The battle between NFL division rivals is, more or less, perpetual. A truce is struck every now in again via trade, but that’s often rare, unless it’s during the draft. And while the Dallas Cowboys are no stranger to the latter, having made deals with both the New York Giants and philadelphia eagles in the previous two Aprils, they with, before reminding the Washington Commanders that once the event is over — it’s time to again take up arms.
To that point, as each of the 32 NFL teams clamored to be the organization chosen by the most coveted undrafted free agents on Saturday afternoon, there was one in particular that the Commanders went full speed toward; namely former Texas A&M linebacker Aaron Hansford. They’d achieve their mission of getting Hansford to agree to terms, but the problem for them was simple: the Cowboys were also in hot pursuit and until a prospect signs on the dotted line, they reserve the right to change their mind.
Hansford exercised that right on Saturday, decommitting from the Commanders to instead join the Cowboys, sources confirmed to CBS Sports (first reported by Aggies Today), instantly ingratiating himself with the Dallas faithful and vilifying himself with the Commanders fanbase in the process. He’ll join a list of 19 undrafted free agents joining the Cowboys and a linebacker room in desperate need of depth — giving him a very real shot at earning a spot on the final roster.
Adding insult to injury for the Commanders is that while Hansford attended college in Texas, he’s from the Washington, DC area, which means he also waved off the chance to return home.
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Here’s the full list of undrafted prospects set to meet in Dallas for rookie minicamp in May:
- Markquese Bell, S – Florida A&M
- Juanyeh Thomas, S – Georgia Tech
- La’Kendrick Van Zandt, S – TCU
- Isaac Taylor-Stuart, CB – USC
- Big Kat Bryant, EDGE – UCF
- Aaron Hansford, LB – Texas A&M
- Mika Tafua, LB – Utah
- Storey Jackson, LB – Liberty
- Peyton Hendershot, TE – Indiana
- Ty Fryfogle, WR – Indiana
- Dennis Houston, WR – Western Illinois
- JaQuarii Roberson, WR – Wake Forest
- Aaron Shampklin, RB – Harvard
- Malik Davis, RB – Florida
- Amon Simon, OL – Texas A&M Commerce
- Alec Lindstrom, OL – Boston College
- James Empey, OL – BYU
- Dontario Drummond, WR – Ole Miss
- Jonathan Garibay, K – Texas Tech
All things considered, this is presumably a very strong UDFA class for the Cowboys.
They were not only able to woo away a talent like Hansford from an NFC East enemy, but in also looking at names such as Alec Lindstrom and James Empey, both of whom could see themselves challenging for playing time at center as early as 2022 (even if only as a backup), as well as another sought-after defensive talent in Markquese Bell, it really isn’t difficult to see why this haul of undrafted free agents is arguably one of the best in the NFL.
The need at each position of need was again addressed following a draft that saw the Cowboys address many of them with their nine selections, while also taking care of ones that were not addressed in the three-day event in Las Vegas — ie, kicker , safety and running back. And while they’ve garnered a robust tally of 19 UDFAs, they could still at a couple more over the coming days, sources say, as they build and then refine their 90-man offseason roster.
And at least one of them has already made it clear he believes the Cowboys are better than the Commanders, something that will only add spice to the rivalry, assuming Hansford makes the final cut and then takes the field for what many view as the most venomous rivalry in all of football.