Position battle: Can Derrick Dockery earn a job?
Guard Derrick Dockery has 113 career starts, but only four of those came in the last two years. He was out of work until the Cowboys, hit by a rash of injuries to guards, signed him last week.
However, don’t assume that the 6-foot-6, 325-pound Dockery is just a camp body. He’s competing for a backup job.
There are three guards who are virtually guaranteed roster spots: free agent additions Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau and undrafted rookie Ronald Leary. Livings and Bernadeau were given eight-figure contracts with significant signing bonuses to be starters, and the Cowboys liked Leary enough to guarantee $214,000 of his salary.
That likely leaves Dockery battling David Arkin for a roster spot.
Arkin, a fourth-round pick last season, has the advantage of being younger and cheaper. Dockery has the edge of being more experienced and ready to play.
“I love Dock,” offensive coordinator/line coach Bill Callahan said. “I saw him on film when he played last season against the Giants and also against the 49ers, and I liked what I saw. This is really positive. He’s encouraged about his opportunity and we had a good, long talk about what he needs to get done and how he can improve himself. He’s very willing and very motivated to do a great job for us.”
The decision could be influenced by the health of Bernadeau (just started practicing after recovering from hip and knee surgeries) and Livings (out with a strained hamstring). If their durability is in doubt, it’d make sense for Dallas to keep a guard who has been in the battles before.
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