From Undrafted Rookie Free Agents to Dallas Cowboys

As fans, one of the most exciting aspects of the football preseason is watching players rise from nowhere to make the roster. We follow the storylines of these unknown players, hoping for them that they can find a place in the NFL. Sometimes the stories have happy endings, and sadly other times, most of the time in fact, they don’t.

This year with the lockout in place, and therefore no chance for rookies to become familiar with a team’s plays and schemes, the possibility of undrafted rookie free agents making a roster was even more difficult.

However, for four Cowboy undrafted rookie free agents (UFAs), their dreams came true when they made the final cut and were placed on the Dallas’ 53-man roster.

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To no one’s surprise after watching his preseason performances, Dallas native, Phillip Tanner was added as the team’s #4 running back, despite Jerry Jones repeatedly stating he would only carry three RBs. However, Tanner made it impossible for anyone to cut him, leading the team in rushing yards in the preseason.

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Due to some consistency issues and the fact that Dallas brought in two NFL veteran kickers to win the job, things appeared grim for kicker, Dan Bailey, out of Oklahoma State. However, with no one really stepping up to claim the kicking job, Dallas kept both Bailey and David Buehler to handle kicking duties this season.

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One of the biggest surprises of the preaseason came when, just two hours before game-time, rookie Kevin Kowalski was told he would be starting at center in place of 5 time Pro-Bowler, Andre Gurode (who was cut 2 days later) and the injured back-up, Phil Costa. Kowalski played well, receiving praise from both Jerry Jones and Tony Romo.

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On the defensive side of ball, rookie UFA Alex Albright turned many heads in camp. A defensive end out of Boston College, the Cowboys have moved him to outside linebacker, where he has made some great plays and shown a lot of potential.

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Unfortunately, as happy as some of these stories can be for those considered long-shots, there are even more stories that have difficult endings. This was the case with undrafted rookie free agent, Raymond Radway. It appeared that Radway had played himself onto Dallas’ final roster, but with just 3 seconds left in the preason game vs. Miami, Radway broke his leg going up for a touchdown pass.

No one knows which rookies will rise to become stars in the League, and which will fade out of sight.

In the case of Radway, I know I am not alone in hoping that he can recover and come back next season to find a place in the League.

As for the others, our eyes will be on them this year, cheering them on. After all, who isn’t a sucker for a good story?


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