October 1, 2023

Training camp for the Dallas Cowboys is basically here and it won’t be long before the buzz gets going for our favorite new players on this football team. But before that has a chance to happen, we thought it would be a fun exercise to identify our favorite pet cat candidates before everyone else has a chance to jump on board. Usually there is just one pet cat per person, defined as either a late-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent. But this year, if you have a hard time deciding on just one player, don’t sweat it because we have separated our felines into four different groups.

  • Favorite low-cost free agent signing
  • Favorite late-round draft pick
  • Favorite undrafted free agent signing
  • Favorite former pet cat who gets a second chance

Let’s go through the furry little critters from each breed.

LOW COST FREE AGENT SIGNINGS

POSITION PLAYER FROM SALARY
POSITION PLAYER FROM SALARY
RB Ronald Jones II Kansas City Chiefs $1,232,500
OL Chuma Edoga Atlanta Falcons $1,232,500
LS Trient Sieg Las Vegas Raiders $1,232,500
DE Ben Banogu Indianapolis Colts $1,080,000
K Tristan Vizcaino Arizona Cardinals $997,500
K Brandon Aubrey Birmingham Stallions (USFL) $898,333

If you believe that Ronald Jones could capture his 2020 awesomeness in Tampa Bay, he could be an interesting choice considering the Cowboys have a lot of question marks behind Tony Pollard. Chuma Edoga could be a good offensive lineman reserve and is one of many names in the mix at left guard. Trient Sieg has a choke hold on the long-snapper position considering he’s the only one currently on the roster, but nobody cares about him unless he’s terrible. And it’s a coin flip as to who wins the kicker job between two unknown wild cards in Tristan Vizcaino and Brandon Aubrey.

My free agent pet cat: Chuma Edoga

Considering I had my eye on him this time a year ago, I’m going to keep rolling him if for no other reason than to make Chumbawamba jokes.

LATE ROUND DRAFT PICKS

ROUND POSITION PLAYER COLLEGE
ROUND POSITION PLAYER COLLEGE
5 OL Asim Richards North Carolina
6 DB Eric Scott Jr. Southern Miss
6 RB Deuce Vaughn Kansas State
7 WR Jalen Brooks South Carolina

For late-round draft picks, we’re removing any player taken within the first four rounds from eligibility. With that in mind, the oddsmakers would probably have Deuce Vaughn as the most likely candidate to garner pet cat votes especially if he shows off those big runs in the preseason. Or we could go the other way and take the most head-shaking draft selection the team made when they traded for unknown corner Eric Scott Jr., or the even more perplexing pick of wide receiver Jalen Brooks. Then there’s the nobody hates it/nobody loves it pick of Asim Richards who caught some of us off guard because he’s not an experienced guard and that’s what we were all expecting.

My late-round pet cat: Asim Richards

The Cowboys have become really good at finding sleeper offensive line gems. And with Terence Steele rehabbing and the team preserving the health of Tyron Smith, there should be plenty of opportunities for the Cowboys’ young tackles to show off their stuff. Richards comes with some workable traits, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he created some training camp buzz and became a meaningful part of their future.

THE NEW UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS

POSITION PLAYER COLLEGE
POSITION PLAYER COLLEGE
FB Hunter Luepke North Dakota State
TE Princeton Fant Tennessee
WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper Fresno State
WR David Durden West Florida
WR Jose Barbon Temple
WR John Stephens Jr. Louisiana
OT Earl Bostick Jr. Kansas
OG T.J. Bass Oregon
OLB Tyrus Wheat Mississippi State
OLB Isaiah Land Florida A&M
OLB Durrell Johnson Liberty
CB Mile Brooks LA Tech
CB D’Angelo Mandell BYU

A couple of months ago, we pondered which UDFA is most likely to earn a roster spot. Hunter Luepke is an easy choice for a pet cat, but Oregon guard T.J. Bass was another interesting player because of the questionable competition ahead of him. And there are several interesting wide receivers who could challenge for that WR4 spot behind the main three.

My UDFA pet cat: David Durden

Bass is still the player to keep an eye on, but to mix it up a little and pick something other than an offensive linemen, we’re going with the West Florida pass catcher. Durden brings an assortment of skills that range from slot possession guy to deep threat. He also offers something on special teams as both a returner and gunner and those types of things can punch your ticket onto the roster.

SECOND CHANCE PLAYERS

POSITION PLAYER JOINED TEAM VIA YEAR 2022 SNAPS
POSITION PLAYER JOINED TEAM VIA YEAR 2022 SNAPS
WR Dennis Houston UDFA 2022 2nd 60
FS Markquese Bell UDFA 2022 2nd 22
FS Tyler Coyle UDFA 2021 3rd 21
OT Matt Waletzko 5th round pick 2022 2nd 1
LB Devin Harper 6th round pick 2022 2nd 0
C Brock Hoffman UDFA 2022 2nd 0

And let’s not leave out some familiar names who didn’t quite get a chance to shine last season for one reason or another. Their offensive or defensive snap counts are listed above. Who are you taking from this group?

There are a lot of interesting choices here. We all are curious about what Matt Waletzko can do if his shoulder can hold up as he could be the team’s top swing tackle option. Markquese Bell has some good skills, but the Cowboys are stacked at safety. And let’s not forget last year’s pet cat of many, Dennis Houston, who was purring in training camp, but then went missing once the regular season rolled around.

My second-chance pet cat: Devin Harper

The Cowboys saw something in him last year and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds after suffering an Achilles injury last year. Outside of Leighton Vander Esch and Damone Clark, the Cowboys have a lot of “what ifs” at linebacker, and if Harper can capitalize on his athleticism, he could be a sneaky good depth guy who extends a little more than just a special teams contributor.

Who do you have as your pre-training camp pet cats? Hit the comments and let us know your picks.