Offseason | 2021

8 Under The Radar Standouts From OTA Practice

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FRISCO, Texas The second day of OTAs was open to the media and it was executed with tempo and rhythm. Regimented and detailed are two more words that come to mind, as well. Each airhorn and whistle blow had its place and sprinkled in amongst this group of 90 players are quite a few guys trying to find a place on the Cowboys' 53-man roster.

Here's a look at a few who caught my eye:

  • Carlos Watkins came out with some bounce at Tuesday's practice, literally leap frogging a standing tackling dummy. That's an impressive feat for a man weighing in at 6'3, 300 pounds. The fifth year defensive tackle, former fourth-round pick ,was very impressive showing powerful hands in reaction drills. Watkins is athletic and maintains balance when engaged. He's a very good striker with above average bend.  
  • Brent Urban's size and stature is a presence in the D-Line group. Urban plays with a good base and quick footwork. The club move may be his specialty. He has good change of direction. He uses his length to his advantage by using his hands to stun and rip. Urban's lower body strength is apparent when you see him in shed drills, combined with good pop and extension.
  • Anthony Brown shouldn't be counted out and he's practicing like it. In 7-on-7 drills opposite Trevon Diggs, Brown looked comfortable driving on receivers and jumping routes. On several plays he recognized and reacted to routes well. Brown did a good job shading receivers and taking away inside moves while maintaining outside leverage. He was smooth in his back pedal with good hands and hips to stay on top of receivers. After last year's rib injury Brown couldn't extend to punch at the line of scrimmage. Now fully healed, the punch is back.
  • Jourdan Lewis isn't a prototypical Dan Quinn guy physically, but he is tough as nails. Lewis tested receivers within every yard allowed to have contact by clawing, pushing, and bumping receivers off routes. He does a good job of frustrating receivers because he's pesky and physical. Jourdan Lewis competed in every drill and every play.
  • Damontae Kazee ruptured his Achilles tendon in 2020? That's the question I kept asking myself while watching team drills. Modern medicine has made some serious advancements, because Kazee seems to be showing zero effects from the injury. Kazee covered ground easily from the safety position, planted his feet and also changed directions smoothly. Kazee closes ground quickly and uses good angles getting to the ball. The organization took a ton of heat for not taking a true safety in the draft. Seeing Kazee's progress on the field might help explain why.
  • Bradlee Anae looks like he's packed on some pounds during the offseason. With the addition of size he's noticeably more explosive. He displayed several moves from a chop swim, club, rip, and spin move. Another improvement is his balance and feet. Not only is he exploding out of his stance but he's keeping his feet active. Anae worked well in one-on-one with hand technique. Fine tuning his hand fighting may help him gain playing time, especially with his disadvantage of arm length.
  • Tarell Basham's most recognizable trait is his motor. He doesn't stop. He is quick off the ball. He worked on moves at half speed, getting coached on his feet and hand placement. Basham has to add more moves to his arsenal and increase his flexibility to make an impact. No matter what, count on Basham to go full speed.
  • Rico Dowdle lined up at every position on special teams. He caught punts, lined up at edge, gunner, and corner. Special teams will probably be Dowdle's best opportunity to make the team, so it wouldn't surprise me if he took off his shoe and attempted to punt. In 7-on-7, Dowdle took most of the running back reps and a few slot receiver reps.

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