One of the more exciting things to look for in training camp is seeing if any undrafted free agents have a chance to defy the odds and make the 53-man roster. The Dallas Cowboys, like any team, have a couple of UDFA that have some sort of shot at doing just that this summer.
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report took a deep dive into the topic earlier this week, writing about every team’s UDFA that has the best chance to make the roster. For the Cowboys, Moton selected safety Markquese Bell.
Very early still. But here at camp’s outset, it is difficult to imagine the Cowboys’ 53-man roster on Aug. 30 not having undrafted rookie S Markquese Bell on it. He is in strong position. pic.twitter.com/5GY1nCfaHc— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) July 28, 2022
Here’s what Moton had to say about why he believes Bell could make the roster.
Versatility will always increase a player’s chance of making the regular-season roster. Markquese Bell can make an impression at two defensive positions. Per The Athletic’s Jon Machota, the Dallas Cowboys believe Bell can “help them at safety and linebacker.”
Via Machota’s report, head coach Mike McCarthy went into specifics about the Florida A&M product. “He’s been impressive,” McCarthy said. “He jumped out at the rookie camp. He was very impressive in the Zoom calls, leading up to coming in here. That’s all about younger guys just keep stacking success, and then they start making plays like that, too. That definitely helps.”
Last week, via Twitter, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News wrote that Bell is in a “strong position” to make the roster. At 6’3”, 205 pounds, Bell has the size to play closer to the line of scrimmage as a hybrid defender, though his experience at safety may allow him to match up against tight ends and bigger slot wide receivers in coverage as well.
In his final collegiate term, Bell shined as a downhill defender, logging 95 tackles, 6.5 for loss, two sacks and five forced fumbles.
If Bell can use his versatility to play safety and a little bit of linebacker, as Jon Machota reported, it could really help his chances of making the 53. Versatility is valued so highly at the NFL level on the defensive side of the ball Bell could mirror Jayron Kearse, some S and LB, in Dan Quinn’s defense.
Quinn spoke highly of Bell when he was asked about the 23-year-old on Wednesday.
“He’s off to an excellent start. You feel someone’s hunger for it. You just do. …I feel that with Markquese. …I’m going in the lab a little bit”
At the end of the day, Markquese Bell has one of the best shots of any UDFA on Dallas’ roster to make the 53, and early on he seems to be trending in the right direction to do so.