Rookie free agents perhaps are the most affected by the lockout. Players like TCU receiver Bart Johnson, Texas A&M center Matt Allen, Arkansas tackle Ray Dominguez, Nebraska kicker Adi Kunalic, Ohio State receiver Dane Sanzenbacher and Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin weren't drafted and can't be signed until the lockout ends. Because of that, their chances of making a roster are reduced.
"That’s one of the disappointing things about the lockout has been a number of players have dreams and aspirations of being drafted in the NFL," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday. "For a lot of those guys, that doesn’t happen, but soon after the draft they’ve signed with a team. They say, ‘OK, that didn’t happen for me, but at least I know I’m going somewhere; here, we go.’ Unfortunately for that group of players, that hasn’t happened this year. They’re in a holding pattern. It’s going to require some mental toughness and some patience for them to understand what the situation is and then when they get their chance to make the most of it. We’re no different than anybody else. It’s happening to other teams around the league."
The Cowboys have had great success at finding diamonds in the rough. Tony Romo and Miles Austin both were undrafted free agents. They had 20 undrafted free agents on their roster last season, with Barry Church, Phil Costa, Chris Gronkowski and Danny McCray making the team out of training camp.
Garrett said the Cowboys have their list of priority rookie free agents ready to go as soon as the lockout ends.
"It’s really the same list that we would have after the draft, a number of guys that we’ve considered drafting and for whatever reason we didn’t and now you go to this next priority free agent list," Garrett said. "It usually happens two or three hours after the draft. It’s been a little extended this year."
-- Charean Williams