(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 pass-rusher Isaiah Land.)
How He Got Here: For the second year in a row, the Dallas Cowboys made their presence felt in the undrafted free agent market with Florida A&M University after taking Markquese Bell in 2022 and Isaiah Land after April's 2023 draft. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn honed in on Bell during the draft process in 2022, but while evaluating his film, a young violent edge rusher also caught his eye in Land. The Cowboys kept tabs on the Buffalo, N.Y. native throughout the 2023 process and when he went undrafted, they were quick to sign him to one of their more lucrative undrafted free agent deals.
What's Next: Stop me if you've heard this before, but Land brings a certain element to this defense: versatility. In addition to having pass-rush ability as an edge rusher, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound defender also has potential as an inside linebacker in space. The ability to move anywhere in the second level along with his athleticism and production from his college days as a Rattler makes him a high ceiling prospect in Dallas' 2023 draft class that has the potential to contribute as early as year one. Special teams will most likely be the best fit early on, but even earning that type of roster spot would show early success for one of FCS' top defenders from the last two seasons.
Bet You Didn't Know: As a junior at Florida A&M, Land won the Buck Buchanan Award which is presented to the National Defensive Player of the Year in FCS football. Land led the nation with 19 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss that season along with being a first-team AP All-American selection.
Quotable: "I remember telling Markquese [Bell] at the combine, 'Hey, Zay ran well. He did really good.' He said, 'He's a dog.' So, from that time, I've always had my vision on him." - Dan Quinn on evaluating Isaiah Land during the draft process.