Don't worry, this is not going to be a story about feline Michael Vick jokes (although the possibilities would be endless).
"Pet Cat" is a Parcells-ism, a term Bill Parcells popularized in Cowboys Country when he was the head coach in Dallas. The term initially referred to a prospect whom a coach, scout or owner had taken a particular liking to, often based on little more than a whim, and whom they would then try to draft, regardless of what the scouting consensus was.
Among Cowboys fans, pet cat usually refers to a player who is a bubble player (even making the practice squad is often considered pet cat success) and is commonly selected from the very bottom of the roster where you'll find late-round draft picks, undrafted free agents or even street free agents.
The pet cat is often - and preferably - chosen without the slightest factual or quantifiable basis. In fact, some would argue that you do not choose your pet cat, your pet cat chooses you.
After the break we look at which players the BTB writers have picked as their pet cats and present the most up-to-date Cowboys roster from which you can tell us:
Who is your pet cat to make the roster this year?
Dave: My pet cat is FB Shaun Chapas. I don't know why, but I've always had a soft spot for a good fullback and have written about it occasionally over the years. Perhaps it goes back to my fascination as a kid with that 'fire-hydrant with a head on top', Robert Newhouse. I think Jason Garrett wants to find a fullback in the mold of Moose. A guy who is a tough lead blocker but can also be counted on in the passing game. Lately, the Cowboys have either gotten guys who are primarily blockers, or used hybrid-TEs at the position. Of course, Chapas will probably never be the equivalent of Moose, I mean who is?, but hopefully he can provide Garrett with a close facsimile.
Kegbearer: OG David Arkin seems to be the prototype of the new Cowboys o-lineman, tough, smart, athletic and a leader that looks forward to contact. Most think Davis' release assures Holland a starting job, but Arkin will give him a run for his money. Just like Phil Costa will push Gurode for the job at center. These two may not start in 2011, but it wouldn't surprise me and they should provide intense camp battles.
Rabblerousr: It's been asked who will be the Cowboys short yardage runner now that Marion Barber has departed. I submit to you UDFA RB Phillip Tanner, a compact power back (measuring 5-10 and 210) who finishes off runs with authority. He’s a one-cut runner who can make tacklers miss. He shows good peripheral vision, runs through arm tackles, moves the pile in short yardage situations and is tough to bring down. Like third-rounder DeMarco Murray, Tanner offers positional versatility, with the ability to play wide receiver and return kicks.
KD Drummond: My personal pet cat would be WR Teddy Williams. There's no denying Williams' speed, and the fact that he didn't play a lick of football in the collegiate ranks only adds to the intrigue and possibilities of a story book ending. We've seen in DeSean Jackson that a one trick pony can be a dynamic threat, not that there should be any comparison between the two players outside of raw speed. Did I mention that he made the team as a practice squad cornerback last year? We really have no idea what to expect out of Williams, but the fact that he was the fastest man in the world for a bit in 2009... color me interested.
OCC: I'm going to go with QB Zack Eskridge, if for no other reason than that he sounds a lot like Romo. He has a 65.7 career completion percentage, is a small school prospect and meets the 26-27-60 rule for college quarterbacks (although we don't have a Wonderlic result). The 6-foot-3, 223 pound Eskridge passed for 6,953 yards and 64 TDs for the MSU Mustangs, and a spot on the practice squad must probably already be considered a success. Eskridge has a little headstart going into camp, as he has been working out at times over the last three months with Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice and Jesse Holley, among others.
"I already know these guys going in, so it's exciting," Zack said. "We would talk about it being cool if I got signed by the Cowboys. It hasn't even sunk in yet. I'm sure it'll be a whole different feeling when I get there and get around somebody. It's pretty awesome."
Below is the roster as it stands today, excluding the free agents, even if some of them might be back. The splits are based on who was where on the roster (i.e. 53-man roster, IR, practice squad etc.) at the end of the 2010 season. Make your pick wisely, you will be held accountable at the beginning of September when the rosters are set.
|1||Austin, Miles||WR||44||Arkin, David||G|
|2||Ball, Alan||S||45||Carter, Bruce||LB|
|3||Bennett, Martellus||TE||46||Chapas, Shaun||FB|
|4||Brent, Josh||DT||47||Harris, Dwayne||WR|
|5||Brooking, Keith||LB||48||Murray, DeMarco||RB|
|6||Buehler, David||K||49||Nagy, Bill||C|
|7||Butler, Victor||LB||50||Smith, Tyron||OT|
|8||Choice, Tashard||RB||51||Thomas, Josh||CB|
|9||Church, Barry||S||Injured Reserve|
|10||Costa, Phil||G||52||Bryant, Dez||WR|
|11||Cummings, Kenwin||LB||53||Lissemore, Sean||DT|
|12||Free, Doug||OT||54||Ogletree, Kevin||WR|
|13||Geathers, Clifton||DE||55||Owusu-Ansah, Akwasi||S|
|14||Gronkowski, Chris||FB||56||Phillips, John||TE|
|15||Gurode, Andre||C||57||Romo, Tony||QB|
|17||Holley, Jesse||WR||- -
|18||James, Bradie||LB||58||Daniels, Alex||DE|
|20||Johnson, Manuel||WR||60||Moturi, Jeff||WR|
|21||Jones, Felix||RB||61||Pociask, Jason||TE|
|22||Kitna, Jon||QB||62||Weaver, Ross||CB|
|24||Ladouceur, L.P.||LS||63||Acuna, Jose||OL|
|25||Lee, Sean||LB||64||Adams, Corey||LS|
|26||McBriar, Mat||P||65||Albright, Alex||LB|
|27||McCann, Bryan||CB||66||Armour, Lamark||DE|
|28||McCray, Danny||S||67||Bailey, Dan||K|
|29||McGee, Stephen||QB||68||Bradford, William||NT|
|30||Miller, Lonyae||RB||69||Butler, Mario||CB|
|31||Newman, Terence||CB||70||Eskridge, Zack||QB|
|32||Olshansky, Igor||DE||71||Jones, Chris||P|
|33||Parnell, Jermey||OT||72||Kowalski, Kevin||OC/OG|
|34||Ratliff, Jay||DT||73||Lemon, Orie||LB|
|35||Rucker, Martin||TE||74||Leong, Lyle||WR|
|36||Scandrick, Orlando||CB||75||Letuli, Laupepa||RT|
|37||Sendejo, Andrew||S||76||Mace, Kennan||DE|
|38||Spencer, Anthony||LB||77||Radway, Raymond||WR|
|39||Ware, DeMarcus||LB||78||Randle, Chris||CB|
|40||Williams, Brandon||LB||79||Tanner, Phillip||RB|
|41||Williams, Teddy||WR||- -
|42||Witten, Jason||TE||- -||Tonga, Matangi||DE|
|43||Young, Sam||OT||80||Zych, Collin||S|
|Red denotes playesr who have subsequently been released|