By Matthew Postins
The first college all-star game of the season was the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game in Tucson, Ariz. I watched the game and came away with some players that improved their stock in the NFL Draft. Would these players be good fits for the Dallas Cowboys? We’ll examine that, too. Remember – more than 60 players in last year’s Casino Del Sol All-Star game signed NFL contracts. But most of these guys will be late-round picks or undrafted free agents.
RB Onterrio McCalebb: The Auburn back showed off his incredible burst both running the football and catching the football. He really made some things happen outside the tackles. He’s not terribly big, but he can run, catch and return kicks. Plus, during the week he ran a 4.28 40. He’s blazing fast, a Darren Sproles type who could be a real joker-type player in a Cowboys offense.
WR Drew Terrell: The smallish Stanford receiver got the chance to return punts, and he pulled off a big one on the second half. He has top-end speed and can play physical. Early in the first half Terrell won a battle with two defensive backs for a deep pass from Washington State’s Jeff Tuel. He’s a Dwayne Harris-type. Question is whether the Cowboys need another one of those.
OLB Marvin Burdette: This guy was a tackling machine, leading all players with 12 tackles. I watched him bust an inside gap and sack the quarterback and he had another tackle for loss. Now that we know that Monte Kiffin is the defensive coordinator, Burdette’s size (5-foot-11, 230 pounds) and speed make him someone to watch. Kiffin loves sure tacklers.
S James Orth: Kiffin loves safeties that can play the ball. The Tampa 2 requires it. The San Jose State senior made a great play to break up a potential touchdown pass and picked off another. The Cowboys could use some developmental depth.
OLB Joseph LeBeau: At 6-1, 245 pounds, he’s at the top end of what Kiffin likes at this position group. But LeBeau was quick, tenacious and physical all night. He came off the edge to rush the passer and net a sack. Something tells me coaches were showcasing him to be a pass-rushing linebacker in the 3-4, though.
QB Jeff Tuel: The Washington State passer was efficient, accurate and showed the ability to make plays downfield with his arm. He also showed off his mobility. He’s strictly a developmental player for stashing away on the practice squad. But he made his receivers look good.
LB Justin Tuggle: That surname sure sounds familiar. He’s the son of Atlanta legend Jessie Tuggle. Justin, after losing out at quarterback to Collin Klein, moved to linebacker and picked up where his father left off. He showed great anticipation in picking off an overthrown pass. Scouts probably liked the fact that he just wanted to play in college and didn’t care about the position. His height – 6-foot-3 – is unusual for a Tampa 2 linebacker.
DT Aaron Tipoti: The Cal tackle showed great quickness in crashing the offensive line and disrupting a couple of pass plays. At 6-foot-2, 280 pounds, he projects as quicker end. If Kiffin’s defense that’s the right tackle, or the three-technique. He played plenty for the Golden Bears but didn’t get to the quarterback much.
FB Taimi Tutogi: He’s not just a fullback. He’s a defensive tackle, too. I’m not sure he projects to anything defensively. But he played four different positions in college and, at 260 pounds, he a massive lead blocker for any team that wants to run the ball with power. The Cowboys could use something like that in heavy run sets.
DT Al Lapuaho: The Utah State tackle was quite physical in this game. My note read, “Big dude. Good speed.” Kiffin likes both.
DB Chance Casey-Thomes: The Baylor cornerback picked off one pass and made a great play on another. The interception was terrific. He was fully extended and made the catch over his head. He was a safety in college, but his ball skills suggest he could play corner in a Cover 2.
RBs Ray Holley and Kendrick Southward: They’re basically the same back, smaller in stature but tough enough to run inside. Southward has the added benefit of being a good kick returner. The Cowboys may want to pursue more depth at running back. Holley was especially impressive when he caught a seam and showed he could get upfield.