Now that the Dallas Cowboys have officially started their fall camp, there are a number of players that are standing out from the crowd. One of the more surprising names in the conversation about standouts is undrafted free agent signee Francis Bernard, Inside The Star‘s John Williams wrote on Friday.
The analyst wrote that the Cowboys came into 2020 with a pretty rich history of unearthing gems. Tony Romo, Miles Austin, and Cole Beasley all went undrafted to making significant impacts for their respective rosters. Austin and Romo were among the best the league had to offer for at least a few of their seasons.
Williams added that he thought things would be a bit different this year when it came to UDFAs because of the abbreviated offseason training period, as well as a depth chart that was pretty solid heading into the fall. He said that fewer practices and no preseason games meant fewer opportunities for down-roster guys to make an impression on the coaching staff.
A Former Utah Linebacker, Bernard is reportedly making it his mission to prove naysayers wrong, at least so far in camp. He’s caught the eyes of those who have the final say over whether or not he makes the team, as well as his teammates.
Blogging The Boys’ RJ Ochoa posted on Twitter that Leighton Vander Esch was asked on 105.3 The Fan who he thought was garnering the most attention among those who came into camp unsung. The linebacker wasted no time in mentioning Bernard.
“Oh yeah. I think Francis in our room. Francis Bernard. I think he’s really taken off. He’s a smart kid,” Vander Esch reportedly said.
“He plays fast, he’s made plays, he’s gotten an interception in the last two padded practices. I think he’s making a name for himself and I think he’s going to be awesome for our room.”
Vander Esch added that Bernard is someone who has played very instinctually so far. He also said he thinks the UDFA is going to be someone who will be an impact player on the Cowboys’ special teams unit in 2020, even if he doesn’t see time on the field on defense.
Williams said that while Bernard went undrafted, his success shouldn’t be a total surprise as he was a playmaker in the college ranks. In 2019, Bernard had five interceptions, 13 tackles for loss, four passes defended, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and an interception return for a touchdown.
Bernard had that level of success despite starting his playing career on offense. He was a running back at BYU before transferring to Utah and becoming a linebacker.