The Dallas Cowboys training camp opens soon and I have a few pet cats that everyone should know
The Dallas Cowboys have an abundance of big names but it is the “pet cats” or little known players that I will be keeping an eye on with a shot to make the opening day roster. Pet cats are players that have little or no name recognition to the casual fan that have caught my eye.
The first guy out of the gate has the biggest name but didn’t get a lot of playing time last year. Safety Donovan Wilson is a guy that showed promise in preseason last year but was an afterthought when the season began.
The former sixth-round pick out of Texas A&M showed very good ball skills during the preseason intercepting two passes and played very good run support. This player should get a fair opportunity to become a regular rotational player and could have an outside chance at starting.
Both presumed starting safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Xavier Woods have more free safety qualities and what Dallas lacks is that traditional box safety. This leaves the door cracked for Wilson to take his shot.
Wilson does have the ability to play free safety as both of his interceptions came from Wilson deep in coverage and breaking on the ball. His interception against the 49ers showed that he is not easily fooled or moved by quarterbacks eyes.
On the outside, linebacker looks like a spot that was secure but upon further review, the Dallas Cowboys do not have a lot of depth heading into the season. This should give my second pet cat an opportunity to make the roster.
Linebacker Luke Gifford played Sean Lee “like” during the preseason. He showed he has the instincts to play the position and has a very good feel in zone coverage. He also has the ability to shoot gaps before lineman can get their hands on him. Don’t be surprised if Gifford becomes an instant fan favorite.
Special teams are where he should make his mark but becoming the dime backer is something that this guy could be especially good at early. I think that Gifford could push linebacker Jay March for a roster spot.
Pet cats aren’t just relegated to the Dallas Cowboys defense
Tackle Mitch Hyatt is a gut that I have talked about before and I am anxiously awaiting to see what he can do in year two. Hyatt showed poor strength and footwork in the preseason last year but the front office decided to keep him around and I think I know why.
Hyatt needed to add functional strength to his game which should allow him to concentrate on his footwork during camp. Current swing tackle Cameron Erving is only here on a one year deal and if Hyatt can show he is able to play in this league, having a cheaper, younger option in a reserve capacity allows this team to shoot for more stars in other areas of the roster.
Tight end is another spot where I think the Dallas Cowboys are especially light. If anything were to happen to tight end Blake Jarwin, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble. Rookie undrafted free agent Sean McKeon is another pet cat that could really turn some heads in camp.
McKeon is an adequate blocker and must show he can handle that in camp. He is not a fast player but is smooth in and out of his breaks. I think that whole “smooth is quick, quick is fast” saying definitely applies to this guy.
At the very least, I think McKeon could have the third tight end spot wrapped with an outside chance of contributing by midseason. This is more indicative of the position group not being as strong than the player being pro-ready. Let’s face it, if McKeon was so good then why wasn’t he drafted?
Regardless, McKeon is a pet cat of mine and should be able to contribute to this team that has a lot of mouths to feed. Having a young guy that has promise weighs more than a journeyman tight end with a bigger salary.
Late round and undrafted guys have tough times making rosters but these four guys have a shot to not only make the roster but contribute to what should be a deep playoff run.