Cowboys future focus: C Phil Costa


Position: Center/guard

Height: 6-3. Weight: 316

College: Maryland

How acquired: Undrafted free agent

What he did in 2010: Costa was active for four games, starting once at left guard for an injured Kyle Kosier on Oct. 31 vs. Jacksonville.

What to look for in 2011: While the Cowboys have had a difficult time in successfully drafting offensive linemen over the years, Costa appears to be one of the undrafted gems this team seems to find every April. The fact that Jay Ratliff spent a good 25 minutes with him after a training camp practice last summer teaching him about leverage and hand placement, tells you that Costa has something to him. Ratliff would not have wasted his time on a guy without potential. The starting center job will remain Andre Gurode’s in 2011 but Costa at least gives them some comfort in that he can handle two spots. He is smart and physical enough to get the job done. Maybe he is not a future starter but he can be a guy that sticks around for a few years.

Quotable: That game experience is so valuable, but I think you can definitely tell you’re getting in practice. We do one on ones every week and even on the scout team going against Jay, I know I’m getting better because when I do little tricks on him – or try to – I can see I’m getting better. It was great he took the time to do that with me [in camp] and even now I’m always trying to learn from him, trying to get the little things, how he gets off a block. He’ll show me and the next time I make it harder for him. He’s making me better. – Phil Costa

Bryan Broaddus’ Scout’s Eye: Probably not your ideal size for an NFL center but I was very impressed with his strength and his ability to sustain his blocks. When they asked him to do some things in space he was very effective. You probably don’t want to play him at guard all the time, but he showed some position flexibility. His No. 1 trait is strength. If you look back at this team they played championship football with Mark Stepnoski, who never was very big. The thing about [Costa] is he has good feet, good strength and the ability to stay on his feet. Overall I’m OK with this guy.