With a history of finding special team aces among undrafted rookie free agents, did the Dallas Cowboys just find another one this offseason? One insider believes so.
The Dallas Cowboys have a knack of making impactful special teams players out of undrafted rookie free agents. The poster child of course being legendary Cowboys safety Bill Bates, whose play as a special teamer forced the NFL to create a Pro Bowl spot for him in1984.
In recent years, both safeties Danny McCray and Jeff Heath have followed Bates’ example as undrafted rookie free agents who have been able to become key special teams contributors and who found themselves a valued place on America’s Team for many seasons.
Now, one legendary Cowboys’ insider believes Dallas might have just found their next undrafted rookie to take up that special teams’ mantel.
"“…this will be a difficult roster for any rookie free-agent to crack,” wrote Rick Gosselin, Special Contributor for the Dallas Morning News. “The Cowboys are the defending NFC East champion and finished with the best record in the NFC last season at 13-3. But I do see one rookie free agent who could have a clear path to the field — linebacker Lucas Wacha. But not necessarily as a linebacker.”"
A 6-foot-1, 230 pound linebacker out of Wyoming, Wacha’s lack of size kept him off draft boards in April. But his production, consistency and 4.58 speed had NFL teams falling over themselves to try and land him in free agency.
In his last two seasons in college, the four-year starter averaged 102 total tackles per season. Wacha posted 108 tackles, 9.0 tackles for a loss, 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 games his senior year.
The Cowboys have some unanswered questions at the linebacker position heading into training camp. All eyes will be on the development of former 2016 second round selection Jaylon Smith, as he attempts to regain his previous form after suffering a devastating knee injury in college.
And earlier this month, projected starting strongside linebacker Damien Wilson was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Wilson’s availability and status with the team is certainly in question following the incident.
Although rookie linebacker Lucas Wacha enters Dallas Cowboys’ training camp at a position that does have some needs, his most likely path to finding a place on the Cowboys 2017 active roster is on special teams. And as one of the best and most consistent tacklers in all of college football the last two seasons, the undrafted 24-year old rookie has the tools to become Dallas’ next special teams ace.