The Dallas Cowboys drafted seven players in the 2013 draft and signed 18 undrafted free agents. But in 2013, the team will be inheriting three 2012 draft picks that never played a snap last season. Matt Johnson, Danny Coale and Caleb McSurdy all missed the 2012 season because of season ending injuries. But I expect all three players to create some discussion as to where they might fit come training camp.
Matt Johnson might be the biggest contributor in 2013 because of the open opportunity at the free safety position. Johnson hurt his hamstring early in 2012, but remained on the active roster for the majority of the year. The team thought he might be ready to contribute if they had made a deep run in the playoffs.
Johnson was a fourth round pick out of Eastern Washington who the Cowboys fell in love with during the draft process. The team believes Johnson can be the deep center fielder they’ve been lacking for some time. Matt Johnson possess the range to flow from sideline to sideline in Monte Kiffin’s defense.
What I like about Matt Johnson is his work ethic and how that translates to the field. He, (along with Danny Coale) was praised by former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus as being one of the hardest workers on the team.
Danny Coale was personally my favorite draft pick in the 2012 draft and it was a shame that he struggled with injuries all year long. Coale, a fifth round pick out of Virginia Tech has a knack for making big plays in the most important games. Coale can play both outside and inside and also has exceptional hands.
Frank Beamer, Coale’s head coach at Virginia Tech, still believes that Coale will be a successful player in the NFL despite losing his rookie year to injury;
“He’s fast, but you just look at him, you don’t think he is. He sneaks up on you. I think people underestimated his speed sometimes. But he catches the ball. He gets open. And he’s got some toughness to him.”
So how does Coale fit in with the present wide receiving corp? Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams, and Dwayne Harris are all locks for the 53 man roster. Danny Coale will compete with Cole Beasley for the fifth WR job. And if Beasley and Coale prove to be too valuable to cut, the team may be forced to keep six wide receivers in 2013.
Linebacker Caleb McSurdy has been the forgotten man of the 2012 draft. McSurdy was drafted in the seventh round last year out of Montana.
McSurdy may have the toughest competition for a spot on the roster. He will be competing for the final linebacker position with Ernie Sims, Alex Albright, Brandon Magee, DeVonte Holloman, Tank Reed and Cameron Lawrence Caleb McSurdy was a favorite of Jerry Jones last year, but his season ended early when he tore his achilles in training camp.
McSurdy’s best and perhaps only chance to make the team is on special teams. And fortunately for McSurdy, this happens to be where he excels.
For these three second year players, the 2013 training camp will be absolutely vital for their chance to impact the season. If he can stay healthy, expect Matt Johnson to start at free safety for the Cowboys this year. Danny Coale should also be able to crack the roster as the fifth or sixth wide receiver on the team. With all the new linebackers that the Dallas Cowboys have brought in this off-season, Caleb McSurdy is currently on the outside looking in.