The Dallas Cowboys lost Dwayne Harris to the New York Giants in free agency, leaving them looking for a returner and a fifth receiver. Yet, they didn’t draft one.
That’s why undrafted free agent receivers flocked to the Cowboys.
Dallas signed five rookie receivers, including Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, coach Jason Garrett said.
Goodley, who ran a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, made 30 career starts for the Bears and had 150 catches for 2,366 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also had 45 kickoff returns for 1,037 yards in his first two seasons in Waco.
Yet, he went undrafted.
Dane Brugler, a draft analyst for cbssports.com, said the concerns about Goodley were “he didn’t use a route tree or playbook in college and faces a tough transition in the NFL.”
But Goodley has a chance to make the Cowboys’ roster.
“We liked him,” Garrett said Sunday night while attending the team’s 11th annual Taste of the NFL to tackle childhood hunger. “We kind of targeted him. He’s a good receiver. He was productive down there. We’ve had some success with Baylor receivers. Knowing [Baylor coach] Art Briles, we know how those guys have been coached, and we heard nothing but good things about him.
“We didn’t draft a receiver, and we have some wide-receiver-spot needs. We actually signed five college free-agent receivers. It’s a great opportunity for those young guys to come in and see if they can show us that they can make our football team.”
The Cowboys have yet to release their list of undrafted rookie free agents, but several already have tweeted that they agreed to terms: Offensive linemen Shane McDermott (Miami) and Daniel Quave (Louisiana-Lafayette); defensive backs Joel Ross (Appalachian State) and Ray Vinopal (Pitt); wide receivers Goodley (Baylor), Nick Harwell (Kansas), Lucky Whitehead (Florida Atlantic) and Deontay Greenberry (Houston); tight end Ray Hamilton (Iowa); running back Synjyn Days (Georgia Tech); quarterback Jameill Showers (UTEP); and defensive tackle Chucky Hunter (TCU).
Garrett, Hardy chat
Garrett said he talked to Greg Hardy on Friday night after the defensive end’s tweet created a Twitter firestorm.
“I think it’s important to just have great discipline with that,” Garrett said. “I’m not someone who is on Twitter. I understand that a lot of people are. It’s part of the fabric of our culture these days. But I just think it’s important for guys to use it the right way. We try to emphasize that to our guys. Distinguish yourself with your play, not with what you say, is something we talk about all the time.
“That’s just another medium that we have to address. Some guys just need reinforcement one way or the other when they reach out and do some of those things. It’s all a learning process. None of us are perfect. We’ll just try to address it as these things come up.”
On Friday night, a Carolina Panthers fan posted a photo of second-round receiver Devin Funchess next to second-year receiver Kelvin Benjamin and referred to them as the twin towers. Hardy replied: “didn’t the twin towers get blown up lol.”
Hardy deleted the tweet shortly afterward and later issued an apology.
“Ill say this I apologize 4a comment that mentioned an event where no reference 2humor is ever ok but I hope my real fans know I would never,” Hardy wrote on his Twitter handle, @OverlordKraken.
Running back needy
The Cowboys went through three days and eight picks without ever selecting a running back.
They are ready to bank on Darren McFadden to have a breakout season. That much became clear in the post-draft news conference with Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett.
“McFadden made a big difference here,” owner Jerry Jones said. “His availability — make no bones about it — we didn’t know that McFadden was going to be available when we initially started to think about this year and in our decisions regarding that. We did not know that.
“It might have been a little different story had we not had McFadden on our roster in this draft.”
The Cowboys are ready to go with the belief that McFadden, as well as Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams, can carry the load left behind by DeMarco Murray, the league’s top rusher last year.
McFadden, the fourth overall pick in 2008 out of Arkansas, had only one 1,000-yard season in his seven-year career with Oakland. He averaged more than 5 yards a carry during his 1,000-yard season in 2010, but has seen that average dip to 3.3 and 3.4 yards a carry the past two seasons.
He also comes with plenty of injury concerns, playing all 16 games for the first time a season ago. McFadden has had 15 different injuries during his career, costing him to miss 29 games.
Georgia Tech’s Synjyn Days is the only running back the Cowboys have signed as an undrafted free agent. Days, who ran a 4.60 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, began his college career as a quarterback in a triple-option offense. He rushed for 1,396 yards and 18 touchdowns on 255 career carries, including 924 yards and nine touchdowns on 157 carries in 2014.
Staff writer Drew Davison contributed to this report.
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760