The Dallas Cowboys may have rubbed some the wrong way by taking Tulsa’s Tyler Smith in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but they were praised for a robust cast of undrafted free agents. Safety Markquese Bell, whom many expected to be drafted, was one of the shiniest diamonds Dallas unearthed.
The Cowboys have some noteworthy names in their UDFA crop, including former Boston College lineman Alec Lindstrom and Ole Miss wideout Dontario Drummond. However, if you are going to select one player with the best odds of making the final roster, Bell might be the choice.
Bell is a 6-2 safety with plus speed who proved to be much too good for the FCS level. In his final season with Florida A&M, Bell led the Rattlers with 95 tackles while recording two sacks and an interception. Some considered Bell to be the best HBCU prospect in this class.
Bell tested well on the pre-draft circuit, jumping over 10 feet in the broad jump and running a 4.45 40-yard dash. While he is still a bit raw and is coming from a lower level of competition, his skills will make him one of the must-see attractions of Cowboys training camp.
Markquese Bell may make the Dallas Cowboys as a UDFA
Bell’s straightline speed for someone his size is very impressive, and everything about his athletic profile seems to suggest he will have no problem matching up against NFL athletes. Putting him down in the box could make him even more lethal, as his hard-hitting is enviable.
While he was not the ballhawk or turnover generator that many would expect an elite prospect to be at the FCS level, that shouldn’t frighten the Cowboys too much. Dan Quinn has successfully rehabilitated his image as a master developer of defensive backs, giving Bell quite an encyclopedia of knowledge to draw on.
Bell has more guaranteed money than any of Dallas’s stable of undrafted players. This could be a sign that the Cowboys are more bullish on Bell’s potential than some of the other lottery tickets that are available to them. Bell could make an impact in a secondary that is still figuring things out.
Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker might be penciled in as the starters, but Donovan Wilson and Israel Mukuamu don’t exactly have vice grips on either backup job. Quinn turned 6-3 Kam Chancellor from a fifth-rounder into a star, and he could do the same, albeit to a lesser extent, with Bell.