(Editor's Note: With the offseason practices now complete, the Cowboys will take some downtime before departing for training camp on July 28. Until then, let's focus on some of the more unknown rookies on this team, fighting for a roster spot. Today's featured player is defensive back Joel Ross.)
Name: Joel Ross
College: Appalachian State
Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent
Jersey Number: 29
Collegiate Career: Ross was a three-year starter at cornerback for the Mountaineers, as he took over a starting job as a true sophomore. He's shown a penchant for contact, as he tallied 102 total tackles in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. As a senior, he managed three interceptions in 12 appearances. He finished his senior campaign with 39 tackles and three pass breakups, as well.[embeddedad0]
Did You Know? He's got his work cut out for him, but if Ross were to make the final cut, he'd be just the third Appalachian State player to appear on a Cowboys roster. The first was Jimmy Armstrong, who played two games at cornerback during the 1987 season. The second was 1997 third-round pick Dexter Coakley, who played eight seasons with the team and is fourth in team history in total tackles.
2015 Outlook: The depth chart at cornerback is fairly well determined, with several established veterans and a first-round draft pick. NFL teams typically carry five, perhaps six corners on their active rosters. It's safe to assume Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, Byron Jones and Morris Claiborne will be a part of that. That means Ross, like his fellow rookies, will be competing with the likes of Tyler Patmon and Corey White to grab a roster spot. He'll need to make an impression on both defense and special teams to pull that off. A realistic hope would probably be for him to earn a practice squad designation.
- Slow, controlled backpedal. When ball is in front he will drive to make the play.
- Shows a burst to carry his man across the field. Like the way that he plays square.
- Does a nice job of reading the route from off coverage and then staying in position. Can flip his hips and react inside.
- Willing tackler.
– Bryan Broaddus