. This series will seek to preview this year's batch of undrafteds, as well as the challenge that awaits them at training camp. We'll continue the series with linebacker Deon King)*
College: Norkfolk State
College Career: You might not have ever seen Deon King's resume, but that doesn't make it any less impressive. During his senior season in 2015, he led all of Division I college football – both the FBS and FCS levels – with 163 tackles, which is an average of 15 per game. In doing so, he became the first-ever Norfolk State player to win the Buck Buchanan Award, which is given to the top defensive player at the FCS level. He was also a consensus first-team All-American. And just in case you think it was a fluke, he managed 106 tackles with 18 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks during his junior season in 2014. For his career, he finished with 372 total tackles, 52.5 tackles for loss and 22.5 sacks.
Spring Synopsis: King generated buzz when he signed with the Cowboys after the draft, given that he was one of the team's 30 pre-draft visitors to the team's facility. Pre-draft visitors are typically prospects that are highly valued by the organization, and that fact combined with King's college production is an intriguing combination. The buzz didn't last long after OTAs and minicamp began, as King faded into the background behind veterans like Anthony Hitchens, Andrew Gachkar, Kyle Wilber and Damien Wilson. That's understandable, though, when considering that linebacker is one of the game's most physical positions – while offseason practices are mostly non-contact.
How He Makes It: It's going to be tough, given the moves the Cowboys have made at the linebacker spot. Let's be totally clear: if a player like King is going to steal a roster spot, it's going to be primarily because of his abilities as a special teamer. Sean Lee and Rolando McClain are currently entrenched as the primary two starters, while Kyle Wilber just signed a two-year contract and figures to play on the strong side. The team also spent mid-round draft picks on Hichens and Wilson. King's best bet is to outplay the other depth players – guys like Andrew Gachkar and Mark Nzeocha – to try and grab a spot. King will need to show off his abilities on special teams, and he'll need to be impressive on defense when he gets his opportunities – be it practice or the preseason games.
How He Doesn't: A typical NFL roster includes somewhere between five and seven linebackers. Let's assume the Cowboys keep six. Sean Lee, Rolando McClain and Kyle Wilber are virtual certainties to make the cut. Hitchens and Wilson are likely to have spots on the final 53, as well. That leaves perhaps one, maybe two roster spots up for grabs between guys like Gachkar, Nzeocha, King and other undrafted rookies. If King doesn't do anything to distinguish himself this summer, he's more than likely to be a roster casualty -- though he could be in consideration for a practice squad spot.