When the summer-long lockout went right up until the start of training camp, the one group of players seemingly affected the most appeared to be the undrafted free agents.
Without any OTA or mini-camp practices to work with, and the simple fact of already being at the bottom of the depth chart, the chances of a rookie free agent making the 53-man roster seemed even tougher than ever before.
But as the Cowboys are on the back end of this two-week training camp in San Antonio, it's clear that a few undrafted rookies have a shot of making this roster.
In fact, owner/GM Jerry Jones said he could see a scenario of at least five of those rookies making the team this year.
"We've got a chance that could happen," Jones said. "We're encouraged by that . . . Couple of linebackers, a receiver, offensive lineman. I thought the way college free agency has gone, I thought we wouldn't have the year we normally had. But on the other hand, watching how they've come along and developed, we might get the (undrafted) rookie class that we had hoped."
The only name Jones would confirm in his initial list is Abilene Christian wide receiver Raymond Radway, who has been a pleasant surprise with his pure speed and big-play ability.
Other guys that might be in that mix include linebackers Orie Lemon and possibly Alex Albright who have turned some heads here in these first 10 days.
As for the offensive lineman, it could be Toledo center Kevin Kowalski, who provides some versatility with his ability to play guard.
Jones didn't mention Oklahoma State kicker Dan Bailey by name, but he might just have the best chance of any rookie free agent to make the squad, having a head-to-head competition with David Buehler for the place-kicking job.
Also, running backs Phillip Tanner and Frank Howard have been taking advantage of more reps in the running game with Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray both sidelined.
By the end of last season, many of the Cowboys' undrafted rookies were on the active roster, including CB Bryan McCann, RB Lonyae Miller, Phil Costa, Barry Church and Danny McCray.
Of course, two of the team's top superstars – Tony Romo and Miles Austin – were both undrafted as well in 2003 and 2006, respectively.