Six downroster Cowboys showing up early in 2020 training camp


The pads have come on and the Dallas Cowboys are getting into the heart of training camp as they prepare for the 2020 season. One of the most entertaining things about camp each year is watching for players down the camp depth chart to emerge and try to stake a claim to a roster spot. They may not be high draft picks, or might be coming off lackluster performances in the past, but give us reason to hope that they will be a factor for the team this year. Sometimes it comes to naught, but at times, we get to see the start of something good.

It’s still early, which means the sample size is a bit small, but here are a few names that have generated a bit of excitement.

Cedrick Wilson

The top three wide receivers are set, of course, but you have to have depth. So far, Wilson has taken a pretty clear lead for the WR4 job.

Wilson also has the advantage of having been on the roster last year, but was only active for six games and recorded just five receptions. That still gave him a year working in practice with Kellen Moore and Dak Prescott, which is not insignificant. Now he is making a real move to get an increased role spelling the starters and maybe (we can only hope) on the field in some four wide sets.

Jon’Vea Johnson

He has been here before, having gotten some nice reviews last year during the offseason. But dropped passes in preseason and then injured reserve kept him off the roster. He is making a bit of a splash this year. The team should carry at least five wide receivers on the roster, so there is a job if he can prove himself.

It’s a good way to get attention, but he needs to have more than one or two standout plays. Consistency is going to be the key. Still, it is a start.

Ventell Bryant

It shouldn’t be too surprising to see three wide receivers make this list, because that position group traditionally has some of the most exciting stories and competitions in camp. With an offense that seems to be tilting more and more to the passing game, or at least that we hope is, that means there are going to be plenty of chances for the guys that catch the ball.

For Bryant, the important question might be whether Dallas will carry five or six WRs into the season. However, if they just carry five, it is not all bad news, because they will want a ready to plug in receiver on the practice squad. In either case, Bryant, like Johnson, gave the coaches something to consider. Of course, one player’s standout moment is not always good for the guy lined up across from him.

Like Johnson, Bryant needs to establish some consistency. There are plenty of other receivers looking to make a mark.

Francis Bernard

Every year, it seems, there is one UDFA that jumps out and builds a case to make the roster. This year it is Bernard, who is also part of a bigger positive trend – interceptions.

It’s great to see so many defensive backs getting picks, even in practice. It is a bit remarkable to see the team being led in interceptions by an undrafted free agent linebacker.

Bernard won’t be a surprise to some. Many pegged him as the UDFA with the best chance of making the roster. However, that was predicated on him being a strong special teams player for John Fassel. The performance he has turned in so far hints that he may be more than that. The Cowboys have a very strong linebacker group, and with Jaylon SmithLeighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee, Bernard would strictly be seen as a backup. He just appears to be a much more capable backup than expected at this stage of camp.