draft picks addressing a position they already have depth at. There were 9 wide receivers on the Cowboys last year, but they still feel they need a replacement for Robinson. There were 7 CB’s as well. This will not do.
There have been questions about the safety position for quite some time now. I can’t help but wonder what would have transpired there if JJ would have at least let Andrew Sendejo compete for a job. This reminds me of former players JJ cut that went on to be solid NFL starters. Guys like Brian Waters 6 time Pro Bowl OG, and Danny Amendola who became the Rams most targeted Rec in the red zone. Then there are guys like Steven Bowen who went to the Redskins last year and logged more sacks than most of our DL players combined. Or even Canty, who now has a Super Bowl ring with the NYG. It seems they keep players around who never amount to much and let guys who obviously have all the intangibles to be solid NFL starters walk. Patrick Crayton ended up winning a starting job over Laurent Robinson in SD, yet we were thankful to have him. I think it’s all a matter of other teams being better at developing players and using them effectively, but that is another story.
I am one of those people who likes “The Guys No One Is Talking About”. Those hard working Smash-Mouth football types. Guys who may not be quite as athletic, but have the instincts, football IQ and work ethic that drives them to be the best they can be. Guys like Andrew Sendejo. (Cliff Harris).
Andrew Sendejo fulfilled a childhood dream on that Wednesday back in November of 2010 when he signed a contract with the Dallas Cowboys. He was in Houston when he received a call from his agent informing him that the Dallas Cowboys wanted to see him about a contract offer. He had to drive back to San Antonio and catch a plane to Dallas that Tuesday night. He said he grew up a Dallas fan and it was surreal to be there. He also said that he was going to make the most of the opportunity and take advantage of it. He went on to say that he was going to try to enjoy it and do what he can to help the team. Unfortunately it was during a lockout.
Sendejo graduated from Smithson Valley just outside of San Antonio in 2006. He said,
“I have a lot of pride in Smithson Valley,” “That’s where I established my football mentality. Coach Hill and the old-school, hard-nosed work ethic he preaches had a lot to do with that” “I’m thankful I was in a program like that. I don’t think I’d be where I am today if I hadn’t gone through it. The coaches were like my other dads.” Sendejo earned 2005 Express-News All-Area Class 5A honors after notching a team-high four interceptions as a senior corner back. He also excelled as a kick off specialist and a return man.
“No matter what we asked him to do, he made plays,” Smithsons coach Hill said. “His athletic ability wasn’t off the charts, but he excelled at whatever he was doing.”“Whatever ‘it’ is, he has it in volumes.” Hill was confident he would stay in Dallas. He went on to say “He never seems to be first on anybody’s list, but when it’s time for him to step up, people find out quickly this guy is unbelievably productive, He is a play maker and a quality kid.” “Put that together, and you’ve got an NFL player.”
After leaving Smithson he went on to play for Rice from 2006-2009 where he amassed 318 tackles (17 for a loss) 14 pass break ups, 9 interceptions, 7 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries, and 2 sacks. Sendejo finsished 2nd for most tackles in Owls history. Earning an honorable mention for All-Conference USA honors. A High ankle sprain that required surgery shortened his senior year and was a major factor in his not getting drafted.
Rice coach David Bailiff said,
“Andrew really is the hardest-working young man I’ve been around,” “He has a lot of fun until it’s time to work, and then he’s the first in and the last to leave. He’s no-nonsense and driven from the start of practice until it’s finished, and that’s how he plays.” He was also impressive with what Bailiff called “bone jarring hits.”
Sendejo was quoted as saying,
“When you think about safety, you think about a guy who comes downhill and hits you in the mouth,” “I like to hit, fly around and have fun. Anytime I get a chance, I’m going to try to tee off on somebody.” When asked about his ankle injury he said ” that’s life you’ve got to play the hand your dealt I knew I had to prove in the UFL I was the same player I was before the injury”.
Sendejo spent the 2010 season playing for Coach Dennis Green and the UFL’s Sacramento Mountain Lions where he had a season high of 48 tackles, 7 pass deflections and 2 interceptions in an 8 game season. Sendejo started the season as a free safety but was moved to strong safety because of injuries and roster changes in the secondary. He succeeded former Texas and Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Bill Bradley who is now the secondary coach for the UFL’S Florida Huskers. When asked about Sendejo he said,
“You can’t measure football instincts,” “He’s got those, and they’ll serve him well. He’ll be in the NFL a long time.”
“Sendejo is a tremendous player,” Mountain Lions coach Dennis Green said. “He really gets around; he’s very active. “He’s a ball hawk, which means that when the ball’s out there, he always seems to be one of those guys who comes up with it – either an interception or a fumble recovery or some timely tackles. When the Mountain Lions’ defense makes a play – whether it’s a hard hit, a forced fumble or an interception – Andrew Sendejo probably is in the middle of it.
My story is continued on the next page……