Cowboy alum are sprinkled across the NFL this preseason, some entrenched as starters, others scratching and clawing to make a team. Here's a quick recap of were they are and where they could be come the first week of the NFL season in September.
Justin Gilbert - (CB) Cleveland Browns - Reports are very, ugh, not good, for Gilbert this preseason. In a joint practice with the Buffalo Bills, Gilbert was reportedly "scorched" three times by an undrafted wide receiver. In that same report by the Akron Beacon Journal, Gilbert was reported as giving up a catch every time his receiver was targeted. As if that wasn't bad enough the reporter stated he had "never seen such a rough day". I mean... this is just bad folks.
In my opinion, Gilbert has all the tools to be a high end NFL cover corner. Speed, strength, athletic ability. He even has one of the best corners in the game in Cleveland to help mentor him, Joe Haden. His head coach, Mike Pettine, helped bring along THE best corner in the NFL, Darrell Revis.
Gilbert desperately needs a good break. He needs to get his confidence back and start playing with the swagger we all saw his senior year. All the Cleveland Brown jokes aside, he needs to get this thing in gear or he will be playing for the Oklahoma State South... err I mean Dallas Cowboys soon (maybe that's not a bad thing ehhhh?)
Late Update: Gilbert went down with a hurt hip flexor in the joint practice with the Bills. From bad to worse.
September Forecast - Very Cloudy, will likely start on the bench unless something drastically changes. Gilbert needs a strong finish to camp and preseason to re-establish some faith from the coaching staff.
Tyler Patmon - (CB) Dallas Cowboys - So, you may have missed it, but, Tyler Patmon threw down with Dez Bryant early in training camp...
The two quickly made up after Dez went full "hold me back" mode on the Dallas sideline for a few minutes. Outside of the "fight" reports are that Patmon is building off of his impressive 2014 season. His ability to play both inside and outside gives him a very good chance to see a lot of playing time this season. It's pretty wild to think that Patmon, and undrafted guy, is out-performing Gilbert, a first round pick. This just shows what most know, the NFL Draft (at least the evaluation process) is a crap-shoot.
Fighting Update: Dallas and St. Louis held the ever popular joint practice this week and today (surprise!) fights broke out. Patmon was seen taking on three Rams by himself, until, drum roll please... Dez Bryant came to back him up.
September Forecast - Bright and shiny, Patmon has the world at his fingertips going into this season. His ceiling is an every down player with the possibility of a Pro-Bowl appearance. At the very least, he's the starting nickel corner for the Dallas Cowboys to start the season.
Perrish Cox - (CB) Tennessee Titans - Perrish enjoyed a nice season ( 5 INT's) in San Francisco last year and was awarded with a 3 year 15 million dollar contract by the Tennessee Titans. He's rebounded from a shaky start to his NFL career and is slated to start for the Titans this season. Cox, if you remember was suspended for his last game his senior year (Cotton Bowl vs Ole Miss) and kinda ended things with Oklahoma State on a little bit of a sour note. If you want to catch up with what seems to be a much more mature Cox read this great article from John Glennon at the Tennessean.
September Forecast - Partly Cloudy, but only because he's playing for the Titans who are picked to finish around dead last in the NFL this season as they try to rebuild around Oregon's Marcus Mariota at quarterback. Cox will start and should see plenty of action as Mariota and the offense will struggle to stay on the field.
Kendall Hunter - (RB) San Francisco 49ers - Hunter tore his ACL last July but looks like he's recovered and ready to roll. He didn't suit up for the 49ers first preseason game but should do so for the upcoming exhibition versus Dallas. He does find himself in a bit of a log-jam situation in the 49ers backfield. Carlos Hyde looks like the starter with the newly signed Reggie Bush primed to take over the 3rd down role. Hunter will have to out work Mike Davis and Jarryd Hayne to make the roster. As long as he shows he's recovered from the ACL surgery he should be able to do that. Hunter has shown he's capable of being productive at the NFL level which should aid him during this camp battle.
Maybe they should watch this highlight to remind themselves just what they have in Hunter... (That song tho!)
September Forecast - Cloudy. The guys over at Niners Nation have him projected to miss the roster going into week two of the preseason. I think he ultimately makes the roster and will be a serviceable backup for the 49ers this season. If he get's cut look for him to get a look somewhere else.
Brandon Weeden - (QB) Dallas Cowboys - Weeden is entrenched as the number two quarterback behind Tony Romo in Dallas. He reportedly had a great offseason and is one Romo injury away from being the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. In the first preseason game he completed five passes for 42 yards in limited action.
Joseph Randle - (RB) Dallas Cowboys - Randle is in a training camp battle with Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar and newcomer Gus Johnson for the lead back role in Dallas. Even if he wins the job this will likely be a running back by committee situation going into the season. You won't see a year like Demarco Murray had last year from a single guy this season. Randle was held out from the first preseason game after suffering a oblique strain but should be a go for this weeks showdown with the 49ers. Randle needs a good preseason to show he can be depended on as the leader of the RBBC.
Dez Bryant - (WR) Dallas Cowboys - Pro Bowl.
Russell Okung - (LT) Seattle Seahawks - Okung continues to be an anchor on the left side of the line for the Seahawks. Seattle just re-signed quarterback Russell Wilson and should be interested in keeping him protected, which means Okung could have a long career in Seattle.
Lane Taylor - (G) Green Bay Packers - Taylor is in a battle for a roster spot in Green Bay. As of now the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel has him projected to miss the cut. If that happens, I believe he will find a home somewhere in the NFL this season.
Josh Furman - (S) Denver Broncos - Furman had two tackles and a sack in the Broncos first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. At the very least he will be on the scout team for the Broncos this year. If he keeps contributing and makes himself a factor on special teams (an area where Denver struggled in week one of the preseason) he should find himself on the 53-man roster.