Cowboys look to make waves with undrafted free agent class
None of the 20 undrafted free agents that the Dallas Cowboys signed following the draft are household names, at least to the team's rabid fanbase.
However, Dallas has found tremendous success in the UDFA department in years past, and the franchise is hoping it can once again unearth a few little-known jewels.
According to NBC Sports Edge, there's a high likelihood that will be the case, considering it ranked Dallas first among all UDFA classes league-wide.
Miles Austin, Terence Steele and longtime QB Tony Romo are just a few of the UDFA stars Dallas has landed in recent memory, while Pro Football Hall of Famers Drew Pearson and Cliff Harris also weathered through the draft without hearing their names called.
And though the Cowboys aren't slapping gold jacket expectations on the men they've recently signed, they do believe they can potentially strike gold with some of the new names that got the call.
The names include:
- Markquese Bell, S, Florida A&M
- Markaviest Bryant, DE, Central Florida
- Malik Davis, RB, Florida
- Dontario Drummond, WR, Ole Miss
- James Empey, C, BYU
- Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
- Jonathan Garibay, K, Texas Tech
- Aaron Hansford, LB, Texas A&M
- Peyton Hendershot, TE, Indiana
- Dennis Houston, WR, Western Illinois
- Storey Jackson, LB, Liberty
- Alex Lindstrom, C, Boston College
- Quandre Mosely, CB, Kentucky
- Jaquarii Robinson, WR, Wake Forest
- Aaron Shampklin, RB, Harvard
- Amon Simon, OT, Texas A&M-Commerce
- Mike Tafua, DE, Utah
- Isaac Taylor-Stuart, CB, Southern Cal
- Juanyeh Thomas, S, Georgia Tech
- La'Kendrick Van Zandt, S, TCU
Of that group, here are players who have high expectations heading into their rookie campaigns.
Jonathan Garibay, K, Texas Tech
Garibay will surely be relied upon come this season, considering he's the only player at his position on Dallas' depth chart.
The 'Boys parted ways with veteran leg Greg Zuerlein after he registered a career-low 87.5% on extra points while hitting 82.9% of his field goals.
Last season, Garibay was impressively efficient for the Red Raiders, nailing 15 of his 16 field-goal attempts (93.75%)) and 49 of 50 PATs.
He also connected on a 62-yard game-winner against Iowa State, a Texas Tech record.
Markquese Bell, S, Florida A&M
Dallas is hoping that hard-hitting safety can bring some of his booming explosiveness to the team's secondary. The ball-hawking DB nearly reached 100 total tackles last season for the Rattlers (95 in total), while bringing down 71 ball-carriers by his lonesome.
An All-SWAC selection for his efforts in 2021, Bell also ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
Dontario Drummond, WR, Ole Miss
Many NFL scouts believed that Drummond would be drafted heading into the April showcase. His college numbers (1,028 yards, eight TDs) were wholly impressive in their own right, and at 6-foot, 215 pounds, he more than fits the bill for a big-bodied NFL play-maker.
Drummond isn't the speediest pass-catcher (he ran a 4.65 at this year's combine), but he has a solid vertical leap (34 inches), as well as the glorified praise of one Lane Kiffin, who lauded his reliability for Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Corral.
Isaac Taylor-Stuart, CB, Southern Cal
Taylor-Stuart has reportedly already impressed his coaches at OTAs, and that’s in large part due to his versatility and range. A 6-foot-1, 201-pound cover stalwart, Taylor-Stuart ran a blazing 4.42 at the NFL Combine (fastest among Pac-12 players), and tested well in a number of agility drills.
According to Terence Watson of "The Landry Hat", Taylor-Stuart has a chance to usurp Dallas' 2021 sixth-round pick Isreal Mukuamu on the depth chart and compete for a 53-man roster spot if he continues to earn the approval of his staff.