Longshots: A Former RB, Rookie DT Has Rare Athleticism For D-Lineman

(Editor's Note: Training camp is an important time of year for the NFL's undrafted free agents, as unknown players will fight to earn roster spots all over the league. The Cowboys have an especially rich history with undrafted free agents, given the success of once-unknown players like Tony Romo, Cole Beasley, Lance Dunbar, Jeff Heath and Dan Bailey. This series will seek to preview this year's batch of undrafted rookies, as well as the challenge that awaits them at training camp. We'll continue the series with defensive tackle Rodney Coe.)

Name:Rodney Coe
Position: DT
Height/Weight: 6-3 / 305
College: Akron

College Career: Coe bounced around a two other colleges – Western Junior College and Iowa State – before finishing his career at Akron. As a freshman in the JUCO ranks, Coe actually played running back and scored nine touchdowns. But as he continue to develop, Coe's best position was on the defensive line, where he shined in 2015, earning third-team All-MAC with 46 tackles, 8.5 for loss and two sacks.

Spring Synopsis:There might not be a rookie free agent that has garnered more attention so far this offseason than Coe. His big-body, coupled with his athleticism, has made him an early favorite among media and prognosticators to become this year's hidden gem on the roster. That doesn't mean Coe is a lock by any means, but in the practices, he showed good awareness to locate the ball and create havoc. Big guys like Coe aren't going to flash too much in the offseason without pads. It's hard for him to show how he plays with his size. So far, he looks the part and has become a player the Cowboys' coaching staff is excited to evaluate in training camp. [embeddedad0]

How He Makes It: Coe has a better shot of making it now thanks to the injury to rookie Maliek Collins, although he's expected to be back during training camp. Still, Coe should've been able to take advantage of the extra snaps. But he's still got plenty of experienced players in front of him in Tyrone Crawford, Cedric Thornton and Terrell McClain. For Coe, he just has to show he's good enough to keep on the roster. Big, athletic, young and talented are traits that will keep you on a roster regardless of the talent around him. If Coe comes to camp and plays big, gets up the field and makes plays in the backfield and shows that he's hard to move off his spot, the Cowboys will find a place for him.

How He Doesn't: If Coe gets to camp and doesn't flash early, it might hard for him to recover. He's currently on the outside looking in, but not too far behind. Camp is long enough, along with four preseason games, that a player can emerge and play himself onto the roster. If the Cowboys get a full camp out of McClain and Collins come backs healthy and plays like the team is expecting, it will be tough enough for a rookie such as Coe. Also, don't forget about Casey Walker, a big-body on the line who finished last year with the team. He could make it difficult for Coe to stand out as well. 

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