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Roster Rundown: Weems Has Chance To Make The Jump
Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players’ impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2014 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features offensive tackle Darrion Weems.
Name: Darrion Weems
Position: Offensive Tackle
Experience: 2 seasons
Key stat: Dec. 5, 2013, was Weems’ one-year mark on the Cowboys’ roster. He has spent time with five different teams since going undrafted in 2012, mainly as a practice squad member.
Contract Status: Signed through 2014.
2013 Impact: To fans of the team, having Darrion Weems on the roster for the entire season without him being active for one game might appear to be a waste of a roster spot. But this is where teams do smart things when they are thinking about the big picture and the potential future of their squad.
Weems has been on the Cowboys roster now for 20 games, but you have to look at his time here as a long-term investment. One of the hardest positions for scouts to find is not quarterbacks but quality offensive linemen, and when you can add one in the draft, free agency or poaching off another team’s roster, you have to take that opportunity.
From the work that Weems got in those final four games of the 2012 season, then training camp and now another complete season, he is ready to compete for a spot as that swing tackle – a position which was held by Jermey Parnell the last two seasons. What Weems has also shown is that he has the athletic ability to maybe project as a guard in this zone blocking scheme.
What we have seen from Bill Callahan and Frank Pollack is a willingness to not be afraid to move guys around on the offensive line to see if they might have some usefulness at other positions. Callahan and Pollack put Weems in a position on the scout team during the season at guard as well as tackle, to see how that might help his development.
From the reports that I heard, he looked comfortable in handling those responsibilities and there were some thoughts that he could actually help at both spots.
Where He Fits: The trait that stood out the most about Darrion Weems when I studied him at training camp was how light he was on his feet. He is going to need to work on his power and strength but the athletic ability is there.
The hope for the front office and coaching staff is that Weems develops like Ronald Leary and the jump that he was able to make from scout team guard into the starting lineup. If he is able to handle both positions, then his days of being inactive each week will stop. Then he becomes a valuable piece of the 46 man roster on game day. The Cowboys’ OTAs and minicamps will tell you all you need to know about how they feel about Darrion Weems and his future with the club, but it is time for that investment to pay off.
David Helman: It’s pretty hard to make a judgment on a guy who didn’t suit up for a real game all season. But think back to the amount of injuries this team faced last year – particularly on defense – and how creative the staff had to get in shuffling backup and practice squad players. At times during the year, it was pretty hard to remember who all still had a locker.
So the fact that Weems survived all the shuffling and cutting seems to say a lot about how the Cowboys feel about his potential. Like Bryan said above, I’m sure the ideal hope is that he can transition from a practice squad mainstay into a starter, or at least a reliable contributor, ala Ronald Leary.
At any rate, Weems will certainly get a chance to show how he’s improved when the team reports for OTAs, minicamp and training camp.