This offseason, once again, the Dallas Cowboys had needs at their safety position. The Cowboys could have used an upgrade even before losing longtime starter Xavier Woods in free agency, His void only left Dallas in an even greater deficit.
Beyond former sixth-rounder Donovan Wilson, who had a bit of a breakout season in 2020, the Cowboys were in desperate need of more safety talent. To address it, new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn turned to his former team, the Atlanta Falcons. And Dallas promptly signed veteran free agent safeties Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee earlier this year.
Neal was immediately shifted to linebacker leaving Kazee to pair with Wilson to become the expected starting safety duo in the secondary once the regular season starts. The Cowboys also signed veteran safety Jayron Kearse who started a career-high seven games for the Detroit Lions last season.
In April’s NFL draft, the Cowboys technically didn’t acquire a safety. Instead, they selected South Carolina cornerback Israel Mukuamu in the sixth round and informed him they’ll be moving the lanky 6-foot-4 corner to safety.
Now, Wilson, Kazee, Kearse, and Mukuamu make up the Cowboys’ depth chart at safety along with existing veterans Steven Parker and Darian Thompson. But there’s also a wildcard in the mix in the form of undrafted rookie free agent Tyler Coyle out of Purdue. In fact, two Cowboys insiders, including Mickey Spagnola, have selected Coyle as the UDFA to watch this summer.
Here’s what the other insider, Kyle Youmans, recently wrote for DallasCowboys.com about Coyle as someone to keep an eye on …
” … I’m looking at Tyler Coyle (Purdue) to turn some heads as an ultra-athletic safety that could really improve the play speed on a defense that has lacked such a thing lately. A former track star and four-year collegiate starter, Coyle could add depth to a thin safety position while also playing a significant role on special teams.”
The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Coyle ran a blazing 4.36 forty-yard dash along with posting a 39-inch vertical at his pro day. After three successful years at UConn, the young defensive back transferred (graduate transfer) to Purdue following his head coach last year.
Shifting to linebacker, Coyle played just three games for the Boilermakers as a senior, racking up 13 total tackles and a single pass deflection. His best statical season came in 2018 as a sophomore for the Huskies when he recorded a whopping 108 total tackles in 12 games.
According to NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein, Coyle has a great combination of size and speed that should intrigue teams like the Cowboys. Unfortunately, his tape shows that his high-end athletic ability doesn’t often translate to success on game day.
Tyler Coyle has a rare opportunity this summer to impress a new coaching staff in Dallas. With a spot on the depth chart potentially up for grabs, a phenomenal performance during training camp and in the preseason could allow this unknown rookie to crack the final 53-man roster and make an impact at a position of serious need.