Although looked upon by many as a wasted draft pick; third year guard David Arkin might be ready to show Cowboys fans a flash of what attracted the attention of the powers that be in the Dallas front office. The first round draft pick out of tiny Missouri State was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft as a longer term project for the team. In spite of the fans belief that he should be ready almost immediately, the Cowboys knew that David would not contribute at first; but they saw enough potential in him to consider the young man a justifiable risk for the team's future.
One weakness that Arkin is frequently slighted for is the lack of NFL level strength. To hold that against him is simply preposterous. It is not a case of him being lazy and unwilling to put forth effort in the weight room; it is, pure and simple, a matter of not having the same benefits in the strength and conditioning program that a kid who played for Alabama or Wisconsin was given. Since arriving in Dallas, Arkin has dedicated his efforts to developing himself. In discussion with Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News, offensive coordinator and line coach Bill Callahan addressed this issue. In part, he said,"Arkin had...put in two years of hard work, and there's been a lot of progress in the weight room". According to his coach David is now ready to take the fruits of his labor and put it to use on the football field.
A second thing that has been brought up numerous times it the statement that he lacks the technique to play in the league. While it is true that he did not have the same level of instruction that players at the big schools receive, since turning pro David had been under the guidance of some of the best line coaches in the league. On top of that, if you look at a piece Bryan Broaddus wrote for ESPN Dallas you will see that David came into the league with a much stronger skill set than the "negative Nellies" would like you to believe. According to Bryan, Arkin's greatest flaw was that he had been coached to focus on hand placement to establish initial control of his man, rather than establishing it through his initial punch. This is an easily corrected fault, especially with his new found strength. Other than that, Broaddus was high on the young man's footwork, athletic ability, and relentless effort. He praised Arkin for getting the job done at the second level.
The biggest sign that David Arkin is breaking through is that he is running with the ones in the absence of starter Mackenzy Bernadeau. There are other options available including Kevin Kowalski and Phil Costa, but the team has chosen Arkin for the role. This is a clear sign that they consider him to be the best option. It has been suggested by a couple people on this site that Arkin was in that position so that the team could justify cutting him later on, but that is pure poppycock. Teams do not pull stunts like that at this level. David Arkin has been with the first team for one reason alone: he has earned it through hard work and dedication.
While I do not expect him to leave Oxnard as the starter, I do think that this season will present him with the opportunity to gain valuable experience and set him up to seize the position for 2014. Last season I asked someone with pretty decent access to the team if Arkin had a chance in this league. The reply I got was "you will be pleased". Based on early reports I have been. Although much will be learned when the pads go on, I expect that David Arkin will finally shut some mouths this season.