Pretending to be the GM or head coach of the Dallas Cowboys is something we all do. Come on, admit it. That is really why we put out our own 53 man rosters, and talk about who will be cut or not. It is part of the fun of being a fan.
My last post was an excercise in just that, looking at what to do about the third quarterback position. It focused on the issues seen by several, including me, with Stephen McGee and his lack of development. It was also a way to discuss the option of not having a third quarterback at all. This would assume that McGee does not show anything to change minds about him in preseason, and the other quarterback currently on the roster, Rudy Carpenter, doesn't impress either.
It is all well and good to decide that if I ran the team I would not want to keep either McGee or Carpenter. (And, judging from the poll on my article, about 70 to 75 per cent of the readers agree.) If you go with two quarterbacks on the final 53, you would pretty much have to sign an emergency/developmental QB to the practice squad. And another option that was not even brought up in my other article would be to sign someone else, a purely developmental type, who would be on the roster (to make sure that third option did not get signed off the PS by someone else) but who would at least have some hope of growing and becoming more than we expect McGee or Carpenter to. This might also be an option if Dallas sees a player it would really like to have around for a year to work with, but the player is stashed on another team's PS. Dallas could, in that case, choose to sign the player to the 53, but by league rules could not then stash them on its own PS. (It's covered on page 160 of the CBA.)
So who might the Cowboys be able to sign?
Some possible candidates after the jump.
I wanted to stick with players that would be definitely practice squad eligible, so I have only included rookies on my list just to be sure. Then I wanted to look at players who might be available after teams started making their cuts. This meant I only looked at teams that had four or more quarterbacks currently signed. And I then used the current depth chart from Ourlads.com to limit myself to players more likely to be bumped off the roster. This is not an endorsement of Ourlads or their accuracy. But at this point in the NFL calendar, one depth chart is as likely to be accurate as the next. They are also all UDFAs, which means the teams don't have a lot invested in them and might not be overly concerned about keeping them on the roster.
This is not a totally inclusive list, just some of the names that I thought might be worth a look if things align. (They are listed in the order I found them at Ourlads, which is to say by conference and division, starting with the AFC East.) I have included the current NFL team and the college for each player.
G J Kinne/New York Jets/Tulsa The very first name was a familiar one, since he was one of the Dallas Days invitees this year. A high school star out of Canton, TX (and son of a very successful high school coach) Kinne originally signed with UT and then after one year he transferred to Tulsa, where he started for three years, throwing for over 9,000 yards and 81 touchdowns. I don't know how the team felt about him after the interview, however, since he did not wind up trying out with Dallas. But that may have been because they did not offer him a contract, and the Jets did. If the team liked him from Dallas Days, he may be someone they are keeping an eye on. He is currently projected as being behind Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy, and ahead of another UDFA, Matt Simms of Tennessee (son of Phil Simms). I thought about including Matt on this list, but decided not to due to a rather lackluster college career.
Tyler Hansen/Cincinnati Bengals/Colorado A three year starter for the Buffaloes (he missed a good part of his junior year to injury), he was a running threat as well as a passer, which is a plus for his mobility, but also means he has to make the adjustment to the pro game. The Bengals starter is Andy Dalton, who won the job in 2011 as a rookie, so the team is probably not terribly concerned about developmental QBs right at the moment. Also ahead of him on the roster are Bruce Gradkowski and Zac Robinson, with Robinson effectively being Hansen's competition.
Case Keenum/Houston Texans/Houston Keenum holds the NCAA FBS records for total passing yards, touchdowns, completions, and total offense. Seen as a system quarterback, he was signed by the Texans after going undrafted. Houston already has T. J. Yates to develop behind Matt Schaub, and Yates already had his baptism of fire in 2011 when the rookie wound up starting the last five regular season games, and two playoff games. Look for Keenum's future with the team to depend on how he competes against veteran John Beck.
Alex Tanney/Kansas City Chiefs/Monmouth (Ill.) I almost did not include Tanney, since he is a DIII product from an obscure school in Illinois, and Dallas just never gets lucky with small school prospects from that neck of the woods, right? Credit for him catching my attention goes to The Hermit, who provided the following as his argument for signing Tanney in place of McGee or Carpenter on the 53.
Alex Tanney gets cut by the Chiefs in hopes of slipping him onto their Practice Squad. Yes, he's the trick shot YouTube sensation. The only thing holding him back was he played at DIII Monmouth (IL). He really tore it up at that level setting a new DIII record for yards (14,249) and an NCAA record (all divisions) in TD's(157). He's got good size at 6'3" (6'4" in other listings) and 223lbs. He's definitely got the arm strength (hit the goal posts while on his knees at the 50 yard line) and accuracy.
Nicely put. And there is that Illinois small school connection . . .
Matt Blanchard/Chicago Bears/Wisconsin-Whitewater Another small school star. So small, I had to go to a sister SBN site, Windy CIty Gridiron, to find information on him. In an article appropriately titled Flying Way Under The Radar, they provided this scouting report.
Blanchard is well sized at 6'3 and 217 lbs. After spending one year at Northern Michigan, he transferred to UW-Whitewater where he never lost a game as a starter. In his senior year he threw 23 touchdowns and just under 3000 yards, as well as rushing for 452 yards.
He was not invited to the NFL combine, but did take part in his pro day, with his 40 yard dash being clocked at 4.69.
Oh, and note the Wisconsin connection. I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.
Dominique Davis/Atlanta Falcons/East Carolina Another school a bit off the map. As a matter of fact, I generally can't find the state of East Carolina on any map, but that's a different topic. Davis is another guy with more than one college on his resume, with his transfers prompted by academic issues. He is also another player with some gaudy statistics, currently holding the record for most consecutive completions (over two games) in NCAA FBS history. Oddly, he is on the team with Matt Ryan, who he also played with at Boston College before that little grades thing.
Austin Davis/St Louis Rams/Southern Mississippi The thing that surprised me most about this list is how many record holders there are. Davis held fifteen school records at the end of his college career. With the Rams, he is caught up in a logjam of young players. The starter, Sam Bradford, has only been in the league two years, and Tom Brandstater, his likely comptetion for a third slot, has just a year under his belt. Is there a real need for a third young guy, with Kellen Clemens already seeming to have the backup slot?
There were some other players, mostly guys that had been drafted, but I was going with the names I thought most likely to show up on the old waiver wire at the end of camp. All are players who have pretty respectable backgrounds of accomplishment in college. Additionally, I looked at this with the assumption that all the teams involved would go three deep at quarterback. Obviously, if some do not, it just increases the chance that these guys may be available, and Dallas might be able to sign one of them to the practice squad, no matter what it does on the 53 man roster.
So do you see anyone here who you think could be brought into Dallas and groomed for the future? Or, when the time comes to try to sign players to the practice squad, are you hoping the Cowboys still have Nathan Dick's phone number?