Following the 2014 NFL Draft, and despite having offers on the table from more than 10 teams, former Texas A&M University running back Ben Malena (5-8, 196 lbs.) signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.
Malena finished his career with the Aggies with 320 carries for 1618 yards and 22 touchdowns, while averaging a healthy 5.1 yards per carry. He also added 49 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Malena also contributed on special teams for the Aggies by returning 13 kicks for 215 yards.
When I watch Malena on tape, his fluidity jumps off the screen. He accelerates quickly, is decisive in his cuts, moves well laterally and does a good job finding the hole. Malena also does a good job catching the football out of the backfield; he has soft hands and catches the ball away from his body.
Despite his lack of height, Malena isn’t afraid to take on blockers, exhibiting above average ability in pass protection. He also does a solid job in blitz pickup.
Unfortunately, he’s a small guy, which is probably the reason he went undrafted. With his size limitations, the Cowboys would need to find a very specific niche for him. I cannot imagine that running him between the tackles would be very beneficial to him or the team.
Overall, I think that Malena has a real shot at making the 53-man roster because of his special teams ability. His size will limit what the Cowboys can do with him on the field, but his personality, leadership and non-stop motor will certainly make him a difficult player to cut.