Dallas Cowboys: Who will be the fourth safety?

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Kyle Queiro #21 of the Northwestern Wildcats watches as time runs out against the Tennessee Volunteers during the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Kyle Queiro #21 of the Northwestern Wildcats watches as time runs out against the Tennessee Volunteers during the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys decided not to grab a safety in the draft this year, but there are some options.

When safety Derwin James started to fall in the draft, many assumed the Dallas Cowboys would attempt to trade up to get him. Instead, the Cowboys stood at nineteen and took linebacker, Leighton Vander Esch. As the draft progressed, everyone waited for a safety to be picked. But by the end of the draft, the Dallas Cowboys had not grabbed a single safety, and the discussion about the position heightened.

Throughout the past few months, there has been talk of trading for Earl Thomas from Seattle. At this point, I don’t think the Cowboys will look for a trade as it would still take a high draft pick for next year, and then you still have to sign him to a lot of money. He will be a free agent next season, so why waste a draft pick at this point?

After the draft, the Dallas Cowboys signed three safeties in Kyle Queiro, Kameron Kelly, and Tyree Robinson. They also grabbed the physical corner in Chavarius Ward, and small school corner (who actually is better rated as a safety) and Donovan Olumba. If you include both of the corners, that makes five players signed this year.

Adding these five players to a stable that already includes Jameill Showers, Marqueston Huff, and Tyree Robinson, Dallas has eight players competing for the last couple roster spots in 2018.

This offseason the Cowboys said they like what they have in starters with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier. This means if the three of them have locked up rosters slots, then who out of the other eight players will be the fourth or maybe fifth safeties on the roster?

Let’s try to figure it out now.

Kris Richard is the new defensive backs coach. As one of the architects of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom,” history tells us he likes physical defensive backs who can create problems off of the line and be physical with receivers down field. If we look back on his players, then we can start narrowing down who could be on the roster.

Related Story: How Kris Richard will impact the Cowboys defense

Marqueston Huff has some range, but not really the size that Richard values. Of the old guard, Jameill Showers has the best body type, but has never really stood out. That leaves only a handful of guys.

Kameron Kelly

Kameron Kelly is a fan favorite due to his ball-hawking skills. He has range and speed, and plays the ball much like a cornerback or wide receiver when it is in the air. What is working against Kelly is his size. He is wiry and thin and would be a liability if asked to get physical or help against the run. He could land on the practice squad, but I am not sure he fits what Richard really loves in a safety.

Chavarius Ward

Chavarius Ward is a very physical cornerback who plays much bigger than he looks. He is not afraid to get physical with any receiver and is a willing participant in the run game. While he is not really a safety, I think he might get some looks at the position, but will ultimately need time to develop against better talent. I could see him land on the practice squad.

Tyree Robinson

That brings us to Tyree Robinson. Of the entire group Robinson has the height and weight that Richard loves. Standing at 6’3” and weight in at 200 pounds, he has the size to get physical and the skillset to play deep safety. He takes bad angles to the ball and isn’t the fastest guy, but he knows how to play centerfield and use his body to his advantage. Another practice squad player, but could see some game time late in the season.

Donovan Olumba

Donovan Olumba is another small school product who will need time to figure it out. As a converted safety who stepped in to play cornerback this past season, he has the flexibility to play both, but is much better as a safety. He has some size and plays physical, but needs to play zone to be effective.

Kyle Queiro

That leaves Kyle Queiro as the last prospect. Queiro is only one inch shorter than Robinson and weighs another fifteen pounds. He was a leader at Northwestern and has a nose for making big plays in big moments. He isn’t the fastest guy, but he might be the smartest. He is willing to get physical in both the passing and running game. But ask anyone at Northwestern and they will tell you if they needed a play to be made, Queiro was the guy.

Looking at each player, it looks like Queiro might be the best fit on paper for what Kris Richard is looking for. A big physical safety, who plays the ball, and smart enough to lead the defense. Right now, the fourth spot looks to be Queiro’s to lose.

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If Queiro plays like he did in college, he could easily be the fourth safety on the roster this season.

He should surprise and earn more playing time as the season progresses.

If the Cowboys go deep at safety either Robinson or Kelly will be the man. At the very least both will be considered for the practice squad.

The flexibility of Ward should keep him on the practice squad with hopes he develops into a starter or a quality backup.

That would mean the end of Showers and Huff, but the Cowboys could find themselves upgrading depth with their free agent signings.

Next: Dallas Cowboys: Projected rookie roles for 2018

Related Story: Who and What the Cowboys need at safety

Keep an eye on this battle in training camp. I suspect Queiro and Kelly will be the two that will stand out the most. Robinson could surprise as well, and it should not surprise anyone if they also play some at corner. It will be a fun battle, but at the end of it, Kyle Queiro should stand tall.