At The Star in Frisco over the weekend, we got our first look at the newest Dallas Cowboys from this year’s draft class, as they earn a star on their helmet. In late April, the Cowboys were very defensive minded in their war room as they put together a solid nine-man draft class, with seven of those picks coming on the defensive side of the ball. After having multiple defensive starters leaving via free agency during the off-season (Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Barry Church etc), it was necessary they plug as many holes as they could.
Expectations are high with this year’s draft class, with many of the picks expected to come in and make an impact, starting with first round selection, defensive end, Taco Charlton out of Michigan, who should help the pass rush. Cornerbacks, Chidobe Awuzie (2nd Rd – Colorado) and Jourdan Lewis (3rd Rd – Michigan) are welcomed additions to a Cowboys’ defense that was ranked 26th against the pass last season.
All of the rookies participated in minicamp, with the exception of Awuzie, who graduated over the weekend and missed day one. As with every rookie minicamp, there will be plenty of guys that slid through the draft and ended up an undrafted free agent, who got signed to come in and compete. These guys will either win a job and be a productive player, at best a Tony Romo, Miles Austin, or Barry Church or they will show everyone why they weren’t drafted in the first place.
There was a lot of buzz from two second-year players, tight end, Rico Gathers and linebacker, Jaylon Smith. Gathers spoke in the locker room about how he has grown more into the tight end position and really transitioned from his basketball roots. This is good news with the Cowboys eventually needing a successor for Jason Witten. As far as Smith, his knee that suffered nerve damage has been has been repaired and it’s possible that he may not need to play in a brace when the season starts. The Notre Dame product has been taking part in the Cowboys off-season program but did not participate in on-field activities this weekend.
In rookie minicamp, you have guys running around in helmets, shirts, shorts, with a limited portion of the playbook. You’re not really going to get a grand assessment of the talent on the field, besides the “eyeball test”. We will be able to see more of what this class is made of when Organized Team Activities begin in late May.
Ron Murray Jr.