If you were hanging out on BTB during training camp, you'll have noticed one name cropping up repeatedly in both rabblerousr's and my reports from camp: DE Ben Bass.
Today Ben Bass was promoted to the 53-man roster in what must be one of the most unlikely stories of the season. The 6-4, 288 Texas A&M graduate was not drafted, did not receive a pre-draft invite to Dallas Days, and was only added to the Cowboys' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, and only because he lived in Plano, Texas anyway. Once there though, he impressed along the defensive line with his high motor and eventually got signed to the 90-man roster when a few spots opened up.
At the time, Bass was such an under-the-radar prospect that I had to ask our good friend Long Ball for some info on him. This is what Long Ball said:
"Outstanding prep career at Plano West High School (saw him play a few games) and was in a recruiting "tug-of-war" between OU and A&M . . . went to Aggie-land and had a so-so career, hurt more by lack of talent on defense as much as anything. Has an NFL-ready body for a 3-4 DE at 6'4" and 285, quick off the snap, needs to be coached up on recognition."
That assessment was later confirmed when Bass continued to show up in camp and showed up in the first preseason game against the Raiders with 5 tackles, two of which were for a loss, a sack and a QB hit. The Cowboys successfully stashed him on the practice squad, and with the injury to Kenyon Coleman, will call him up today or tomorrow.
Coach Garrett was almost effusive in his praise for Bass as he recounted how Bass made the transition from obscure walk-on at rookie minicamp to the 53-man roster:
“Great example of guy, came in presented with an opportunity,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You try to draft guys as well as you can draft them, then you sign guys as well as you can sign them after and you think you know more about some than the other guys. We liked him, but from Day 1 he came in and showed us be belonged here in some way, shape or form.
"He really took advantage of the opportunities. He learned. He grew before our eyes and just made a lot of plays both defending the run and also rushing the passer. He’s the guy, kind of came from nowhere, certainly from obscurity and showed us he deserved to be on this football team.”
Per Carlos Mendez from the Star Telegram, Jason Hatcher was also very complimentary of the young DE today:
Jason Hatcher says Ben Bass 'has been kicking you-know-what on the practice squad all year against our 1 offensive line.'
Hatcher went on to say that Ben Bass and Tyrone Crawford 'are the future here. I'm just going to enjoy my time, play my butt off, while I'm here.'
In other injury-related roster moves, the Cowboys had called up recently signed CB Vince Agnew to the 53-man roster last week, and Agnew promptly saw five defensive snaps and four special teams snaps against the Eagles on Sunday.
To make room for Agnew on the roster, the Cowboys had waived newly-signed linebacker
The Cowboys also announced the addition of two practice squad players in linebacker Jerry Franklin and defensive end Tevita Finau.
Many of the young players now getting their first taste of the NFL are getting their chance because of injuries to players previously on the roster. Such is the nature of the NFL.
Having said that, it's also worth keeping in mind that the Cowboys have already racked up a sizable list of players on their Injured Reserve List, with Kenyon Coleman's season-ending triceps injury making him the seventh player on the Cowboys IR List. Here's an overview: