A good practice or two doesn’t guarantee a NFL roster spot but it doesn’t hurt. But so far everything seems to be pointing up with former FAMU safety Markquese Bell and the Dallas Cowboys.
After last weekend’s rookie minicamp the writing staff at DallasCowboys.com listed Bell as one of the ten players who stood out during the camp.
“After two rookie minicamp practices, I see why safety Markquese Bell caught the Cowboys eyes. The way he moves at 6-2, 212 pounds caught my eye, too. I think I understand why the Cowboys actually paid the undrafted rookie a $15,000 signing bonus to make sure they got their man, and basically guaranteed him at least the 18-week minimum of practice squad pay ($207,000),” wrote Mickey Spagnola.
Spagnola isn’t a coach, but he’s a veteran writer who’s covered the Cowboys daily for a long time. So the praise comes from a measured set of eyes if we’re looking for reasonable context.
Special teams future
Sporting jersey No. 41 for the Cowboys, we saw photos of Bell running through drills and catching punts. A picture is worth a 1,000 words but we must also continue to provide context as we filter through the scant information available from rookie minicamps. Some internet “reporting” had Bell as potentially doing some punt returns in games for the Cowboys, but not so fast. While anything is possible Mike McCarthy annually puts all rookies through punt return drills to test their ability to track the ball.
“Frankly, that was a little bit part of the tracking drill we did today,” McCarthy said. “We’ll do it again tomorrow.”
But Bell knows that special teams is going to be his door into being a contributor as a rookie if he makes the 53 man roster.
“I want to contribute on special teams. That is going to get my foot in the door,” Bell told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last week. “I want to learn the playbook and get with some of the older guys that know the system and learn from them to help me get where I want to go.”
The schedule is about to pick up for Bell as the Cowboys will roll out OTAs at the end of the month.
- OTAs will take place May 24-25, June 1-2, June 6-7, and June 9-10.
- Mandatory minicamp for veterans will be June 14-16
- Late July: entire team heads to Oxnard, CA, for training camp