Jam Media / Contributor

You can believe the Dallas Cowboys are doing their best to hit CTRL+ALT+DEL after the 2020 season. It was one derailed by a gargantuan number of injuries and to players who determine the outcome of every game, from two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott to perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith and his opposite edge compatriot, La'El Collins, all of whom suffered a season-ending injury that headlined an offense ravaged by health issues. All three are now fully recovered and readying for OTAs, but the need to bolster talented depth on their usually touted offensive line remains until further notice, and that's where Isaac Alarcón enters the conversation.

Alarcón joined the organization in 2020 as a part of the NFL's International Pathway Program, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Mexico -- one of four players awarded to the NFC East (one per team). And while the Cowboys would've loved to have access to his services last season, IPP rules prohibited Alarcón from being eligible for activation in Year 1, instead holding him to the practice squad for further development with a chance to make the active roster in 2021.

Eligible to participate in this year's rookie minicamp, the 22-year-old is not only developing, but in impressive fashion. He's showing an ability to flex from the edge to the interior and back, and that's intriguing for a Cowboys team that was in such despair last season they were eventually forced to concede moving All-Pro guard Zack Martin to right tackle. Head coach Mike McCarthy is keeping a keen eye on Alarcón to see what the club truly has there. 

"He's definitely proven -- today he took snaps at both the tackle and the guard position," McCarthy told media. "And I like the way he looked when he stepped inside. ... He's very diligent. Just love his attitude, but he's definitely made a lot of improvements the last year."

There's still some refinement needed, but with OTAs, minicamp, training camp and the NFL preseason still on the calendar, there's also plenty of time for Alarcón to prove himself -- combined with his time on the practice squad in 2020. 

"Frankly I think like a lot of things in his game, when you play the tackle position, pass protection is at a premium. So, he's definitely has a much better feel of the blocking component of it," McCarthy added regarding Alarcón's progress. "So, as I said, he just needs to continue in his pass-blocking."

It helps to see the 6-foot-7, 320 pound specimen working with famed offensive line guru Duke Manyweather, who also does a lot of work with Smith and Collins (having also worked with former Cowboys lineman and respected analyst Brian Baldinger in yesteryear) and who recently called Alarcón an athletic "freak" -- a compliment of the highest order when considering the source. 

"Isaac has tremendous physical tools and is a quick learner," Manyweather told A to Z Sports Dallas in March. "Isaac also possesses some traits and movement skills that are extremely rare for a man his size. ... The NFL is filled with tremendous freaky athletes and ridiculous talent. No matter his path and origin -- Isaac is one of those freaks."

There's also the added motivation of Alarcón having grown up a Cowboys loyalist, something he made sure the team's front office knew when in their first-ever conversation with him just over a year ago.

"I'm used to being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys," he told team exec Will McClay at the time. "So me [now] being a player -- it's a miracle. I'm so grateful. ... I promise you will not be disappointed in me." 

The Mexican native played his first major league season in 2015 as a member of Borregos ITESM Monterrey, and played for the UANL High School No. 9 Eagles before that. In 2016, he helped lead a Mexican team that went on to land a bronze medal at the Under 19 World Championship -- held in China -- so he's no stranger to performing on a grand stage. The Cowboys were able to use a roster exemption for him in 2020, but that won't be the case this time around, which should help push the issue in coming camp battles as to who deserves to stay and who doesn't. 

They signed veteran tackle Ty Nsekhe this offseason and drafted controversial offensive lineman Josh Ball to help the cause behind Smith and Collins, along with selecting interior lineman Matt Farniok with the final pick of the draft, and followed those moves up by grabbing Braylon Jones in undrafted free agency. Like Jones, Alarcón has the added value of being able to play at multiple positions and, as mentioned, that should increase his chances of making his NFL debut in 2021; but not before he goes toe-to-toe with all of the aforementioned as well as those not named here, like incumbent backup swing tackle Brandon Knight and a progressing Connor McGovern

Alarcón has his work cut out for him, but also has the talent to scissor it into an NFL career at a position of need for the Cowboys, along with the attention of the head coach in Dallas.