Longshots: McKinnon Hopes To Provide Depth Behind Veteran CB Group

(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 cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon.)

Name:Jeremiah McKinnon
Height/Weight: 5-11 / 189
College: Florida International

College Career: McKinnon was a productive two-year starter in his four seasons at Florida International, posting five interceptions and 13 pass breakups in 24 games. He made All-Conference USA honorable mention as a senior.

Spring Synopsis: McKinnon worked with the backup corners during OTAs and training camp, taking reps outside and in the slot. That versatility could improve his chances of earning a roster spot. For a defense that produced only 11 takeaways last season, it was noteworthy that the rookie intercepted a pass from Dak Prescott in minicamp.

How He Makes It: Continue making plays on the ball in practice and preseason – and of course, show assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia he can be an asset on special teams. Cornerback depth is always a need against the league's pass-first offenses, and it's worth noting the defense dealt with injuries to Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne last year. McKinnon's competition includes Deji Olatoye, a two-game starter last year; sixth-round pick Anthony Brown; and veteran Josh Thomas. The Cowboys kept five cornerbacks on the initial 53-man roster last year, so two spots are conceivably open behind Scandrick, Carr and Claiborne.

How He Doesn't: Without a consistently strong preseason in competition with a draft pick (Brown) and a young player who excelled last season (Olatoye). And remember, the Cowboys could always look outside the roster for free agent help depending on how training camp goes. They worked out veteran free agent Brandon Boykin in mid-June, and although they didn't sign him, it's a reminder the team could always continue to look to improve their corner depth through free agency.

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