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The Cowboys’ seven undrafted free agents with the best chance of making the roster

Who will survive the preseason grind for the Cowboys UDFAs?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Ole Miss at Mississippi State Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the 2022 NFL Draft concluded, the Cowboys remained hard at work as they signed a large pool of undrafted free agents. It’s become a fairly common thing to see a few of these players impress in training camp and the preseason before succeeding and earning a roster spot.

For a proper breakdown on each of the team’s undrafted free agents, check this out. Below are the seven who likely have the best shot of making the roster as of right now.

S Markquese Bell

If there were betting odds for this (and there might be!) then Markquese Bell would probably be the favorite. The safety out of Florida A&M was one of the Cowboys’ top 30 pre-draft visitors and the first signing announced after the draft was completed.

Bell’s prospect profile paints the picture of a highly athletic safety who excelled in a hybrid defense in college. That shouldn’t be all that surprising considering Bell was a former 4-star recruit, but he does need to refine his technique and become a bit more disciplined in coverage.

Still, when looking at the Cowboys’ roster, the safety spot has some openings. Malik Hooker, Jayron Kearse, and Donovan Wilson are expected to see the lion’s share of work, but the remaining players on the roster have very little actual game experience. With Bell’s upside, it’s entirely possible he claims a roster spot.

K Jonathan Garibay

If Bell isn’t the front-runner to go from undrafted to rostered, it’s Jonathan Garibay. As of right now, he’s one of two kickers on the roster, along with Chris Naggar. The Cowboys could always add another kicker, but it’s looking like it’ll be a two-man race. Given Garibay’s impressive college career, including a 62-yard field goal to upset Iowa State this past year, odds seem to be in his favor.

If Garibay does win the kicking competition, then he’s a lock to make the roster, considering teams rarely roster multiple kickers at a time. Of course, that’s all dependent on him doing enough to beat out Naggar, but he’s got significantly less names to beat out than anyone else on this list.

WR Ty Fryfogle

In addition to having a pretty cool name, Ty Fryfogle should have a decent shot at making the team. Wide receiver was a position of need going into the draft, and it’s still not completely cleared up even after drafting Jalen Tolbert. Tolbert and CeeDee Lamb are pretty much roster locks, but the same can’t be said of players like Noah Brown, Simi Fehoko, or even free agent signee James Washington, whose cheap contract doesn’t protect him from getting released.

The biggest factor working in Fryfogle’s favor is the likely reality that Michael Gallup won’t be ready to play by the start of the season. That opens up one more roster spot, even if it’s only temporary. And if Fryfogle can make the roster and impress in his opportunities before Gallup’s return, it might be all he needs to stick on the roster.

WR Dontario Drummond

Dontario Drummond’s case is very similar to Fryfogle’s, but Drummond may have a better chance. I’m a little biased, as Drummond is my pet cat for this year, but the Ole Miss product offers a slightly bigger frame in run blocking and better potential as a runner after the catch.

Drummond also saw some time as a return specialist for the Rebels, and while it wasn’t his calling card in college, His exposure to a wider special teams role could give him the edge if things come down to him and Fryfogle.

RB Aaron Shampklin

Two years ago, Rico Dowdle made the roster as the Cowboys’ third running back and served as a core special teamer. Dowdle’s season-ending injury in the preseason last year allowed Ja’Quan Hardy to take his place. Now, Aaron Shampklin could very well unseat both of them.

Shampklin is smaller at 5’9” and 194 pounds, but had a very productive career at Harvard, averaging nearly six yards a carry on 323 total rushes. Given that Dowdle, as well as Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, could depart the team a year from now, Shampklin may be viewed as an important piece moving forward if he can prove an ability to carry over his production from the Crimson to the preseason.

C Alec Lindstrom

Alec Lindstrom was probably the biggest surprise on this list to go undrafted in the first place, as many draft analysts projected him to go in the third or fourth round. Lindstrom was a very productive three-year starter at center for Boston College but he was a little undersized and apparently that played a role in his draft fall.

The Cowboys hinted that last year’s seventh-round draft pick Matt Farniok will be competing with Tyler Biadasz at center this year, but Farniok also showed last year some flex to play both guard spots as well. Lindstrom only played center for the Golden Eagles, so he might be more limited by that, but if the Cowboys think as highly of him as many did prior to the draft then they may find a way to keep him on their roster.

LB Aaron Hansford

The Cowboys drafted two linebackers this year, as well as last year, and re-signed both Leighton Vander Esch and Luke Gifford. That doesn’t necessarily mean Texas A&M’s leading tackler from 2021, Aaron Hansford, is out of luck.

The Cowboys have kept five linebackers on their roster each of the last two seasons, but they’ve gone with six plenty of times in the past. Vander Esch and Gifford seem like locks, as do Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox. Damone Clark is likely to start the season on the PUP list, if not more. That puts Hansford in direct competition with Devin Harper for that fifth spot, but it’s also not entirely improbable that the Cowboys opt to keep both. Hansford had a productive college career, and he should be considered a very real contender for the roster.