FRISCO, Texas – It's a summer rite of passage.
Every August, the Cowboys show up to the practice fields in Oxnard, Calif., and work their way through more than a dozen grueling practices. Hundreds of fans and dozens of reporters scrutinize every rep, every day for three full weeks.
Naturally, someone is going to stand out. Whether it's a flashy wide receiver, a dominant defender or a locked-in quarterback, someone always brings his A-game to training camp. And with the amount of eyeballs on this team, that guy will always find his way into the news cycle.
Many times over the last decade, that man was Dez Bryant. Cole Beasley wore the mantra in recent seasons, while guys like DeMarcus Ware, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones have had big moments, as well.
So who will it be this year? When the Cowboys finally strap the pads on, who's the best bet to be their training camp MVP?
Nick Eatman: My first instinct was to say Randall Cobb, basically because the slot receivers usually make a ton of plays in practices and will stand out the most. I think Cole Beasley was a regular in the Top 10 training camp players. But I'll go with a different guy. Give me Xavier Woods. I think he's going to have a really good camp and will make a leap to one of the top defensive performers this year. The Cowboys are super high on him – evident by the lack of safeties they drafted or brought in to compete with him. Last year, another Woods (Antwaun) took a huge leap at camp, but I'll go with a different "X" factor this year.
Lindsay Draper: Training camp MVP for me is a guy who is acting like training camp is happening right now. Dak Prescott, in the heat of July, stands tall on the outdoor practice field at The Star, soaking through his hoodie and sweats and working on routes with receivers. I've already stated this offseason that this 2019 season could be one where Prescott pushes himself from good to great and into the championship conversation. Obviously, there are a ton of moving parts for that to fall into place -- but Prescott looks ready for training camp, coming into Oxnard looking sharper than he ever has before.
Rob Phillips: For years, Cole Beasley was among the most productive players in training camp, using his short-area quickness to create space against DBs in team drills. Now that Beasley has taken his talents to Buffalo, I'll take his replacement – Randall Cobb – as the next man to turn heads in Oxnard. We've already seen glimpses: He and quarterback Dak Prescott consistently looked on the same page in the offseason practices, and Cobb said during minicamp that he's getting comfortable with the play calls in a new system. That should allow him to play even faster when the pads come on in Cali.
David Helman: Training camp felt a little empty last year without Dez Bryant on hand to provide the electrifying plays. Amari Cooper might not have Dez's fiery personality, but he's plenty capable of dominating a practice. For starters, he's one of the best receivers in the league and will be hard to deal with on a daily basis. On top of that, it's a good guess that Byron Jones will be limited for much of camp while he rehabs from hip surgery. For both of those reasons, I think Cooper is going to go off this summer in a big way.