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Ten pet cat candidates from the Dallas Cowboys roster who are looking for adoption

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It’s never too early to foster your love for a new pet cat.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 20 Utah at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have a loaded roster. It’s one of the reasons why experts have the Cowboys tied with the fourth best Super Bowl odds for the upcoming season. The reigning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers are the only team in the conference with better odds. Make no mistake about it, the expectations for this Cowboys team are high.

With such a deep team, it’s going to be hard for newcomers to earn a spot on the team’s 55-man roster. The team re-upped their own key players like Amari Cooper, Anthony Brown, and Blake Jarwin. They also added some notable free agents like Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, all of which are expected to move into starting roles on the team. And then they just had a great draft where some players like CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs are expected to be immediate starters, while guys like Neville Gallimore and Tyler Biadasz could move into starting roles down the line. Any way you look at it, the talent is plentiful.

But what about some of the lesser known players? Are there other guys who have a legit shot to make the team? These under-the-radar players who fans show an affinity for earn the title as “pet cats” as their progress is tracked all the way through final roster cuts. What players are in this year’s litter of pet cats? Here are ten players to watch out for this year.

Note: To qualify as a “pet cat” the player must be either undrafted or selected outside the first 150 players taken in the draft. Also, for any non-rookies - they cannot have started a single game (sorry Brandon Knight) last season to be eligible for this list.

The New Guys

DE Bradlee Anae, selected 179th overall (2020)

In a draft that was filled with one pleasant surprise after another, the Cowboys landing Utah star pass rusher Bradlee Anae was one that was met with huge excitement. There is so much to like about Anae as he’s a high-intensity player with great snap anticipation. His size and arm length may bring about doubt as to his ability to handle NFL level tackles, but his quickness and technique should give him a fighting chance to make a splash. Because of his skill set, he’s one of the early favorites for most popular pet cat.

LB Francis Bernard, UDFA (2020)

Anae’s Utah teammate Francis Bernard is another popular choice for a pet cat candidate. Like last year’s linebacker pet cat, Luke Gifford, Bernard is excellent in coverage and has some great tape that highlights his potential. But unlike Gifford, he doesn’t posses good length which has impacted his tackling ability at times. The Cowboys have solid depth at linebacker, so Bernard has his work cut out for him if he’s to make the team.

DE Ron’Dell Carter, UDFA (2020)

While there is a logjam at the edge rushing position, the James Madison pass rusher was given the highest amount of guaranteed money of any of the Cowboys undrafted free agents this year. There were 25 other teams interested in him, including the 49ers. He’s a small school prospect, but he recorded 12 sacks last year and offers some intriguing upside.

QB Ben DiNucci, selected 231st overall (2020)

We’re four players into this list, but only two colleges have been covered so far as we have our second James Madison player. It’s always exciting to get a new quarterback to look at, but it’s even more exciting when he lead the FCS with a 70.9 completion percentage. The love for Cooper Rush has faded, and now it’s time to cheer for someone new.

TE Sean McKeon, UDFA (2020)

The Michigan tight end could easily qualify as my personal pet cat since I had him mocked to the Cowboys with their sixth-round pick. There is nothing sexy about him. He’s a good blocker and a reliable pass catcher, and it’s these un-exhilarating traits that connected him to the Cowboys in the mock draft. The Cowboys scouts value the little things, and that should make him someone to remember come final cuts. Plus, there is nothing special about the tight end position group as they are still accepting applications.

The Returning Players

WR Jon’Vea Johnson, UDFA (2019)

You might recognize JVJ as one of last year’s favorite pet cats. His 4.38 speed combined with an impressive 21 yards per catch his final year at Toledo got fans excited about this potential. Unfortunately, he had a huge case of the dropsies in preseason last year and his chances to make the roster started to dwindle. The team protected his rights by placing him on injured reserve with an shoulder injury, so we will now get a chance to see if a year of development has helped him improve enough to make the team.

WR Ventell Bryant, UDFA (2019)

It’s nice to see a wide receiver with the last name Bryant in a Cowboys uniform, although it’s not the one many were hoping for. An UDFA by the Cincinnati Bengals last season, Bryant was released at final roster cuts. The Cowboys swooped in and signed him to their practice squad. And when special teams ace Kavon Frazier was injured, Bryant was promoted to the active roster and played in 12 games last season. With the team hoping to make strides in improving their special teams, don’t discount Bryant as a player they hold on to. And while the wide receiver group is front-loaded with great talent, there is still a little room for some of these unsung guys to sneak on the roster. Can Bryant be one of those guys?

DT Justin Hamilton, UDFA (2017)

Defensive tackle Justin Hamilton is a Super Bowl champion, so how he’d get on this list? Well, to be honest, he got a Super Bowl ring because he was on the Philadelphia Eagles roster in 2017, but he never played for them in the playoffs that year. We all know that doesn’t take anything away from him being a real champion, right? (cough, Carson Wentz, cough). Hamilton is well-traveled and played in eight career games, but none of them took place last season, which makes him pet cat eligible. Chances are, you don’t even know who he is. With Maliek Collins leaving in free agency, faith being lost in Trysten Hill, and Antwaun Woods being a complete enigma, the door is slightly cracked for some unknown to sneak in and add depth to the position.

T Mitch Hyatt, UDFA (2019)

Last year at this time fans were super excited about scoring Hyatt as an undrafted free agent. Many people were surprised that the Clemson offensive tackle went undrafted after holding down the fort for the 2018 National Champions. He’s got quick feet, but some question if his size will hold up at the NFL level. While Hyatt received all the hype, it was another UDFA tackle, Brandon Knight, who earned a spot on the team. Will Hyatt be able to live up to that buzz in year two?

DE Jalen Jelks, selected 241st overall (2019)

There is a long list of edge rushers trying to earn a spot on this team. Not only are some wild card players like Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory potentially returning, but there are also some youngsters like Dorance Armstrong and Joe Jackson who have each logged valuable playing time. Similar to JVJ, Jelks was placed on injured reserve last year, and it’s not even clear what the injury was as it just seemed like a tactic to hang on to these young players who weren’t going to make the final roster. Does Jelks posses the talent to turn some heads this time around?

Which player is your pet cat? Put some names in the subject line of the comments and let’s see which player gets the most recs.