The Dallas Cowboys are known for finding talent even when teams passed multiple times on a player. Since the start of the century, the Cowboys have found talent in the least likely of spots. Tony Romo truly is the perfect example of this. A little-known undrafted guy out of Eastern Illinois has turned into one of the most talented quarterbacks at the professional level.
Shaping a roster has become so important in the NFL. It's not about the superstars anymore in today's salary-cap-driven league. It's truly about how well a franchise can set themselves up with 53 productive guys on the roster as well as players on the practice squad. In recent years, the Cowboys have found some quality talent in little-known players like David Irving, Lance Dunbar, Cole Beasley, and Barry Church. Dallas might have found just another one of those guys in Deji Olatoye.
256 names were called in the 2014 NFL Draft and Olatoye's wasn't one of them. Undrafted out of North Carolina A&T, Olatoye spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs, before signing with the Cowboys' practice squad in the beginning of September of 2014. In November of 2015, the Cowboys decided to release Corey White, which opened up a spot for Olatoye on the 53-man roster.
Despite being added to the active roster, Olatoye was still somewhat of an unknown commodity. Because of a hamstring injury to Morris Claiborne, Olatoye ended up being a starter for the Cowboys' Week 16 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Let's take a look at Olatoye's biggest highlight of his young career:
Playing in a Cover 3 here, Olatoye does a good job at using the sideline to his advantage. He reads Tyrod Taylor's eyes while having a peripheral vision of receiver Chris Hogan in front of him. After he sees Hogan break down and look to turn, Olatoye drives off his back foot to come up and make a play on the football.
He then shows off some ball skills by getting in front of Hogan and making a tough catch for an interception. The Cowboys struggled all year with getting takeaways and they got one here from Olatoye with just a few ticks left on the clock till halftime.
Olatoye's Week 17 performance was a little different. He was exposed by Pierre Garçon to the tune of a touchdown. Olatoye will likely never be a superstar, to rise up like an undrafted Chris Harris Jr. did. However, with the Cowboys' questions at the cornerback position this offseason, Olatoye has some skills that will intrigue the Cowboys and whomever is their new secondary coach.
Olatoye will cost just $525,000 in 2016 and while the idea of signing a guy like Trumaine Johnson or Sean Smith makes sense, signing one of them might just be out of the Cowboys' price range. At 6'1, 200 pounds, Olatoye has great size and he displays great range as well. It will be interesting to follow Olatoye and see the role he is given in 2016 and how well he performs. This might just be his last chance to prove he belongs at this level.