Half Of 2011 Rookie Class Was Undrafted

Always looking for the next Tony Romo or Miles Austin, the Cowboys have no prejudice against rookie free agents, as they showed in 2011.

By the end of the season, seven first-year players who were undrafted in April had been on the Cowboys roster, the exact number of players selected by the Cowboys to contribute at one point or another.

While kicker Dan Bailey was the only undrafted player to start for the team, the Cowboys also got help from safety Mana Silva, linebacker Alex Albright, guard/center Kevin Kowalski, punter Chris Jones and running back Phillip Tanner. Wide receiver Andre Holmes had been added from the practice squad by the end of the year, but never dressed.

Of the 2011 class, only one drafted rookie, fifth-round cornerback Josh Thomas, did not remain with the team out of training camp, after he was claimed on waivers by Carolina.

Late picks Dwayne Harris and Shaun Chapas spent significant time on the practice squad, while fourth-round guard David Arkin never played.

"I think it's important that you try to make the right decisions for your football team on draft day," Jason Garrett said of the rookie class in October. "And then, once draft day is over I think the worst mistake that an organization can make is to say 'We drafted these guys, we're keeping these guys,' so you can say publicly, 'Look, we have eight draft picks on our team.' I think that's a bad decision.

"We try to create a competitive environment. We've been very happy with all of our draft picks so far and the role that they're going to have for our football team now and in the future. When you draft some of those guys in the later rounds, hopefully your team is good enough where it's hard for them to make your football team. And then in other cases we've had some free agent-type guys step up and have a little role on our team so far at this point. So I think when you look at our rookie class, I think we feel good about the guys that we've drafted or signed competing for spots on our roster and roles on our roster."

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