Dallas Cowboys Make Strategic Addition with Linebacker Willie Harvey Jr.

Following an offseason that started with high expectations for the Dallas Cowboys, their approach has shifted to making strategic additions with the resources available. The Cowboys are now focusing on finalizing their 90-man roster as they gear up for training camp in late July. To bolster their inside linebacker depth, the team has scheduled a workout with St. Louis Battlehawks linebacker Willie Harvey Jr., according to NFL Media.

Willie Harvey Jr.'s Impressive UFL Performance

Harvey emerged as one of the standout performers in the United Football League (UFL), leading the league with 78 total tackles during its 10-game season. His defensive prowess extended further as he led all UFL linebackers in tackles for loss (nine), passes defended (six), and forced fumbles (two). Such outstanding production earned Harvey 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. Over the next few years, 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 these 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 justified Dallas's faith by earning Pro Bowl honors as a rookie. Last season, the Cowboys added kicker Brandon Aubrey from the USFL. Aubrey went on to have a historic season, setting the NFL record for the most consecutive made field goals to start a career (35) and tying former Vikings kicker Gary Anderson for the second-most successful field goals in a single season without a miss (35). Aubrey also set the record for the most touchbacks on kickoffs in a single season (99) and earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2023.

The Potential Impact of Harvey

Given this 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 following his workout. His UFL performance suggests that he has the potential to become a regular starter, or at the very least provide valuable depth for the team.

Coach McCarthy's Perspective

Cowboys' head coach Mike McCarthy has consistently emphasized the team’s commitment to improving the roster. "I think it's just kind of where we are. We're never done," McCarthy stated during organized team activities at the end of May when asked about potential roster additions. Reflecting on the team's strategy, he added, "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."

As the Cowboys continue their preparations for the upcoming season, the potential addition of Willie Harvey Jr. could be a key move. With a proven ability to spot and develop talent from less conventional sources, Dallas hopes to add another success story to their roster. Whether Harvey becomes a starter or enhances the team’s depth, his potential addition underscores the Cowboys' ongoing commitment to building a strong and competitive team.