Every year, the last player taken in the NFL draft has been bestowed the title of "Mr. Irrelevant." As the Cowboys start filling out their 53-man roster over the next few months, it will be interesting to see which bubble players make the cut. Recently, the staff writers over at the Mothership attempted to predict the last guy to make the roster. Here are some of their guesses:
WR - Andy Jones
Every year, there’s always some buzz over undrafted free agent wide receivers who are trying to make the team. Players like Antwan Goodley, George Farmar, and Chris Boyd have caught people’s eye as they put their athleticism on display during training camp. Over the last few years, Cole Beasley and Lucky Whitehead have been able to take advantage of their opportunities and land roster spots. This season is no different and already people have their favorites. We initially heard some hype for Chris Brown, but the receiver who appears to be in front right now is Andy Jones.
Jones is a 6’ 2", 214 pound receiver from Jacksonville University who will face the challenge of working himself into the mix of a talented position group. This could be the most skilled crew that Cowboys WR coach Derek Dooley has had. With the trio of Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley at the top and Whitehead and Brice Butler at the bottom, the team is sitting in good shape. It would be hard pressed to think an UDFA could steal a spot over any of the current players, but could Jones do enough to convince the team to keep six receivers? Clearly, they are interested in Jones’ ability as he received the largest signing bonus ($15,000) of any of the UDFA players. Of course, that doesn’t mean a whole lot as that honor went to George Farmer last year and he didn’t make the team.
Rob Phillips: Jones got a few first-team reps in multi-receiver sets during OTAs and minicamp with Dez Bryant continuing to work his way back from offseason surgery. He’s a physical receiver who can get open and finish plays. If the Cowboys choose to go heavy at receiver, Jones has a chance with a strong preseason.
DE - Ryan Russell
A giant door opened for defensive ends when the news broke of the suspensions of Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence. The team definitely needs help at the position. There are a lot of candidates who will be looking to work themselves into the rotation, but nobody has emerged as a clear front runner. Rookie Charles Tapper is a fourth-round pick and the team invested some coinage in free agent acquisition Benson Mayowa so their spots on the team appear secure. But Cowboys second-year player Ryan Russell has been a forgotten man. Russell dealt with an abdominal injury last season and only played in one game, but he showed some good progress at OTAs. And this growth could keep the coaches interested.
While Randy Gregory was one of the premium picks in the draft, don’t count out this fifth-rounder. In 2008, the Cowboys were banking on Mike Jenkins to help shore up the cornerback position, but it was fifth-rounder Orlando Scandrick who was the player that got the job done.
Nick Eatman: I think the Cowboys will give him every chance to make the team considering his draft status last year. Who knows, maybe he's ready for a blowout season and will make the team regardless.
RB - Darius Jackson
If it wasn’t for the selection of Ezekiel Elliott, I would be much more excited about what Jackson could bring to this team. Clearly, we are all hoping for Zeke to have a heavy dose of carries and rush for a ridiculous amount of yards. But it's good to have depth. Last year, the Cowboys had horrible options at the bottom of the depth chart with players like Gus Johnson and Ben Malena. Now, just a year later, fans have so many good options that we are quick to dispose of some decent running backs. Will Dallas cut last year’s leading rusher in Darren McFadden? Is Lance Dunbar worth keeping around? If one of these veteran RBs get released, some fans won't blink an eye because the team still has some quality alternatives.
While Jackson is a late-round pick on a team that has a plethora of running backs, you can't just brush this kid aside. He’s young, he’s cheap, but most importantly – he’s athletic. It would be surprising if the Cowboys couldn’t find room for him.
Dave Helman: The offensive backfield is awfully crowded, but I am intrigued by Jackson’s blend of size and speed. He’s going to get a lot of opportunities during the preseason, given the injury to Darren McFadden – not to mention the fact that the coaches won’t want to overwork Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris.
The Cowboys will have some tough decisions as they have some good quality at the bottom of the roster. Some decisions will be made based on potentials, and others on strengthening out suspect position groups. Which player do you think will be the last player to make the 53-man roster?