FRISCO, Texas – It's always exciting when a new draft class comes to town. First-round picks get the star treatment complete with a ride on the Cowboys bus and a tour of the facility. Other draft picks get their shot in the spotlight throughout their first practices and preseason. But over the last few seasons, there has been notable value in the undrafted free agent signings.
Last season, it was Peyton Hendershot and Malik Davis that both stood out for the offensive side as the year went along. In years prior, it was Terence Steele, Rico Dowdle, and Cooper Rush that all made their names as undrafted prospects.
And of course, historically, some of the greatest Cowboys players in team history were undrafted in Hall of Famers Drew Pearson and Cliff Harris, along with Pro Bowlers Mark Tuinei, Bill Bates, Miles Austin and Tony Romo.
This year marks another deep class of talented rookies that will fight for the right to play for the Cowboys in 2023. Here are three offensive signings that could find their way onto the roster this offseason.
Hunter Luepke, FB (North Dakota State)
There has not been a fullback on the roster since Jamize Olawale in 2019, but Luepke could change that with a versatile skillset. Could be utilized as an H-back or tight end hybrid because of his ability to affect the passing game in the backfield. Luepke was a three-time First Team All-American at the FCS level and finished his career with 1,665 yards and 33 total touchdowns.
Moves very well without the ball in his hands and takes the right angle to blocks in space. His footwork and upper body strength will translate well. He'll have to sharpen his routes and improve his yards after the catch ability if he hopes to make the 53-man roster in the Fall.
Mike McCarthy was known to carry a fullback during his years in Green Bay. And with the play-calling duties under his direction in 2023, he may choose to have one on the roster for the first time since taking over as head coach.
T.J. Bass, OL (Oregon)
While Dallas did add offensive lineman Asim Richards on Day Three of the NFL Draft, their general picture of the offensive line situation remains cloudy. Bass brings some impressive depth to the guard position that c
Before moving out to left tackle because of necessity in 2021, Bass made a name for himself as one of the more dominant interior linemen in the Pac 12. He was much better at the guard spot but was still an All-American left tackle for the Ducks when put on the edge.
He showcased a "team-first" attitude and high motor. Finishing blocks was no problem for the 6-foot-4, 317-pounder as he continuously looks for work and wants to punish defenders when making contact. Bass struggled at times against the more polished and aggressive edge rushers, like the ones he faced against Georgia. But with his mindset and grit, adding to the offensive line depth could certainly be a possibility.
Jalen Moreno-Cropper, WR (Fresno State)
In recent years, undrafted receivers like Dennis Houston, Dontario Drummond, and T.J. Vasher have made training camp headlines but have not made any true impact in the regular season. Moreno-Cropper enters with a play-tempo and route-running ability that could make things interesting.
He was a four-year starter with the Bulldogs, starting in 2019 and earning All-Mountain West honors in each of the last three seasons. In his final two collegiate seasons, he tallied over 80 catches each year and finished with 16 total touchdowns. His 220 career receptions were good enough for fifth most in school history.
Most of his limitations come from a lack of size. He measured in at 5-foot-11 and 172 pounds during the NFL Combine. He struggles to high point the ball when fighting through contact or working into traffic. Despite that, his 4.40 40-yard dash still put him in the conversation to be taken on day three, instead Dallas secured his rights following the draft. Adding a speed and shifty skillset that few pass catchers on the roster have.