Cowboys work out 4 UFL defenders, including 2 former 1st-round draft picks

Cowboys work out 4 UFL defenders, including 2 former 1st-round draft picks

Cowboys management loves to say that player evaluation happens 365 days a year. What they never mention is that some of those days are slightly busier than others.

Tuesday was one of those days. The team hosted four defensive players from the UFL- DC Defenders cornerback Deandre Baker, DC Defenders cornerback Gareon Conley, Michigan Panthers linebacker Noah Dawkins, and St. Louis Battlehawks linebacker Willie Harvey Jr.- for workouts at The Star in Frisco as the team prepares for training camp in late July.

All have at least some level of experience with NFL clubs; two of them were first-round draft picks at one point before their careers took a detour.

Baker was taken in the first round of the 2019 draft by the Giants. A Jim Thorpe Award winner and consensus All-American at Georgia, New York actually traded up to get him. But an arrest before his second season landed him on the commissioner’s exempt list, and the Giants waived him shortly thereafter. He made the Chiefs practice squad toward the end of the 2020 season and got back onto the field in late 2021, but a broken femur cut his comeback bid short. 2024 was his first year back in football; he was named to the inaugural All-UFL Team.

Conley was a first-round draft pick of the Raiders in 2017. The former Ohio State Buckeye played 23 games for the silver and black, making 20 starts and logging four interceptions over three seasons. The Houston Texans traded for him midway through the 2019 season, but he played just eight games with the club and spent most of 2020 on injured reserve. He logged two interceptions for the 4-6 Defenders this spring.

Dawkins was impressive enough coming out of The Citadel to be ranked in Mel Kiper Jr.’s Top 300 in 2019, but he went undrafted. He spent that summer in camp with the Bengals, then signed with Tampa Bay. After one season, he joined the Jets, where he stayed through the 2021 season. After a camp stint with Chicago in 2022, he moved to the USFL’s Panthers. This spring, he recorded 38 tackles for 7-3 Michigan under former Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

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Harvey was an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State in 2019 and spent three seasons in the Browns organization. This spring was his second season with the Battlehawks and his league-leading 76 tackles earned him an All-UFL nod.

Per the team website, the Cowboys currently have just two open roster spots with about six weeks to go before training camp opens in Oxnard, Calif.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire