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Mailbag: Could Any UDFAs Make An Impact?


I noticed some of the Cowboys' undrafted free agents received decent guaranteed money. Why pay so much for someone who wasn't drafted? And among that group, who are you excited about? Does anyone have a chance to make an impact next season? – Adam Gordon/Freehold, NJ

Nick Harris: The group of undrafted free agent signings is intriguing, and while we won't get our first look at them until later this week at rookie minicamp, there are a couple of names I'm already attaching my eyes to. First off, North Dakota State fullback Hunter Luepke reeled in $200,000 in guaranteed money, which is a very clear indicator of high expectations for the former Bison. How could he be used in the offense? Is there a Kyle Juszczyk type of ceiling here? The fact that either of those are valid questions at this point have me excited for what his contributions could be. On the defensive side, I really like the athleticism and backfield presence from Florida A&M edge Isaiah Land. The 2021 FCS Defensive Player of the Year accumulated 27 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss in his final two collegiate seasons, and the expectation is that there will be a high floor for what he can do in the backfield at the NFL level. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, there will need to be some muscle added to his frame, but if he can retain his athleticism, I think there is a wide-open opportunity for Land to make a claim in a wide-open linebacker room.

Mickey: First of all, when you see undrafted rookie free agents receive guaranteed money, the amount basically guarantees them they will at least spend a full season on the practice squad, sort of a bargaining chip to get them signed as free agents. I would think the guy with the best chance to make the team would be North Dakota State fullback Hunter Luepke. Head coach Mike McCarthy loved him some fullback at Green Bay. In 43 games at NDSU Luepke actually carried the ball 274 times for 1,665 yards and 24 touchdowns, along with 38 receptions for 494 yards and nine more TDs. He was a Jack of all trades in college, not only playing fullback, but also tailback, tight end and taking direct snaps in a Wildcat formation. Also keep an eye on cornerback Myles Brooks from Louisiana Tech after spending three seasons at Stephen F. Austin. Also catching my eye is Florida A&M defensive end Isaiah Land, the FCS 2021 Defensive Player of the Year.

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