Here are some preliminary reports on players the Cowboys are signing as undrafted rookie free agents (UDFAs).
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We are updating as new names are reported.]
Matt Nichols, QB, Eastern Washington -6'2", 219
A solid 3-year starter who has played in some big games against some pretty decent defenses and done well.
Has a bit of gunslinger mentality. Can pinpoint the ball. Let's it fly. Leaves nothing on the field and is a competitor's competitor.
OK size and arm strength. Intelligent and football smart. Will work. Has a little magic in his game.
Runs hot and cold. Has been a bit undisciplined at times. May need to be groomed for longer than you have patience for. Not imposing in any sense. Sometimes exhibits a tad too much swagger.
Story on Nichols' signing:
If Nichols can earn a third-string spot, he gets his contract. However, even if he fails, then there remains the chance that he could still wind up on the Cowboys’ practice squad and earn over $60,000 there.
Being on the practice squad means that he wouldn’t be eligible to partcipate in an NFL game. However, the Cowboys or any other team has the option of plucking him from the practice squad onto a 53-man NFL roster at any point in the season.
Dallas has had some success turning practice squad signal-callers into actual pro quarterbacks. Current Carolina Panthers starting quarter Matt Moore was a former Cowboys practice squad player.
Grandell said that Nichols is expected to be the only free-agent quarterback signing by the Cowboys.
Phil Costa, C, Maryland - 6'3, 300
U of Maryland PROFILE:
An intelligent, versatile player who was the leader of the offensive line as a senior ... a hard-nosed player with good feet ... a two-year starter ... played mostly guard until his senior season when he started at center ... one of the Terps' top reserve linemen in 2006 and 2007 ... emerged as the starting right guard as a junior ... played in 40 career games, including 30 starts (13 at RG/five at LG/12 at center) ... started the final 24 games of his career ... a two-time Academic All-ACC performer ... one of the strongest players on the team during his career ... owns the all-time record among Terps' offensive linemen in the clean (435 in 2008) and is second all-time in the vertical jump (35.5 inches in 2007) among offensive linemen ... also has the third-best strength index (748 in 2008) in school history (among offensive linemen).
Story that he signed with Dallas.
Barry Church, S, Toledo - 6'2", 219
Church has been an outstanding safety for the Rockets over his four seasons. He has an excellent combination of size and strength for the position. Church is best coming downhill attacking the line of scrimmage. He is a tough, competitive player that is better closer to the line of scrimmage. He has good vision to leverage the ball and excels at filling the alley, as well as reacting to patterns in the passing game. He lacks great range, speed and lateral agility in coverage and this could limit his effectiveness at the next level. Church has the physical stature, toughness and instincts to be an impact player on coverage units (special teams) with a chance to work into a starting safety position.
Chris Gronkowski, FB/TE, Arizona - 6'1", 242
Positives: Undersized tight end/H-back with marginal upside for the next level. Displays good blocking vision, nicely redirects to defenders and works hard. Fluid moving about the field, and does an adequate job catching the ball.
Negatives: Marginal strength at the point of attack and struggles handling linebackers.
Analysis: Gronkowski has been a marginally productive player in college. He will have an uphill climb to make it at the next level and must quickly produce on special teams.
Lonyae Miller, RB, Fresno State - 5'11", 221
From NFL.COM PROFILE:
Miller is a good-sized running back with adequate running skills. He will show a good burst through the hole but will get ahead of his blockers at times, as well. He tends to run a bit erect and will take some shots that a more compact runner can deflect with shoulder pads. He is not very interested in blocking when asked to stay in and pick up the blitz and is not as punishing a runner as he could be. Needs work on finishing his runs. He has enough wiggle to go with good speed and a good burst through the hole to warrant consideration as a late draft pick.
Terrell Hudgins, WR, Elon - 6'1", 237
Power, size, ball skills, plays fast, a durable, consistent, sure-handed receiver who can make all the catches: the routine as well as circus-style football catches, including one at Chattanooga that made ESPN's SportsCenter where he pinned a pass thrown short to the back of a defender and secured it with one hand. He scored a touchdown on the play.
Speed, he is likely to run in the mid 4.6 range at the combine/pro day. But he might run slower and a move to H-back simply because he doesn't have the height of a Ramses Barden type to stay at WR in the NFL. He caould also refine his cutting and accelerating out of his breaks.
Phoenix14News story on Hudgins signing with the 'Boys.
[UPDATE]: From Todd Archer's tweet:
Chet Teofilo, G, Cal - 6'3", 329
Positives: Highly considered offense lineman who struggled as a senior in 2009. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and keeps his feet moving. Immediately gets his hands into opponents, stays square, and jolts defenders with good hand punch. Makes solid use of blocking angles, and anchors at the point of attack. Fights hard throughout the action.
Negatives: Stiff, lacks balance and struggles to finish. Nonexistent as a senior and barely saw the field.
Analysis: Teofilo displayed flashes of ability after moving to the offensive line prior to his sophomore season. He has the size and skill to play in confined quarters at guard if he gets his game back on track.
[UPDATE II]: From NFL.com:
Will Barker, RT, Virginia - 6'7", 320
Positives: King-sized position blocker best in a small area. Blocks with good lean, a wide base, and stays square. Patient in pass protection, effectively gets his hands into defenders, and easily moves them from their angle of attack. Makes good use of angles, displays solid awareness, and keeps his feet moving. Controls defenders once engaged in a block and rarely gives up an inch.
Negatives: Exploited by speed rushers, struggles with his footwork and cannot slide off the edge. Rumbles about the field and ineffective in motion. Gets lazy with his hands and will do a bit of leaning on opponents.
Analysis: Barker has been a durable lineman at Virginia and possesses the size to play at the next level. He's a limited athlete with marginal upside yet could be an effective backup on the strong side if he improves his strength and learns to consistently block with proper fundamentals.
Hat tip to Key19 for the FanPost.
[UPDATE III]: Rashaun Greer, WR, Colorado St. - 6'0", 200
Positives: Productive possession receiver with marginal upside for the next level. Extends his hands, offers the quarterback a big target, and uses his frame to box out defenders. Gets up and fights for the reception, possesses good eye/hand coordination, and wins out in battles. Adjusts to the errant throw then looks the ball into his hands.
Negatives: Does not display naturally soft hands and unnecessarily lets the pass get inside him, doing too much body catching. Slows into routes, gets choppy footed and struggles to separate from defenders. One speed receiver who does not beat opponents vertically.
Analysis: Greer looked as though he had the makings of a potential fifth receiver on the NFL level after his junior season, yet his play slid back last season. He must play extremely well in camp this summer from the get go to have any chance of making a final roster.
A BTB hat tip to kindablue for the post.
[UPDATE IV]: Bryan McCann CB/KR, SMU - 5'10", 180
McCann was a player the Cowboys brought in for "Dallas Day". They also walked away quite impressed from his Pro Day workout.
On his first attempt at the 40 — Ford Stadium’s field is not thought of as a particularly fast track — McCann clocked a sizzling 4.32 … a time made more impressive by the fact that he ran it in to the wind. When the runners reversed directions, he ran even faster, clocking a 4.28, which is .15 seconds faster than any cornerback ran at the NFL Combine last month.
The scouts and coaches in attendance were impressed. Several snatched up DVD copies of his bio that his agent, John Biggins, had at Pro Day. The Cowboys were impressed enough that they called Biggins immediately after the afternoon’s events.
Hat tip to quincyyyyy for the post.