Cowboys Top 5 UDFAs Who Can Make the Team
Over the years, the Dallas Cowboys have been one of the best at unearthing hidden gems as undrafted rookie free agents. Tony Romo, Cole Beasley, Barry Church and Lance Dunbar were all undrafted. There always seem to be one or two undrafted players who make the team each year. UDFA's Tyler Patmon and Dustin Vaughan were those guys last season. Now, Patmon has a chance to win the slot CB spot and Vaughan could potentially steal the backup QB spot from Brandon Weeden.
While Byron Jones and Randy Gregory will get the vast majority of the spotlight as the Cowboys' top two draft picks (and while La'el Collins is already the subject of lots of in-depth coverage here at CHQ), there are plenty of guys in the shadows who are just waiting for their opportunity to steal a roster spot in 2015. Here is my list of the top five UDFA's that have the best shot of making the team.
OT La'El Collins - 6'4" & 305 lbs. - LSU
Might as well start with the most obvious choice here. La'el Collins was projected to be a top-10 pick but went undrafted because of a murder as he was being questioned by the police. While he wasn't a suspect, teams were still hesitant to draft Collins until they knew that his name was officially cleared. However, when that happened, Jerry jumped at the opportunity to add another dominant OL to an already strong group.
Collins plays with fierceness and physicality. He's also a good athlete, ranking in the top 10 among all OT's at the combine in his 40-yard dash, broad jump and 3-cone drill. Collins was also credited with 222.5 knockdown blocks in his 45-game career at LSU and was voted team captain.
After going undrafted, most teams had their eye on Collins. However, it was Jerry who got to him first and worked his salesmanship magic. (And a fully guaranteed salary of $1.675.5 mil plus a $21,000 signing bonus.) Collins is a lock to make the team and could start out at LG, in place of Ronald Leary, and could potentially replace Doug Free as the starting RT in a year or two. With basically four young first-round offensive linemen, Jerry Jones may have put together the best offensive line since The Great Wall of the 90's.
WR George Farmer - 6'1" & 220 lbs. - USC
Farmer was one of the team's top priorities in free agency - which is apparent when you see the $55,000 guaranteed that they're giving him (including $15K in signing bonus). That also tells you that other teams were actively pursuing him as well and the Cowboys had to give him an offer he couldn't refuse.
Farmer's stats are underwhelming (25 catches, 314 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2014), but he was extremely under-utizlied at USC and some argue his coaches failed to take advantage of his skill-sets. But there's a reason that so many teams were in a hurry to sign him after the draft.
For starters, Farmer has great speed - running a 4.35 40-yard dash at his pro day. He was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school in 2011. In fact, he was the No. 1 wide receiver prospect that year - higher than Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry, Kelvin Benjamin and 2014 Rookie of the Year, Odell Beckham Jr. In fact, Farmer was the No. 3 prospect overall in 2011.
A notebook on George Farmer's Pro Day is here.
Even though he wasn't given an opportunity to reach those expectations in college, he has all of the physical tools to be a contributing player in the NFL.
WR Lucky Whitehead - 5'9" & 179 lbs. - Florida Atlantic
Yes, another wide receiver. Whitehead is a little on the smaller side, but that doesn't mean he couldn't be a major asset to this team. The Cowboys already have one pint-sized wideout in Cole Beasley, but Whitehead could carve out a role for himself as well.
Don't let his size fool you. Whitehead is a strong guy. His 20 bench-press reps at his Pro Day would've been the 4th best among all WR's at the combine. He also would've had the 5th best 40-yard dash and the 9th best 3-cone drill. Whitehead averaged 24.7 yards per kick return and 16.4 per punt return in 2014. He also had 76 catches for 706 yards and 6 TD's, as well as a couple of rushing touchdowns.
The Cowboys are in need of a return-specialist. Whitehead could not only fill that role, but he has the ability to play on the coverage unit, block in the run game and provide a spark on offense from time to time. This guy could potentially be the ideal replacement for Dwayne Harris, who signed with the Giants in free agency.
He's got on thing going for him already: "Lucky Whitehead'' is one of draft weekend's coolest names.
RB Synjyn Days - 6'1" & 230 lbs. - Georgia Tech
Many Cowboys fans were disappointed when the Cowboys neglected to address the running back position in the draft. However, that doesn't mean the Cowboys aren't looking for help there. While he's not Todd Gurley, Synjyn Days could in theory have a nice role on this team ... in part because of his versatility.
Days averaged 5.9 yards per carry in 2014 with 9 touchdowns and 924 yards. He also had 3 catches for 33 yards and a receiving TD. His 22 bench press reps at his Pro Day would've been tied with Tevin Coleman and TJ Yeldon for 10th most among all RB's at the combine. He also would've had the 7th best 3-cone drill.
A package of info on Synjyn Days is here.
So Days is a power back? Days has very good vision and balance and runs with power. The Cowboys could use a short-yardage running back. But he's also a kid who at Georgia Tech played QB, and in different spots in the backfield, and sometimes ran the Wildcat. We'll see if Days is an option to fill any role in a Cowboys backfield that, as Fish writes here in his "Running Back Fibs'' column, is settled for now but always on the lookout.
DB Tim Scott - 5'11" & 190 lbs. - North Carolina
The Cowboys helped improve their secondary by grabbing the freakish-athlete Byron Jones in the 1st round. However, they could still use some help there - particularly at safety, considering the fact that they only have three currently on their roster.
Scott can play both cornerback and safety, and we all know how much the Cowboys love versatility. Scott's 40-yard dash at his Pro Day would've been the 7th best among all safeties at the combine. He also would've been in the top 5 in his bench press and 3-cone drill. He had 78 tackles in 2014. In his 4-year career, he had 218 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 8 INT's, 29 PBU's, 1 FF and 2 defensive touchdowns.
Scott can also play on special teams, which will be key if he wants to earn a roster spot in 2015. His ability to play multiple positions in the secondary at a high level will also give the Cowboys the flexibility they want on defense.
A report on Tim Scott as a UNC leader is here.
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