(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 2016 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features cornerback Deji Olatoye.)
Name: Deji Olatoye
Height/Weight: 6-1 / 194
Experience: 1 season
College: North Carolina A&T
Key Stat:Olatoye intercepted his first career pass in his first career start Dec. 27 at Buffalo.
Contract Status: Signed through 2016.
2015 Impact: Was a great example of how a front office is able to use its practice squad to develop players. Made two quality starts at the end of the season after spending the first 11 weeks honing his craft. Physically looks the part. Long, rangy build to handle bigger receivers on the outside. Relaxed, comfortable back pedal. Never appeared to be rushed or hurried. For a tall player, he showed the ability to change directions with ease. Was nicely able to adjust in route. Solid body control and balance. Played with lower body bend and flex. Good awareness and reactions to the ball. His interception against Buffalo was largely due to his ability to carry the route and maintain position throughout. Did a nice job of getting his head around and locating the ball in flight. Aggressive tackler. Didn't shy away from contact. Was always willing to step up and take on the ball carrier. Found ways to defeat blockers and get in on the play. Would not say that he is better at either man or zone coverage. Looked comfortable playing in whatever the situation called for. Need to see a receiver try and take him down the field in order to gauge his true speed. Was not a liability at all in the games that he was asked to play in.
Where He Fits: Bit of a forgotten player by fans when looking toward the makeup of this roster in 2016. Have to respect his ability to cover and be a physical player on the edge. Thirteen tackles in two games tells you a lot about the makeup of this player and what they potentially have in him. Would not sleep on his ability to make this roster as one of those six cornerbacks due to what we saw from him in those final two games. Should get a nice shot in training camp.
Rob Phillips:Olatoye is a great example of a player who earned an opportunity by getting noticed in practice. He signed onto the practice squad after the preseason and performed well enough during the season that the coaches promoted him to the active roster in November. A hamstring injury to Mo Claiborne and the team's decision to release Tyler Patmon further elevated Olatoye on the depth chart by season's end. He and Terrance Mitchell got a nice three-game audition in December, and the team likes both players' competitiveness. Both are players to watch in the cornerback competition this summer.