Cowboys get college free agency right

May, 14, 2013
5/14/13
12:45
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – Felix Jones signing in Philadelphia is another sign of a flawed drafting approach used by the Cowboys, who have just one player remaining from the 2008 and ’09 drafts.

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The Cowboys could be down to perhaps just two picks from the draft classes of 2007-09 (Anthony Spencer, Orlando Scandrick) should they choose to cut right tackle Doug Free if they cannot reach a deal on a renegotiated contract.

But that’s old news.

What the Cowboys do quite well is college free agency, so there is reason to believe players like linebackers Brandon Magee and Tank Reed, safety Jakar Hamilton or running back Kendial Lawrence could become contributors in 2013.

Last year, 14 undrafted free agents were on the Cowboys’ 53-man roster at some point. Tony Romo and Miles Austin are the most mentioned, but the Cowboys have found starters in Barry Church and Phil Costa, a special teams stalwart in Danny McCray, one of the best kickers in the game in Dan Bailey and versatile players like Alex Albright, Kevin Kowalski and Lance Dunbar.

Jerry Jones should analyze what the Cowboys do in undrafted free agency and attempt to fix what ails this team when it comes to the draft. Here’s a hint: pay attention to the scouting department.

“We believe strongly in the college free agency process, and our personnel department does a great job not only evaluating the top players that get drafted, but also the rest of the guys,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We have so many guys on the team that come from the college free agency route, and so there are examples to us on the importance of it.

"But also to guys that come to our team, one thing we talk about all the time is it doesn’t matter where you come from, you’re going to get a chance to show who you are and if you can contribute to our team.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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