(Editor’s Note: Now that offseason practices are in full swing, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we’re featuring offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt.)
How He Got Here: Hyatt’s arrival in Dallas is one of the most surprising storylines of the Cowboys’ draft. The Clemson standout was a two-time All-American and a two-time national champion, setting the school’s career record for starts. It seemed like a sure bet that he’d be drafted – until he wasn’t. Concerns about his power and quickness pushed Hyatt off the draft board, where he was a popular target in undrafted free agency. Hyatt said he chose the Cowboys because their culture reminded him of Clemson, and because he wanted an opportunity to work with some of the NFL’s best. He joins the roster as one of the most accomplished undrafted free agents in history.
Bet You Didn’t Know: Hyatt is the nephew of Dan Benish, an All-ACC defensive tackle on Clemson’s first-ever national championship team in 1981. Thirty-five years later, Hyatt helped deliver Clemson’s second and third national titles as a starter at left tackle.
Quotable: “I just know how they value linemen here, and how great all the guys are up front, just watching them play and knowing they’re good guys, too – on and off the field. I want to be able to learn from guys like that.” – Mitch Hyatt
Bryan Broaddus’ Take: From talking to scouts around the league, you hear a similar story as to why Mitch Hyatt went undrafted. Hyatt was just as good as a freshman as he was during his senior season. Scouts didn’t see him improve from year to year and that turned a lot of them off. With that being said, the Cowboys’ front office was happy that they were able to grab him as an undrafted free agent. From what I’ve seen to this point, he will need to improve his foot quickness and this is possible as the team prepares for camp. These rookies are still working at the facility until we leave for Oxnard, so the strength and conditioning staff will push him to improve his speed and quickness heading into training camp.
Role/Roster Chances: This will be a steep challenge. The Cowboys have two highly qualified starters in Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. They also have an experienced veteran in Cam Fleming at swing tackle. There won’t be a ton of room on the roster for extra bodies. If he’s going to make the team, he’d either have to drastically outperform Fleming, or play well enough to convince the coaching staff to keep an extra tackle. Fortunately for Hyatt, he’s got things working in his favor. For starters, even if he doesn’t make the final 53-man roster, he’ll have a good shot at the practice squad. For that matter, if he impresses at training camp, he could catch the attention of the other 31 clubs around the league. If the Cowboys can’t find room for him, other teams are always looking for offensive line help. Perhaps he could even be part of a cut day trade. Only time will tell, but there are many avenues for Hyatt to find long-term work in the NFL.