FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys' nine draft picks in April comprised their largest draft class since 2009, and all remain with the team following Saturday's final cuts.
Seven are on the current 53-man roster: running back Ezekiel Elliott (first round), defensive tackle Maliek Collins (third round), defensive end Charles Tapper (fourth round), quarterback Dak Prescott (fourth round), cornerback Anthony Brown (sixth round), safety Kavon Frazier (sixth round) and running back Darius Jackson (sixth round). Linebacker Jaylon Smith (second round) is on the Reserve/Non Football Injury list as he continues to recover from the knee injury he suffered in his final college game. Tight end Rico Gathers (sixth round) cleared waivers and signed to the practice squad on Sunday.
Head coach Jason Garrett described the rookie class's progress since joining the team in the spring.
"Well, we like the group," Garrett said. "You start with Zeke Elliott -- we feel like he's done a really good job with the opportunities he's gotten. Jaylon Smith is obviously coming off an injury. Maliek Collins was hurt in the spring but he's done a really good job since he's been back. We haven't seen much of Tapper lately because of his (back) injury, but we're hopeful he'll be back here in the next few days. So you think about those guys we drafted in the first four rounds, we feel good about what they've done and what they can be for our team. Certainly the right kind of guys and approaching things the right way every day.
"Obviously Dak Prescott, the second guy we chose in the fourth round, his offseason and training camp speaks for itself, the opportunity to be a starting quarterback for us in Tony (Romo's) absence. He's really done a good job with the chances he's gotten. Always prepared, always ready. Learns from his experience.
"The guys we took late, each of those guys in their own way have taken advantage of their opportunities. Anthony Brown, the plays that he's made over the course of the preseason, certainly made a big play in the game against Houston the other day. He'll be a guy that will contribute for us both as a (special) teams player and on defense as the year goes on.
"Darius Jackson came in as a running back. Because of our running back situation over the course of the preseason he got a lot of work and he took advantage of it. He's shown us that he can be a guy that can play in this league. Still a young player, still a lot to learn, but going about it the right way.
"Rico Gathers is back on our practice squad, a great developmental player. A guy who hasn't played football since he junior high so it was going to be a new experience for him. But he certainly learned quickly, and he's gotten better and better and better. It will be a great opportunity for him to work as a practice squad guy on our team this year and get better and better and better as he goes.
"And Kavon is another good example of a young player who took advantage of opportunities. There was a lot to like about him coming out. He's an instinctive player, a physical player, and again, what you want to do as a coach is give him a chance, give him a chance in practice, give him a chance in games and let them show you who he is. He certainly did a good job of that. A long way to go but he's made a lot of progress over the course of this thing. Excited to have him on the roster as well."
The Cowboys also signed four undrafted rookies to the practice squad Sunday after they cleared waivers: center Jake Brendel, wide receiver Andy Jones, linebacker Deon King and tight end Austin Traylor.