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Mailbag: Do Any P. Squad Players Have ‘14 Potential?

Posted Feb 19, 2014

After Ron Leary was able to go from practice squad to starter last year, do you see anybody making a big contribution from the practice squad this year?
Rowan: No one jumps off to me as an obvious candidate like Leary was last year. A popular name will be Caesar Rayford, who had a tremendously productive preseason in Indianapolis but didn’t build on it during the regular season in Dallas the way many had hoped. If he regains that previous form, he could develop into a contributor. Darrion Weems never got any action last season, finding himself consistently on the inactives list, but a strong offseason for him could have him competing for a starting spot. But none of the practice squad players seem poised to make as big a contribution as Leary did.
David: I remember having this conversation during the final month of the season: considering all the injury and upheaval on the Cowboys’ roster last year, it seemed impressive that offensive tackle John Wetzel was able to hold a practice squad spot for roughly six weeks. The Cowboys signed Wetzel, an undrafted rookie from Boston College, during the bye week, and he held onto that spot despite never suiting up. That seems like some kind of endorsement of his ability. Unfortunately for him, the tackle spot looks settled for the time being.
At what point do the Cowboys place higher value on trading down than whatever players are left at  pick No. 16 or 17?
Rowan:They’re at a similar position in the draft where trading down seems like a feasible, and perhaps even likely, option. There’s no guarantee the player available to them in the middle of the first round is any better than a player they grab a few spots back if they decide to trade back. It totally depends on their draft board. If there’s a set of about eight to 10
players with similar grades when they’re set to pick, they’ll probably consider trading down. The trick is finding a trade partner willing to spend picks to come up. The Cowboys need as many early picks as possible with a lot of needs, so it’s certainly a possibility this year.
David: With the amount of talent in this draft, trading back seems like a pretty smart option. If you aren’t 100 percent in love with a player at your initial pick, by all means trade back and give your team another pick or two to work with. This draft seems deep enough that you’re still pretty likely to find a quality rookie at pick No. 25-32 as you were at No. 16 or No. 17. Turning the 18th pick into Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams, though scrutinized at the time, seems to have worked out pretty well to this point.
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