IRVING, Texas – While the Cowboys had plenty of action in the seventh round Saturday afternoon, taking five players to round out the draft, it didn't take long for the organization to shift its focus to the next process of the weekend.
Signing undrafted free agents has proven to be an important part of the NFL Draft and the Cowboys are once again expected to sign several players who didn't hear their name called in the seven-round draft.
"We'll probably sign about 20 guys here," Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said. "When you look at the nine guys we drafted, we'll probably have about 30 rookies joining our team here this weekend. That's a third of our roster right there."
Stephen Jones said the Cowboys will probably have to release a few players as well to get all of their new players on the roster before the start of Friday's rookie minicamp.
While the official list won't be released until all of the players pass their physicals and sign the dotted line later this week, names have started to trickle out, including Texas defensive lineman Chris Whaley, who won't be ready to participate because of a torn ACL injury he sustained in November.
"Yes. He's a redshirt," Jerry Jones confirmed Saturday night, meaning Whaley likely won't be ready anytime soon. "As you know, he's injured. We're trying to put some nuts in the tree for the winner. We're trying to stack it up." [embedded_ad]
Some notable names that will be able to participate as early as this weekend include:
L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
Ben Malena, RB, Texas A&M
Kolton Browning, QB, Louisiana-Monroe
Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A&M
Jordan Najver, TE, Baylor
J.C. Copeland, FB, LSU
Dontavis Sapp, OLB Tennessee
Glasco Martin, RB, Baylor
Davon Coleman, DE, Arizona State
Chris Whaley, DT, Texas
Evan Wilson, TE, Illinois
Ronald Patrick, OL, South Carolina
Joe Windsor, LB, Northern Illinois
Brian Clarke, G, Bloomsburg
Josh Alandenoye, OT, Illinois State
The Cowboys will likely have a few other rookies in camp as well on a tryout basis. Two years ago, Texas A&M rookie Ben Bass started out as a workout player but was eventually signed to the roster and made the squad.
Nobody has to convince the Cowboys of the important of undrafted free agents. Not only are they continuing to benefit from the services of Tony Romo, who went undrafted in 2003, but they've had standouts such as Miles Austin and the current roster consists of key players who weren't drafted as well, including kicker Dan Bailey, Barry Church and Lance Dunbar.