Over the years, Cowboys fans have taken a certain pride in the amount and quality of undrafted free agents that have made the roster, as the Cowboys have traditionally been a good place for college free agents who went undrafted. Everybody has, of course, heard the stories ofand , 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 four years, 12 UDFA players made the Cowboys' opening-day roster. Here are the Cowboys' UDFAs who survived training camp to make it onto the initial 53-man roster.
- 2010: OC Phil Costa, S , S , FB Chris Gronkowski.
- 2011: RB Phillip Tanner, OC , OLB Alex Albright, K
- 2012: OG Ronald Leary, WR Cole Beasley, RB Lance Dunbar
- 2013: S Jeff Heath
You could take this as a sign of the quality of the Cowboys' scouting department, who seem to be able to land an eventual starter from the UDFA ranks almost every year.
You could also take it as a sign of weak depth across the roster, where undrafted free agents take up slots that other teams might be able to fill with draft picks. If you're caught in that particular logic loop, then you must be tickled pink that the number of UDFAs making the roster has dropped from four to three to one over the last three years - logic dictates that if having a lot of UDFAs is a sign of weak depth across the roster, then having fewer UDFAs must be a sign of better depth, no?
Be that as it may, this year is likely going to be awfully tough for undrafted college free agents to make the roster, especially since the Cowboys have four seventh-round picks this year, some of whom were just couple of minutes away from being UDFAs themselves, and all of whom are just as intent making the roster as the UDFAs are.
Of this year's UDFA class, DT Davon Coleman may be the closest to making the 53-man roster. In fact, it would be a huge surprise if he doesn't make the 53-man roster to start the season. But it gets much murkier after that.
- QB Dustin Vaughan has impressed in preseason and could potentially force the Cowboys into keeping a third QB on their roster.
- DE Dartwan Bush, a walk-on during rookie minicamp, impressed enough to get second-team reps at LDE during parts of training camp. Perhaps more importantly, he was one of four rookies who caught the attention of Jerry Jones. He suffered a concussion in the San Diego game, so he was sidelined for a while.
- CB Tyler Patmon was also brought in for a try-out during rookie minicamp, and has managed to hang around since. For Patmon, the injury situation at CB may prove to be his ticket onto the 53-man roster.
- OL Ronald Patrick is officially listed behind Travis Frederick on the depth chart, but his versatility across the interior positions is a great plus. He has been solid if unspectacular so far, but if the Cowboys keep 10 offensive linemen, he could be the tenth guy.
Let us know in the attached poll which of these four players you think could make the roster, or let us know in the comments which UDFA you think should make the roster.