College Free Agents On The Dallas Cowboys Roster: Good Scouting Or Lack Of Roster Depth?

So far, kicker Dan Bailey, pictured here with a guy signed off the street in 2003, has been the best UDFA signing of the past two years for the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys have traditionally been a good place for college free agents who went undrafted. Everybody has, of course, heard the story of Tony Romo and Miles Austin, to name just two of the more recent examples of undrafted free agents who eventually ended up as stars for the Cowboys.

Over the last two years, eight UDFA players made the Cowboys' opening-day roster, and it probably would have been nine had Raymond Radway not been injured in the final 2011 preseason game. Here are the Cowboys' UDFAs who survived training camp to make it onto the initial 53-man roster, and who combined for 1,436 offensive or defensive snaps in 2011.

  • 2010: OC Phil Costa, S Barry Church, S Danny McCray, FB Chris Gronkowski.
  • 2011: RB Phillip Tanner, OC Kevin Kowalski, OLB Alex Albright, K Dan Bailey

After the break, we take a look at how those numbers compare to the Cowboys' NFC East competitors.

Here's an overview of all UDFAs on the season-opening 53-man NFC East rosters for the last two years:

UDFAs on the NFC East Opening Day Rosters, 2010 & 2011
Team Cowboys (8)
Eagles (3)
Giants (5)
Redskins (7)
2010 UDFAs OC Phil Costa, S Barry Church, S Danny McCray, FB Chris Gronkowski P Chas Henry, DT Cedric Thornton WR Victor Cruz, WR Duke Calhoun LB Darrel Young, RB Keiland Williams, OC Nick Sundberg, TE Logan Paulson, WR Brandon Banks, WR Anthony Armstrong
2011 UDFAS RB Phillip Tanner, OC Kevin Kowalski, OLB Alex Albright, K Dan Bailey OT Austin Howard LB Mark Herzlich, LB Spencer Paysinger, FB Henry Hynoski OG Willie Smith
2011 Snaps 1,436 0 1,550 965

Note that the snaps are only offensive and defensive snaps, special teams snaps are not included.

Also, all four teams had UDFAs who who initially made the practice squad and were later called up to the 53-man roster, or were signed off the street as injury replacements (like Cowboys punter Chris Jones). Those 'late arrivals' are not included in this overview, the tble contains only the players who made the initial 53-man roster straight out of training camp.

Do the relatively high number of UDFAs and UDFA snaps mean the Cowboys have a good scouting department or is it evidence that they don't have a lot of depth across the roster? And what would your answer mean for the 2012 UDFA class?

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