Jay Ratliff takes Phil Costa to class

OXNARD, Calif. – The All-Pro nose tackle spent about 15 minutes after this morning’s walkthrough working with the undrafted rookie center.

Jay Ratliff says he’s willing to work with anybody who asks him, but his session with Phil Costa is also evidence of Ratliff’s respect for the scrappy center.

“He’s a tough guy,” Ratliff said. “He’s coming every play, regardless of what happened. You could beat him 1,000 times, he’s still coming. You can’t do anything but respect that. You know that he has the fight in him, the will and the want to win. I think he’s going about it the right way to get it all done, just constantly asking questions.”

Ratliff said he believes Costa has a “very strong shot” to make the Cowboys’ final roster. The undrafted rookie is actually pretty much a lock, according to a couple of folks in the front office.

The 6-foot-2, 310-pound Costa’s toughness is probably his most impressive trait. His intelligence ranks right up there.

He’s smart enough to realize that he doesn’t know much, which is why he’s constantly picking the brains of guys like Andre Gurode and Ratliff. His post-walkthrough work with Ratliff focused on technique, especially with the hands. Ratliff stressed that players who are undersized for their positions have to be technically superior to succeed.

“It’s amazing how much you think you know in college,” Costa said. “He’s showing me stuff now that I’ve never even seen.”