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Role Call: How Bland's Track Experience Will Help


(Editor's Note: With the offseason program in the rearview mirror, it's time to look ahead. As part of the preparation for training camp, this series will introduce 25 key players who are new to the Cowboys' roster, rookies and veterans alike. We'll continue with rookie cornerback DaRon Bland.

How He Got Here: The Cowboys had four fifth-round picks in this past NFL Draft. And for some reason, three of them are getting more attention than Bland, who was the second of the four picks. Bland was somewhat of a surprise pick, since many draft experts had him rated more as a late-round pick, if not a free agent. But we've seen in the past that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has a different opinion for his corners than others. Bland has that long body-type with the ability to go track the ball.

What's Next: Getting drafted is one thing, but making an impact, especially at this position won't easy. Don't forget this part when evaluating the Cowboys cornerbacks – they drafted two last year that really didn't have a big impact on this team. And so the Cowboys are still looking to find ways to get both Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright on the field more than just special teams. Throw Bland into the mix and it won't be easy for him. But here's the thing about cornerbacks – if they can play, there's always a spot. And if they can play well on defense AND provide some production on special teams, there will definitely be a spot – not just on the team, but on the gameday roster.

Bet You Didn't Know: Before his standout season at Fresno State, Bland spent three years at Sacramento State, where he was an All-Big Sky performer in both football and track. He competed in the long jump, high jump, triple jump, as well as running the 100 and 200 meters.

Quotable: ""It helped me a lot with speed and everything, especially at my position. You've got to have the speed because receivers and some running backs have the speed too. You've got to be able to keep up in this game." – DaRon Bland on using his track experience on the football field.

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