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Cowboys training camp: 2022 UDFA Juanyeh Thomas is making noise

The Cowboys are seeing improved play from their second-year UDFA safety.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys vs Los Angeles Chargers Joint Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Dallas Cowboys returned to the practice field at Oxnard, and let’s say the tide turned a bit. Recently, things have gotten chippy at training camp among the team, with quarterback Dak Prescott and cornerback Trevon Diggs having some competitive banter that has made national news. However, the team isn’t bothered and is back to business. At yesterday’s practice, the defense meant just that.

In the trenches, the defensive line commanded the line of scrimmage, and defensive tackles Jonathan Hankins and first-round pick Mazi Smith controlled the point of attack and got some push into the backfield. Also, considering what Micah Parsons has looked like in camp, the Cowboys’ front looks scary in both the run and the passing game. Yet, a player in their secondary made an impression and was the undrafted star of the day.

Juanyeh Thomas, safety

Days featured on the series: 1

Juanyeh Thomas is a second-year undrafted player hoping to make a push for a roster spot. Thomas joined the team last season. Despite having an enticing physique for safety (6’3”, 217lbs) and projected to be a late-round selection, Thomas did not hear his name called during the 2022 NFL draft. At first glance, his chances to make the roster seem like a longshot, but because of injuries, he may have a path to making the team.

In defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s defense, a versatile safety that can play near the line of scrimmage and defend underneath patterns is critical. A player like Jayron Kearse fits those characteristics. Luckily for Thomas, he does too. Thomas is competing to make the team ahead of Tyler Coyle and Markquese Bell. So far, he’s had an excellent camp and garnering attention for his progress. On Thursday, he found his “mojo” making a terrific play on the football.

Play of the day:

The injuries to Donovan Wilson and Israel Mukuamu have opened the door for down-the-roster safeties to make an impression. Thomas is taking advantage. He was already being lauded for his play on special teams, but if he shows he can make a difference on defense, he could slide onto the regular roster.

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