As of this juncture, the Cowboys have inked (ok, well verbally inked) eight undrafted free agent rookies to join them in San Antonio. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if teams are going to have expanded non-game day rosters; it will be extremely difficult for some of these guys to prove their worth without all of the rookie mini camps and OTAs that have been lost from the schedule. The Cowboys are one of the best teams at using the UDFA signing period to find hidden gems. I decided to look at the primary areas that I can see these players getting a shot to shine.
Danny McCray, Barry Church and even Bryan McCann now have a face to place on their respective competitions for rounding out the depth charts. David Buehler might as well. I took extra special care to highlight the areas where Buehler struggled, like, placekicking. Ever the optimist, wouldn't it be awesome if the year the Eagles spent a draft pick on a kicker, we get a better one off the scrap heap? Here's your first look at four members of the 2011 haul. If our amateur draftniks choose to weigh in, use the comments section to expand our knowledge base on any of the additions.
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Mario Butler, CB, Georgia Tech
From NFLDraftScout.com - Ranked 51st best Corner in the 2011 draft
Positives: Smooth and fluid, can flip hips and change directions without losing speed, and looks natural in his backpedal. Provides tight man coverage without giving up a lot of separation. Durable three-year starter improved every year. Did a decent job against top competition, most recently against A.J. Green of Georgia. Effective in both man and zone schemes. Gives good effort against the run. Smart in the classroom - top intangibles.
Negatives: Thin build, can be easily blocked by receivers. Will have to get stronger to be effective in the NFL against the run. Didn't play a lot of "press man" coverage, likely because he doesn't hold up well to contact. While fluid and athletic, is not overly fast and may lack the true "sixth gear" speed for NFL man coverage assignments without deep help. Ball skills are decent but nothing special.
From National Football Post - Ranked 34th best Corner in the draft
Impression: He's long and physical, and although he does play a bit high, the guy has the natural balance and body control to compete for a roster spot.
Pro Day Results:
40 Yrd Dash: 4.56
20 Yrd Dash: 2.56
10 Yrd Dash: 1.61 225 Lb. Bench Reps:
Vertical Jump: 33 1/2
Broad Jump: 10'05"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.49
Justin Taplin-Ross, S, Utah
National Football Post 20th ranked strong safety
NFLDraftScout.com 18th ranked free safety
Taplin-Ross was sighted by Big Cat Country talking to Cowboys scouts at the East West Shrine game. Newerascouting.com interviewed him prior to the draft here.
Scott Porter: What type of person is an NFL team getting in Justin Taplin-Ross?
Justin Taplin-Ross: They are getting a very hard worker who is all about the team. I like to train and work hard to reach my full potential. I take responsibility for my actions and put myself into the best situation I can. I take the responsibility to get myself ready for a game. You don’t have to worry about me not being ready and not being a smart guy off or on the field.
Scott Porter: What do you feel will be the toughest transition from the college to the pro level?
Justin Taplin-Ross: The speed will be one. Also, we played a lot of teams and dominated them. In the NFL it is hard to be as dominating because these are the best players playing the game. Every game is going to be very tough week in and week out. In the NFL everyone is playing at the same level and I am very much looking forward to it.
Pro Day Results:
40 Yrd Dash: 4.53
20 Yrd Dash: 2.63
10 Yrd Dash: 1.61 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 23
Vertical Jump: 37
Broad Jump: 10'02"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.33
3-Cone Drill: 6.81
Chris Randle, CB, Utah State
79th ranked CB on NFLDraftScout.com, with no profile. Unranked by NFP.
Pro Day Results:
40 Yrd Dash: 4.52
20 Yrd Dash: 2.57
10 Yrd Dash: 1.58 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 14
Vertical Jump: 37
Broad Jump: 10'07"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.48
3-Cone Drill: 7.21
Quickly: Took bigger leadership role during spring, both on and off the field... Had big spring, coming up with big plays during scrimmages... Enters senior season with 11 career pass break-ups along with two career interceptions and 108 tackles (80 solo, 28 assists).
2009 (Jr.): Started all 12 games, one of four defenders and one of eight Aggies overall to do so... Posted 53 total tackles (38 solo, 15 assists), tying for fourth overall and third among defensive backs... Added two tackles for loss with one sack, the first of his career... Tallied a team-high seven pass break-ups, ranking tied for seventh in the WAC... Was also 10th overall in the league in passes defended with eight off seven pass break-ups and one interception, for a 0.58 passes defended per game average... Added a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a blocked kick... Recorded a career-high three pass break-ups in the New Mexico State game, while lone interception of the season came in the home-opener against Southern Utah.
Dan Bailey, K, Oklahoma State
Has become a steady force in the kicking game and already ranks as OSU's No. 10 all-time scorer with 214 points ... Has handled placekicking duties since midway through the 2007 season and was also responsible for kickoff duties prior to 2009 ... The 110 points he scored in 2008 represents the fourth best single-season total in OSU history ... Has never missed an extra-point attempt in his Cowboy career and has converted a school record 131 in a row ... He is 24-of-26 on career field goal attempts inside 40 yards.
Year XP-A FGM-A 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 Lg Blk 2007 20-20 2-4 0-0 2-2 0-0 0-2 0-0 28 0 2008 65-65 15-19 2-2 9-10 2-2 2-3 0-2 45 0 2009 46-46 13-18 0-0 5-5 4-5 3-6 1-2 51 1 Career 131-131 30-41 2-2 16-17 6-7 5-11 1-4 51 1