Whether drafted or undrafted, young players currently on the Dallas Cowboys roster this offseason are going to have a difficult time earning a 53-man roster spot this season. From top to bottom, the Cowboys have one of the more talented rosters in the entire league with very few open spots up for grabs.
To get to the league-mandated 53-man roster, the Cowboys are going to be faced with some very difficult decisions about who to keep and who to cut. They may have to part with multiple players they’d like to develop, and face the risk of losing them to other teams when cuts are made.
Today, we’re going to identify and discuss three undrafted free agents that are currently doing their best to secure a roster spot for the upcoming 2023 season. Each one of these players has been a standout throughout training camp and then carried that performance over into the preseason so far. Two stand a real chance at cracking the roster, the last one is a real long shot, but deserves recognition and you never know.
S Juanyeh Thomas
Juanyeh Thomas joined the Dallas Cowboys last year as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia Tech. The 6’3”, 217-pound safety has been one of the standouts throughout training camp and carried that performance over into Week 1 in preseason against the Jacksonville Jaguars, when he picked off QB Trevor Lawrence on the second play of the game.
Whether it’s playing around the line of scrimmage, in coverage, or on special teams the second-year safety has done everything the coaching staff has asked of him. With a similar size/build and playing style to that of Jayron Kearse, No. 30 could be a replacement down the road.
Cowboys S Juanyeh Thomas has done everything the coaching staff has expected of him, now including an interception of Jaguars QB Trevon Lawrence on the opening series. He really could force his way onto the 53. A dark horse.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 12, 2023
TE John Stephens
It’s difficult not to notice John Stephens when he’s on the field. The 6’5”, 221-pound undrafted free agent out of the Louisiana has been showing off his talent and versatility throughout training camp and carried it over into Week 1 of the preseason against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s put himself in contention to make Dallas’ 53-man roster.
Stephens has done well so far trying to make the transition from a college wide receiver to an NFL tight end. He still very much a work in progress. However, his physical tools and athleticism have been apparent throughout training camp and in Week 1 of the preseason. Another productive performance this week could really put him in contention for a roster spot this season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns preseason domination continues, this time with John Stephens Jr. scoring a Cowboys TD.— Seven Rounds in Heaven (@7RoundsInHeaven) August 13, 2023
Stephens Jr. has been a mismatch with his size and athleticism. Has four receptions for 54 yards and this score against the Jags. pic.twitter.com/IdrAxLG1s2
LB/DE Isaiah Land
A name that probably isn’t receiving enough buzz right now after the way he’s performed throughout training camp and in the first preseason game is Isaiah Land. He’s been one of the more impressive new additions to the Dallas Cowboys roster this offseason and is making the coaching staff take notice. Getting a roster spot this season is a real long shot, but a practice squad position with a call-up during the season in an injury situation could be in the cards.
At 6’4”, 225-pounds, the undrafted free agent out of Florida A&M is somewhat of a LB/DE tweener. Against the Jaguars he played the majority of the game as a defensive end and was one of Dallas’ standout performers. If he replicates that success this week against the Seahawks, it would be a big step forward in his quest to one day be on the active roster.