Blue-Star takes an in-depth look at the Dallas Cowboys' safeties.
The Good: Alan Ball got a chance to start in place of the injured Ken Hamlin last season and did enough to convince Dallas that he was the answer at free safety--as corroborated by the April release of the former Pro Bowler. Ball isn't the quarterback that Hamlin is, but the Cowboys like his ball-hawking abilities.
Gerald Sensabaugh isn't great in coverage but he hits hard and tackles well. He had one interception last season, but he may have had a couple more had a broken thumb not forced him to wear a cumbersome cast on his hand.
Second-year Clemson product Mike Hamlin is still developing mentally, but the team likes his raw ability and size. They are also high on fourth-round selection Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, the division II stud.
The Bad: Ken Hamlin was bad last season, but not as bad, in our estimation, as many seemed to think. His release wasn't completely motivated by money, but it was a large factor.
One has to wonder somewhat about the team's unwavering confidence in the position. Aside from that of Sensabaugh, there is little experience among the group to speak of. Pat Watkins will likely be back, but this is due to his special teams play more than anything. Toledo product Barry Church will provide some competition for Watkins, but he'll have to prove he's Watkins' equal on special teams, a decidedly difficult task.
Owusu-Ansah has struggled through the offseason with a shoulder injury, which should draw some concern--from those who have heard of him, anyhow.
The Future: The team is confident in the Ball-Sensabaugh tandem--they proved this by passing on a number of free agents this offseason--and they proved as much by passing on a number of free agents this offseason. And, to be fair, Ball and Sensabaugh were pretty good last season when Hamlin went down. Owusu-Ansah is exciting, judging by reports. But due to injury, we've yet to see what he can do.
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