There's been quite a bit of discussion this offseason about a Cowboys player who didn't log a single snap last season. In fact, second-year guard David Arkin didn't even make the active roster for a single game during his rookie campaign. Coming from a small school, the fourth-round pick from Missouri State snuck into Goose Gosselin's Top 100 and was snapped up by Dallas over draft weekend.
Arkin, however, wasn't ready for primetime. It used to be that players had a long developmental curve. Given at least two years to develop behind a veteran, middle-round picks weren't expected to do much initially. Somehow, probably because Dallas made the bold move of the Yuglies Movement, the fact that David Arkin wasn't included marked him as an early bust.
The Dallas brass, which included former offensive line coach Hudson Houck, seemed to know that Arkin wouldn't be ready to play last year. Remember, the draft was held during the early stages of the lockout, and probably long before Dallas' strategy to release multiple lineman was ever finalized. April to August is a long time to change strategies.
For what it's worth, head coach Jason Garrett told the world that they didn't plan for Arkin to play as early as October last year.
"We had our eyes wide open as to what his developmental process would be, the expectations for a guy like that coming from a smaller school is not to jump in there and play immediately,"
"There are a lot of things we liked about him intangibly. He’s a tough guy, he loves to play football. Physically, we feel like he has the traits as well, but it’s going to be a process."
Now whether that's real talk or coach cover-up is for the reader to decide. The facts are that the offensive line coach that signed off on Arkin is no longer here. The new man in charge, Bill Callahan, was rumored to not have been very impressed with the tape he saw of Arkin.
Follow for more...
Now, there's a big difference in reviewing the tape of a player from a small school that never got to go to OTAs or be in a strength and conditioning program and getting a real, clean look at him in person in training camp. In short, Callahan might change his mind come August 2012. There could be a position for Arkin on the roster; maybe as a backup, maybe looking towards 2013. There could be a visit from the turk looming. The important thing for fans to remember is that we're all just playing a guessing game until there's movement.
After Mackenzy Bernadeau was lost for the offseason, Arkin was the one that was placed into the lineup as the new right guard. Unfortunately, non-contact work is the bane of trench play evaluation. Line play is based on strength, and with no contact, it's not something that lends itself to true evaluation.
Arkin knows that's an area that he has to improve on.
"I feel like I was able to get in the weight room with Mike Woicik and really work a lot and get stronger. I felt like that was a little bit of a problem for me, my anchor strength, and I feel like I've gotten a lot better with that."
According to Ellis, Arkin doubled up in the weight room during last season and has continued his push to improve his core during this offseason.
Will it show up in time to save him a roster spot? With the offseason signing of two guards (Bernadeau and Nate Livings) and the looming possibility of bringing back Montrae Holland after he is fully recovered from his bicep injury, there is plenty of competition for the three to four guard spots on the roster. Dallas has Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski as second year returnees, plus a new rookie in Ron Leary competing as well. In fact, Leary was given the first-team reps at right guard over Arkin during the last week of offseason work. Bill Callahan might be making plans that don't include Arkin; but a shining training camp performance can only improve the strength of Arkin's case to stay.
|Player||Experience||Pro Football Focus Pass Blocking Grade||Notes|
|David Arkin||2nd year||+0.0||4th round pick of '11 - wasn't active for single game|
|Kevin Kowalski||2nd year||+1.4||2011 UDFA, played 114 snaps as a injury sub within games due to versatility along interior of line, never started.|
|Bill Nagy||2nd year||-1.5||2011 7th rounder. Played 283 snaps, starting and finishing Weeks 1,3 and 4 and playing most of Week 6 before fracturing leg.|
|Ron Leary||Rookie||N/A||UDFA wth degenrative knee issue. Cowboys rated as a third rounder. Moved to first team by end of OTAs|
|Nate Livings||5th year||+0.4||47 career stats at guard. Plays better as anchor than pulling guard. Mauler type. 1.169 snaps in 2011|
|Mackenzy Bernadeau||4th year||+0.9||20 career starts at guard. Scheduled to start '11 season for CAR, offseason injury to him and backup led team to sign new starter, pushing him to bench. 125 snaps.|