Dallas Cowboys' Strategic Approach Includes Workouts With UFL Linebacker Willie Harvey Jr.

Following an offseason that started with high expectations for the Dallas Cowboys, their approach has now shifted to making strategic additions with the resources available. The Cowboys are currently focusing on finalizing their 90-man roster as they gear up for training camp in late July. A significant part of this strategy involves a scheduled workout with St. Louis Battlehawks linebacker Willie Harvey Jr.

Willie Harvey Jr.'s Impressive UFL Performance

Harvey emerged as one of the standout performers in the United Football League (UFL). He led the league with 78 total tackles during its 10-game season. Additionally, he led all UFL linebackers in tackles for loss (nine), passes defended (six), and forced fumbles (two). Harvey's stellar performance earned him one of the three coveted inside linebacker spots on the UFL's inaugural All-League team.

A Journey of Persistence

Harvey's journey to professional football has been anything but smooth. The linebacker went undrafted out of Iowa State in 2019 but was picked up by the Cleveland Browns. He oscillated between the Browns' practice squad and active roster, appearing in four NFL games. His last NFL appearance came during the 2021 season when he recorded a tackle in Cleveland's Week 17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite limited opportunities, Harvey managed to make his mark on special teams, recording two tackles in his four-game NFL career.

Dallas's History with Alternative League Talent

The Cowboys have shown a knack for finding talent in alternative leagues. In 2022, they signed KaVontae Turpin, a wide receiver and return man who had earned MVP honors in the USFL. Turpin went on to earn Pro Bowl honors as a rookie. Last season, the Cowboys added kicker Brandon Aubrey from the USFL. Aubrey set the NFL record for the most consecutive made field goals to start a career (35). He also tied for the second-most successful field goals in a single season without a miss (35). Additionally, Aubrey set the record for the most touchbacks on kickoffs in a single season (99). He earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2023.

The Potential Impact of Harvey

Given the Cowboys' track record of success with players from alternative leagues, it wouldn't be surprising if Willie Harvey Jr. made a significant impact should the Cowboys decide to sign him. His UFL performance suggests that he has the potential to become a regular starter or provide valuable depth to the roster.

Coach McCarthy's Perspective

Coach Mike McCarthy has consistently emphasized the team’s commitment to improving the roster. "I think it's just kind of where we are," he said. "We're never done. I actually just met with (vice president of player personnel) Will (McClay) for quite some time this morning. We got plenty of really good players to practice and get ready. We were at 88 this time last year."

The Cowboys' strategic approach this offseason underscores their commitment to building a strong, competitive roster. By considering players like Willie Harvey Jr., they are not only tapping into potential hidden gems but also reinforcing their approach to continuous improvement.

As the team moves closer to training camp, Cowboys fans will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on new additions and potential signings. The legacy of previous alternative league successes provides a hopeful context for Harvey's potential impact. Should he secure a spot on the team, it could very well be a continuation of the Cowboys' knack for unearthing talent in unconventional places.