If the entire O-line stays healthy and each player plays as well as they did last year, who does Zack Martin replace if he starts? Who is the weakest link?
Rowan: It might have less to do with the weakest link and more to do with position flex. It'll come down to a camp competition, but if I had to make a prediction now, I'd guess he'd take Mackenzy Bernadeau's spot at right guard. Bernadeau's the likeliest candidate right now to fill in as a backup center, and he can also fill in at either of the two guard spots, while Leary's spot is very clearly at guard. The health of the two starting guards will certainly play a factor, but I think he'll be playing right guard to begin with.
David: Rowan mentioned health, so I think it's worth noting Leary's oft-discussed knee issue, osteochondritis dissecans, that contributed to him going undrafted. He was injury-free during the 2013 season, but he did miss part of training camp after getting his knee scoped. The Cowboys might opt for the sturdier option in Martin. But I do agree that Bernadeau's ability to play center might make him a more appealing backup.
Which of the undrafted talent can we expect to make an instant impact, if any? Or is this move mostly to burn some fire under the veterans?
Rowan:It's not just to burn some fire, that's for sure. They're looking for players who can come in and make the 53-man roster, even if it's just on special teams to begin with. My eyes are on both the 6-4 receivers, L'Damian Washington and Chris Boyd, as well as Arizona State defensive tackle Davon Coleman and Tarleton State cornerback Deshaun [embedded_ad] Phillips. These players need to standout big-time off the bat to stay on, and their odds are stacked against them, by I expect at least a couple to stick.
David: Stephen Jones said earlier this week he expects a handful of these guys to make the roster, and I don't think that's just lip service. Call me a LSU homer if you want to, but I think J.C. Copeland will make this team if the Cowboys decide to carry a fullback. I also think they'll find a way to keep Chris Whaley around, though probably not on the active roster since he likely needs a "redshirt" year to recover from injury. Washington and Boyd are also intriguing prospects, as Rowan noted, though there just doesn't seem to be a lot of room at wide receiver.