The Dallas Cowboys made a defensive roster maneuver coming out of their bye week Tuesday, signing defensive lineman Breeland Speaks to the practice squad, according to reports. Speaks was among four players whom Dallas worked out last week, joining DL Greg Gilmore and punters Colton Schmidt and Marquette King.
Speaks was a 2018 second-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs who won a Super Bowl with the organization last year. He totaled 24 tackles and 1.5 sacks across all 16 appearances as a rookie before missing the entirety of his sophomore campaign on injured reserve.
Waived by Kansas City at September final cuts, he (6-3, 285) spent a month on the Las Vegas Raiders’ practice squad prior to his Nov. 3 release.
“I, and our staff, thought in his rookie year he did some things that you can really lay a foundation on,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said after pink-slipping Speaks. “And we all know that he came in a little out of shape the next year, and then he had the injury. So, I think when you get behind the eight ball in professional football, it’s tough.”
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Speaks was a three-year contributor for Ole Miss from 2015-17, collecting 121 tackles (50 solo), 15 tackles-for-loss, nine sacks, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles across 32 career games. He drew a mid-round pre-draft grade from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who likened Speaks to former Lions DT Nick Fairley.
“Speaks is a revved-up player who needs to learn to contain some of the emotions that dominate his play,” Miller wrote in 2018. “He has the size and athletic ability to be a quality end in a 3-4 scheme, but the recklessness that he plays with is a concern at the next level. Teams will expect him to rein some of that in to be a consistent contributor in the NFL.”
The Cowboys continue to reinforce the line after losing 2019 second-rounder Trysten Hill to a torn ACL and cutting veteran nose man Dontari Poe. Behind starting tackles Antwaun Woods and Neville Gallimore on the depth chart are Justin Hamilton and Eli Ankou, whom the club acquired via trade last month. Ankou logged 11 defensive snaps in Dallas’ Week 9 loss to Pittsburgh.
Speaks becomes the third DL to land on the Cowboys’ practice squad, along with Walter Palmore and Ladarious Hamilton.
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