Cowboys need more patience for '12 class

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
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IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett likes to say it doesn’t matter where you come from or when you were drafted to get a shot to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

Good thing.

The Cowboys’ 2012 draft class will need more time to take root, but the 2012 undrafted players could make more of a mark this season with Ronald Leary projected as a starting guard, Lance Dunbar as the third-down back and Cole Beasley as a slot receiver.

The biggest contributors from that year's draft class will be cornerback Morris Claiborne (first round) and tight end James Hanna (sixth round).

Last season shaped up as a redshirt year for the bulk of the 2012 class, but now they might have to petition for a sixth year of eligibility, as it looks like the Cowboys will have to wait until 2014 -- if ever -- to get much contribution from them.

Defensive end Tyrone Crawford (third round) and safety Matt Johnson (fourth round) are on season-ending injured reserve with Achilles and foot injuries, respectively. Last year the Cowboys lost linebacker Caleb McSurdy (seventh round) to an Achilles tear in training camp and never saw him, and wide receiver Danny Coale (fifth round) was hardly healthy and ended up tearing his ACL late last season while on the practice squad.

On Saturday McSurdy and Coale were cut, but Coale was at least brought back to the practice squad.

Defensive end Kyle Wilber (fourth round) is not guaranteed to be active every week, although he could be a core special-teams player.

For all of the gnashing of teeth over the emptiness that was the 2009 draft class (12 picks, minimal production), the Cowboys' class of 2012 is not off to the best of starts either. And after the trade of Sean Lissemore, the only picks from the 2010 draft are Dez Bryant and Sean Lee, although those are two excellent selections.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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