*Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2015 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features cornerback Tyler Patmon.)*
Name: Tyler Patmon
Height/Weight: 5-10 / 196
Experience: 1 season
College: Oklahoma State
Key stat:Patmon was one of three defensive players to score a touchdown for the Cowboys in 2014. With his 58-yard pick-six against Arizona, Patmon became just the 11th rookie in franchise history to return an interception for a touchdown.
Contract Status:Signed through 2016.
2014 Impact: Our first introduction to Tyler Patmon came very early when, as an invited tryout player, he drew the praise of Monte Kiffin calling him "A young Ronde Barber" after his work in an afternoon practice during rookie mini-camp. That camp, Patmon was all over the field and earned the right to attend training camp as a member of the roster. What was impressive about Patmon, not only in that rookie camp but in training camp as well, was how well he competed. It didn't matter who he was matched up with, he was more than willing to step up and battle. With his play he not only gained the respect of his coaches but the front office as well. It was not an accident that he made the final 53-man roster because he was outstanding and there was legitimate hope that he would be a valuable piece to this secondary. Patmon received the majority of his early work on special teams, where he had two key tackles in the Seattle game to lead the team. It wasn't until after Morris Claiborne injured his knee in the New Orleans game where Patmon started seeing more action on defense as a dime corner. He showed flashes of his ball hawking style from the preseason with a pick-six interception against the Cardinals on a beautiful zone drop where Carson Palmer never saw him. He was injured the following week and missed three games, but when he returned he was back in the mix as that dime corner -- which was a look that Rod Marinelli used to match teams like Philadelphia, Washington, Detroit and Green Bay that were playing with multiple receivers.
Where He Fits: With the likelihood that Morris Claiborne will still be working on recovering from his knee injury and Brandon Carr and Sterling Moore being in a contract situation, I expect that we will once again see these coaches turn to Patmon early to see if the experience he gained from his rookie season helps him fill any of those roles. If in fact they lose any of those players I mentioned earlier, he is going to need to be ready to play. What I do know about Patmon in watching him play last season is that he's a talented player in all aspects of his game, but where he is going to have to improve is trusting his technique. There were too many snaps where instead of doing what Jerome Henderson asked him to do in regard to his technique, he held too much. He has the quickness to stay with anyone in the league but the minute he starts to hold and grab off the line, then there are going to be issues. There is no doubt in my mind that this kid can help in the secondary no matter how they choose to use him scheme-wise.
Nick Eatman: He's not the first guy to do this, but Patmon might be the best player to come out of the rookie workout pool since the Cowboys started inviting these camp hopefuls to the rookie minicamp following the draft. Not drafted is one thing, but then not even signed to a roster after that – Patmon is the longest of longshots and by the end of the year, he's got a solid role on the nickel defense. He's got some playmaking skills that can't be taught. My favorite Patmon play of the season came in preseason when he sniffed out that screen pass against Miami and scored a touchdown on a pick-six – a play that undoubtedly put him on the 53-man roster if he hadn't already locked up the spot.