All the Dallas Cowboys hype is centered around their newest draft class. But some undrafted rookie free agents have a shot at the opening day roster too.
I’m assuming that most people thought that the Dallas Cowboys had a successful run during the 2020 NFL Draft last month. Almost all of their selections reportedly had a higher grade than where they were selected according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.
The Cowboys also had a very good undrafted free-agent (UDFA) rookie class that included a few players I thought should have been drafted. If you take a look at the roster, there are some areas that the team doesn’t have a lot of depth and that is where some of these UDFA’s can make it simply because of the low numbers.
The tight end group is both thin and inexperienced. Blake Jarwin is the presumed starter because of the deal he just recently signed. Dalton Schultz was brought in for his blocking but rarely comes out on the stat sheet while Blake Bell and Cole Hikutini are depth players that have to show this new coaching staff what they can do.
Michigan University and Cowboys UDFA tight end Sean McKeon is a 6-foot-5, 246-pound inline blocking tight end with smooth route-running skills. I think the erratic quarterback play at Michigan cost this player an opportunity to showcase what he can really do.
McKeon needs to get stronger at the point of attack and doesn’t offer much burst on his routes but he is smooth and can find holes in a zone which can be a quarterback’s best friend. In my mind, this player will find a way to be on the opening day roster.
Kansas edge player Azur Kamara lined up all over the field for the Jayhawks and played well against higher competition. Kamara is 6-foot-3 but is a light 240 pounds. His motor is always running and flies all over the field. The guy just hasn’t played a ton of football but his raw skills are undeniable.
This is the kind of player that could sneak his way onto the roster because teams do not want to risk losing him on waiver during cut downs. He needs to develop some pass rush moves and learn to turn his hips and dip his shoulders. Correctable things that are not uncommon to learn in this league.
I have always believed that the best special teams players have a motor that doesn’t quit. If Kamara can play special teams with the same effort as he does on defense, this guy has enough to be the next good undrafted pickup by the Dallas Cowboys front office and scouting department.
Illinois State safety Luther Kirk intrigues me because you never know how a small school standout will respond playing in the big leagues. Kirk played both strong and free safety but I felt while watching his film that he roamed more than he played a certain position.
The guy is fundamentally sound when tackling and is more than willing to stick his head in every play. I just think Kirk was late to diagnose plays but he often ended up making the play anyway. If he can get the mental game down, this guy has a chance.
With the Dallas safety depth a question mark, the ability to play faster will depend on how Kirk can handle the game from the neck up. Kirk is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound versatile defender that will also have to make his mark playing special teams.
Kirk also has experience covering receivers in the slot and is also very effective blitzing off the edge. His versatility might make him more attractive than someone who is limited in what they can do. Kirk was also named defensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Bowl.
There is a lot of buzz surrounding UDFA’s Ron’Dell Carter and Garrett Marino but the numbers on the defensive line make their attempts at cracking the roster much harder than the three players mentioned above.
Even UDFA wide receivers Stephen Guidry and Kendrick Rodgers will have a tough time because they offer the same thing the current receivers on the roster. Big, long, jump-ball players that have to refine their route-running skills.
I am surprised by the lack of smaller quicker slot wideouts that aren’t on the roster. It seems that the new Dallas Cowboys coaching staff has a certain player mold in mind.
The scouting department has done a phenomenal job when it comes to alerting the front office on undrafted players. Quarterback Tony Romo is probably the most notable but players like tight end Blake Jarwin, safety Jeff Heath, and Kicker Dan Bailey are UDFA’s that can make big impacts. Finding better cheaper players is how you build the middle and back-end of rosters.