Cowboys Sign Rookies Israel Mukuamu, Matt Farniok: Report


New Cowboys DB Israel Mukuamu

On the eve of rookie minicamp, the Cowboys are putting pen to paper with members of its 2021 draft class.

Per beat reporter Michael Gehlken, Dallas on Thursday signed sixth-round defensive back Israel Mukuamu and seventh-round interior offensive lineman Matt Farniok.

Mukuamu, the No. 227th overall pick in last month’s draft, will receive a standard-issued four-year deal worth roughly $3.610 million, according to Spotrac’s projections. He’ll take home a $130,707 signing bonus and count $692,677 against the team’s salary cap.

Farniok, the team final’s choice at No. 238 overall, will earn $3.582 million over the life of his four-year pact. His signing bonuses and cap charge are $102,698 and $685,675, respectively.

The Cowboys drafted 11 players and added 13 others as college free agents. Among others still unsigned are first-round linebacker Micah Parsons, second-round cornerback Kelvin Joseph, third-round defensive linemen Osa Odighizuwa and Chauncey Golston and cornerback Nahshon Wright, fourth-round linebacker Jabril Cox and tackle Josh Ball, fifth-round wide receiver Simi Fehoko, and sixth-round DL Quinton Bohanna.

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Mukuamu Background, Fit

A three-year contributor for the Gamecocks, he recorded 64 solo tackles, 10 pass deflections and seven interceptions across 22 games from 2018-2020. His best season came in 2019 when he notched a career-high four INTs and nine PDs.

Although Mukuamu vacillated in South Carolina’s defensive backfield, he’s expected to open his Cowboys career at safety, rotating behind presumed starters Damontae Kazee and Donovan Wilson and competing for playing time with the likes of Jayron Kearse, Darian Thompson, and Reggie Robinson.

“I’m just a do-it-all guy. … Whatever they ask of me, that’s what I’m going to do,” Mukuamu told Dallas media after being drafted, vowing to shoulder whatever was needed to “get on the field.”

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Farniok Background, Fit

The Nebraska product appeared in 39 games and made 32 starts as a collegian. A two-time captain, he played four years for the Huskers: 2017-19 at right tackle and 2020 at right guard.

Farniok (6-5, 311) was ranked by Bleacher Report as the 24th-best offensive tackle in this year’s draft class, drawing comparisons to former San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers and New York Giants lineman Spencer Pulley.

Farniok excels on inside-zone concepts where he can dig out shades and create initial displacement with enough of an anchor to hold his own against the bull rush. He timed much faster than he plays and takes poor angles in space, failing to consistently locate targets. His base narrows and pads rise quickly after initial engagement as a run-blocker, causing him to fall off too many blocks, and his hands are often late and wide as a pass protector, making him susceptible to losing quickly against skilled rushers.

Farniok has valuable leadership qualities, experience and enough athletic ability to warrant a shot in camp with some depth potential at center/guard.

Farniok should be considered the favorite to become Dallas’ primary swing guard, the next man up behind starters Zack Martin and Connor Williams. He also could work at center, a position occupied by only 2020 fourth-rounder Tyler Biadasz and 2019 third-rounder Connor McGovern.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL