The Cowboys wrapped up their OTAs this week and now focus on training camp that starts in July. Undrafted rookie free agents offer an opportunity to find some talented players that some how got over looked in the recent NFL draft. That’s how they found their current QB Tony Romo.
The Cowboys invited 23 undrafted rookies to OTAs. Did Dallas find any UFAs that will be worth keeping an eye on during preseason camp?
1. CB Tyler Patmon, Oklahoma St.
Patmon’s name has come up as making plays during OTAs right away prompting former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to develop a bit of a man crush gushing,
“I see this guy No. 20, this defensive back, I don’t even know the guy,” Kiffin said. “I want to see him out there. He reminds me of Ronde Barber. I don’t know that he’s Ronde Barber now. It’s exciting.”
The guy catching Kiffin’s eye was Patmon but let us not forget that last year Kiffin was all giddy about BW Webb. Webb has been disappointing so far and he is already having to share reps during OTAs with the new kid Patmon. While Dallas drafted a CB this year with their last pick, Mitchell missed rookie camp finishing school. It’s Webb that will likely find himself in a battle to fend off Patmon for a roster spot.
At OSU in 2013, Potman led the team with nine pass break ups. His strength is breaking on a pass and getting his hands on the ball. Last year the Dallas Cowboys didn’t get stellar play from their corners so Patmon will get an opportunity to show he may be able to add depth. Special team play will be critical for Potman to make the roster.
2. Safety Ryan Smith, Auburn
Smith posses excellent size for a free safety at 6-1, 195 and brings impressive speed. During OTAs, Cowboys analyst/scout Bryan Broaddus has commented that Smith tends to be in the right place at the right time and displays composure on the field. Often rookies can panic in coverage but none of that with Smith who is familiar with playing on a big stage like the national championship game with FSU.
Barry Church will hold down one safety spot but in my view, the other spot is wide open with competition among young and inexperienced safeties. Smith should be able to compete with Wilcox, Heath, Johnson, and Hamilton for playing time right away. Finding a way to contribute on special teams will increase Smith’s chances of making the roster.
3. LB Dontavis Sapp, Tennessee
With veteran Cowboy LB Sean Lee going down with an injured knee during the very first OTA, this position is more open than before. Sapp has impressed early during OTAs even running with the 2nd team at MLB. He was known at UT as being a vocal leader and having a good attitude for the game. He finished college with 108 tackles and 11.5 for loss.
The Cowboys drafted two LBs (Will Smith and Anthony Hitchens) so they are looking for answers from young players.
Sapp’s chance to make the roster may be long but he is off to a good start and Dallas has a lot of questions at the LB position currently.