Every year following the NFL draft, teams are looking for undrafted rookie free agents (“The Guys No One Is Talking About”) to bring in to camp in hopes of finding that “Diamond In The Rough”. The Dallas Cowboys have been pretty successful over the years and even managed to add a few Hall Of Fame players in this manner.
Before I start my series on “The Guys No One Is Talking About” for the 2013 NFL Draft, I want to do a recap on my group from last year. A progress report if you will. People say “Hindsight is 20/20”, but that only applies if you hadn’t already selected those players.
Nov 22, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley (11) tackled after a catch by Washington Redskins safety Madieu Williams (41) and cornerback DeAngelo Hall (23) on Thanksgiving at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
I really liked Beasley coming out of SMU in spite of the knocks on his size. He was quick, shifty, had good hands, was deceivingly strong for his size and ran crisp clean routes. What really impressed me was the fact that he had over 80 receptions (showing the abilty to play both the slot and outside) in each of his last two seasons at SMU. What really sold me on him was when I watched his interview following his Pro Day. When he was asked how he thought he did, his reply was: “This is like a track meet out here, I AM a FOOTBALL PLAYER”. I thought wow, I really like this guy. I have been saying that about the NFL combine etc for years now.
When I saw the Cowboys signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent I was a happy camper. What didn’t make me happy was the way the Dallas Cowboys head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Garret repeatedly impeded his progress by giving the inconsistent WR Kevin Ogletree the starting nod in spite of all his drops and repeatedly running routes wrong. In spite of the fact that Beasley got a lot less playing time than Dwayne Harris, he only had two less receptions (15) for 128 yards with an 8.5 YPC average. As I said time and time again, if the Dallas Cowboys want to be able to move the ball with any type of consistency, considering the weak OL and lack of a running game, they need to attack defenses underneath with quick short passes. This also prevents Tony from having to hold the ball too long waiting for a play to develop down field. Beasley was the solution to this problem and proved it against the Washington Redskins when Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree were both out due to injury. He had 8 catches and made some key 1st down grabs.
In the Dallas Cowboys second match up with the Redskins, Jason Garrett kept Beasley on the sidelines and started Austin and Ogletree. The results? They combined for 2 catches. Not only that, in the 1st game they had to keep the safety on Beasley. The 2nd time around they blitzed that safety all night giving Tony Romo fits. I am constantly scratching my head at the decisions made by Garrett. I get even more confused at the amount of fans who still support him.
Dec 9, 2012; Cincinnati, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) is brought down by Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
In spite of all the media trash talking about his character etc, I had a second round grade on Burfict and wrote about him several times during the offseason leading up to the 2012 NFL draft. The Cincinnati Bengals acquired him as an undrafted free agent. The truth be told, he ended up being one of the best players in the 2012 NFL draft and had a Pro Bowl type season. He amassed 127 tackles, 1 sack and deflected 2 passes. If I have said this once, I have said it 1,000 times. I “NEVER” pay any attention to what the media says, or their silly projections. I always grade my players based on what I see on the tape.
"So to all the talking heads of the media who did nothing but destroy this guys draft stock by trash talking him: what do you have to say now? I however, get to say I told you so!"
Aug 30, 2012; Detroit, MN, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive back Justin Rogers (26) pressures Detroit Lions quarterback Kellen Moore (17) in the second quarter of a preseason game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US Presswire
Moore was signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent. He impressed their offensive coordinator so much that he said, “Moore is the smartest QB I have ever been around”. They liked him that much, they went light at another position to keep him on the 53 as to avoid another team poaching him or claiming him off of waivers if they risked a move to the practice squad. (NE did the same thing with Tom Brady). Personally I thought he was the smartest and most accurate QB in the 2012 NFL draft. The funny part is, when I read his scouting report, it was almost word for word what was said about Tom Brady going in to the 2000 NFL draft. My buddy Bryan Broaddus and I agreed that he was actually better than Tom Brady in college.
Oct 15, 2011; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Foswhitt Whittaker (2) is tackled by Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Andrae May (16) during the first half at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Fozzy was a stand out kick returner in college, but as a result of injury he went undrafted. On December 19th, the Arizona Cardinals realized he had fully recovered from his injury and saw his potential to be an impact RB/kick returner in the NFL. They Moved DT Ricky Lumpkin to their practice squad in order to make room for him on the 53 man roster.
Henry was a guy I really liked in college and wrote about on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately his career was ended abruptly by a case of some seriously bad luck. According to Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune reporter, Illinois linebacker Trulon Henry was at home with his
wife and daughter before dawn on a Sunday morning when he received a call from a teammate who needed help getting other football players out of a party where a fight had broken out. Henry, a senior leader for the Illini, said he did not hesitate to assist. But shortly after he arrived at the off-campus house to drive home a teammate, Henry and two other men were struck about 3:25 a.m. by a person who had fired several shots from a handgun into a crowd of people on a patio, Urbana police said. Henry, 27, was shot above his right wrist. The bullet exited through his ring finger, rupturing an artery and breaking bones, he said Sunday afternoon in a telephone interview from Carle Hospital in Urbana.
I still believe Henry would have had a long illustrious career in the NFL. However, sometimes being a good Samaritan can bite you in the ass.
Nov 5, 2011; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys offensive linesman Levy Adcock (73) plays against Kansas State at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports
I was elated to see the Cowboys sign The lengthy LT as an undrafted rookie free agent. He is an Oklahoma State product and was a first-team All Big-12 selection in 2010 when he did not allow a single sack. He followed that up in 2011 with a second consecutive first-team All Big-12 selection, and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. Adcock played in two preseason games for the Cowboys before being waived on August 27th. Unfortunately, once again I believe the Dallas Cowboys inability to evaluate offensive linemen properly will come back and haunt them. According to Dan Benton of Giants 101.com: The New York Giants made a minor practice squad shuffle and terminated the contract of offensive lineman Paul Fenaroli and signed converted LT Levy Adcock to replace him. Fenaroli, a hard-working fan favorite out of Stony Brook, was originally signed to the practice squad on December 6th, replacing Selvish Capers, who was promoted to the 53-man roster when Sean Locklear was placed on Injured Reserve (IR).
When I consider the fact that Eli Manning was one of the least sacked QB’s in the NFL, it’s obvious to me that the Giants have a much better eye for offensive line talent. Why the Cowboys would cut a 1st team All American to keep the scrubs they did is beyond me. I am pretty sure that the Giants will develop Adcock in to a stud offensive lineman.
Dec 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson (20) tackles Buffalo Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham (11) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28-9. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
When I wrote about Graham he was projected as a late round to undrafted prospect: After a good showing at the combine, his NFL Pro Day his stock started to rise. The Buffalo Bills selected him 69th over all in the 2012 draft. He Appeared in 15 games and started 11 of them. As a rookie he amassed 31 receptions for 322 yards (10.4 YPC avg) and 1 TD.
When I first wrote about Alexander he was also projected as a late round to undrafted prospect following reports that he had a hole in his heart. Ron Green Jr. email@example.com Posted: Saturday, Apr. 28,
September 30, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander (90) reacts after the winning field goal by the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Panthers 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
2012: The Panthers began to notice him while watching film on another Oklahoma player. Alexander kept making plays, tweaking the interest of general manager Marty Hurney and head coach Ron Rivera. When Alexander was still available early in the fourth round, the Panthers decided to trade up to get him. in 2011, Alexander batted down six passes against Florida State, had three sacks and a fumble recovery against Texas and had 15 1/2 tackles for loss over the Sooners’ last nine games. “He just makes plays,” Hurney said. In 2012 as a rookie, Alexander started 3 games and amassed 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks and deflected 3 passes.
Aug 7, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive lineman Jeremiah Warren during training camp at the teams practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Warren was a guy I really liked last year. He was projected late rounds to undrafted; the NE Patriots signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent. He was not only a solid OG at the college level, but he was also undefeated as a champion wrestler. Belichick has a penchant for having former wrestlers on his OL. In spite of the fact that the Patriots were loaded with OL depth and had churned the roster all season adding and removing offensive linemen, they hung on to Warren. I had suggested to Bryan that the Cowboys poach him from the NE practice squad. According to KFFL.com, Fri, 11 Jan 2013 11:29:03 -0800: The Arizona Cardinals re-signed LB Tim Fugger, DT Ricky Lumpkin, LB Colin Parker, DE Everrette Thompson and RB Foswhitt Whittaker to future contracts Friday, Jan. 11. All five players were members of the Cardinals practice squad in 2012. The Cardinals also signed G Jeremiah Warren (Patriots) to a future contract. The Cardinals, who much like the Cowboys, struggled on the offensive line, did exactly what I wanted the Cowboys to do and poached Warren from the NE Patriots.
I Included a video of Kellen Moore. You are entitled to your opinion, but I still believe that if given a chance, he will be in the conversation with Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
I don’t claim to be a GM, or even a scout, but I can say this much, every one of ” The Guys No One was Talking About” from the 2012 NFL draft that I wrote about,(with exception to Henry who got shot) will have a job in the NFL in 2013. At times I wish Jerry Jones would take about 5 minutes to read my columns.