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The Dallas Cowboys – All-Undrafted Team

With all this focus on the draft I thought it worth noting that the Cowboys have a strong history of picking up undrafted free agents.  There are some impressive names here: Harris, Walls, Pearson, Newton, Green.   Interesting that arguably the two biggest Cowboy "snubs" for the HOF (Harris and Pearson) were both UDFAs  - makes you wonder if lack of College stardom counts against them. 

Big Gaps & Strong Positions

I studied the historical roster to identify the "All-Undrafted" team, but fell a little short.  There were big gaps around certain positions - notably no-one worth mentioning in the defensive front seven.   From its very first pick in the draft (Bob Lilly), Dallas has spent a lot of high draft picks on the defensive beef up front.   

Conversely, we have 3 undrafted DB's with 15 Pro Bowls and 7 All-Pro selections between them and a number who didn't make the list, including Benny Barnes (75 games started), Dennis Thurman (60 GS), Larry Brown (74 GS, 1 SB MVP),  Dextor Clinkscale (46 GS).  

 

Few Journeymen

Going through this process I was surprised how few "journeymen" undrafted players there were.  It seems you either turn into a star or you get turned over.   Probably a fairly intuitive reason for this - if a UDFA doesn't show promise early they don't get much benefit of the doubt and thus time to develop.   Romo and Austin are rare exceptions - players who by good judgement (and a measure of good luck - thank you Quincy) are given time to develop.  

 

The  undrafteds

This is the list of players who were not drafted, years played for the Cowboys and games started (in some cases an estimate as records of this don't seem to have been kept consistently).   Last column is Pro-Bowls and All-Pro selections. 

QB

Tony Romo

2004-

45

2 PB

RB

Dan Reeves

1965-72

36

-

FB

Robert Thomas

1998-02

36

-

WR

Drew Pearson 

1973-83

136

3 PB  3 AP

WR

Miles Austin

2006-

16

1 PB

TE

Pettis Norman

1962-70

90

-

OT

Mark Tuinei

1983-97

147

2 PB

OG

Nate Newton

1986-98

180

6 PB 2 AP

C

Dave Manders

1964-74

139

1 PB

CB

Everson Walls 

1981-89  

133

4 PB  1 AP

CB

Cornell Green

1962-74

170

5 PB  3 AP

S

Cliff Harris

1970-79

130

6 PB  3 AP

S

Michael Downs

1981-88

116

-

K

Richie Cunningham

1997-99

44

1 AP

P

Matt McBriar

2005-09

86

1 PB

 

 

So who might be our UDFA's who may still develop?

Clearly Ogletree has shown the greatest potential so far.   But I think Travis Bright and Marcus Dixon have great potential to develop into starters.  

Any others?   Any potential UDFA's out there in this crop that you have your eye on?

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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