Tony Romo, Cole Beasley, Miles Austin; what do they have in common? Each of these players has joined the National Football League after going undrafted. Each of these men has gone on to play a critical role for the Dallas Cowboys offense. This time around the team is projected to sign approximately 15 or so of these players who were overlooked on draft day. Will any of them have a shot at becoming the next success story for the franchise?
After looking over the tentative list of players who will be joining the squad in Oxnard later this summer one name stands out as someone who has a likely opportunity to carve out a niche for himself. That man is former Baylor Bears wide receiver/kick returner Antwan Goodley.
Goodley is the only one of the UDFA prospects who is ranked inside the top 200 according to CBS Sports big board. According to their projections he was worthy of a late-fifth or early-sixth-round selection. What intrigues the most about Goodley is that his skillset matches a position of need for the Cowboys. As a receiver Antwan is still more than a little raw in his development, as is common for players coming out of Coach Art Briles WR factory in Waco, but his experience as a kick returner is going to serve him well with the Cowboys.
With the departure of Dwayne Harris for greener pastures in the league, the Cowboys find themselves with a opening for someone who can provide a lift as a return man, and Goodley has the explosiveness to provide just that. Antwan first found success running back kicks as a member of Briles' squad. During his freshman and sophomore seasons that was his primary duty for the team. He returned a total of 45 kicks for 1,037 yards during his career. That breaks down to 23 yards per return. With the Cowboys not having a go to return man in place, returning to this role will provide him with a golden opportunity to find a home a few miles up I-35 from the Baylor campus.
Assuming his gifts provide him with an opportunity to hang around and polish his other skills, Goodley will have a chance to integrate himself into Scott Linehan's offense in the coming seasons. Not only is he fast, Antwan is also a strong player. He combines 4.44 speed in the forty with a squat of over 600 pounds, second highest weight of any player on Baylor's 2014 roster. The Midland, Texas prospect also possesses a great pair of hands. If you could pair his hands with the talents of former Bear teammate Terrence Williams, you would have an amazing prospect.
As a wide out, Goodley put up impressive totals in the wide open offense featured by Baylor. He caught a total of 131 ball for over 2,000 yards in his two seasons as a starter and earned All Big-12 laurels each of those years. He also knows his way to the promised land, having scored 21 touchdowns in Briles pass happy scheme. As a route runner, Antwan needs some serious attention; Baylor pays little heed to the concept of a route tree, but he possesses all the physical tools to play at the game's highest level.
Two more things that will benefit Goodley in his quest to fight his way into the league are his attitude and confidence. He believes in himself, but not in a way that comes across as brash or cocky. He knows that he can get the job done and is willing to put in the effort. Goodley also has a trait that many prospects lack, he is unafraid to go across the middle and make a tough catch in traffic. Combine these traits with some high end coaching from the Dallas offensive staff, and Goodley can become a weapon for the Cowboys in the years to come.