Some parting thoughts after the Cowboys Rookie Camp this past weekend:
- If you asked me to name one player from the overall camp that looked like he was ready to play right now, I would have said cornerback B.W. Webb. I thought he practiced with confidence and poise to match his ability to handle the position. There didn't appear to be many plays where he was in a state of panic or struggling to do his job. There is an ease of movement where he almost looked like he wasn't trying, he was that smooth. When the entire team gets together in the coming weeks, I do not believe that we will see a player that feels like the stage is too big for him. It was a very good start for him.
- There will be a great deal of pressure on center Travis Frederick this summer to win the job over Phil Costa and by all rights, there should be. In watching Frederick this past weekend without pads on, it was going to be for me how well he was able to move around athletically and surprisingly, it was better than I expected. There was times where he wasn't perfect with his technique but the effort to finish the job was not in question. When Frederick was able to work with Ronald Leary and D.J. Hall securing the down guy and working to the second level, it created opportunity for these backs to gain yards. Some of the better runs that the offense had on the stretch plays is when these three were able to hook up on their blocks and the backs were able to hit the crease. What Frederick is going to have to gain a better understanding is when he faces games up front and where he fits in the passes and pickups. Playing with balance for him will be a big key.
- On Friday in my practice notes, I offered some thoughts on offensive tackle Edawn Coughman who was in town as a workout player for camp. On Monday, the front office added Coughman to the roster going forward with the opportunity to make the club this Summer. What caught my eye about Coughman was how light he was on his feet for such a large man. At 316 pounds, he has the movement skills of a man in the 280's. There were several reps where he was either on the front or back side and he was in perfect blocking position. It was quite impressive to hustle to get to the second level and cut off the linebacker. In his pass set, he worked away from the line well, keeping a nice base while not get overextended or reaching for his man. He will need to develop some strength and power but there is plenty to work with just because of the athletic traits.
- A great deal of my attention during this camp was spent in the secondary watching the safety play but I player I wanted to mention was cornerback Dustin Harris. Physically Harris is not the biggest corner (5-10, 171) you will see but he will battle you. I felt like as the camp wore on, he got better each practice. Harris showed some nice reactionary skills and putting himself in position to make plays on the ball. There were several plays where he made these receivers have to fight for contested catches. He showed the ability to drive down the stem against Terrence Williams and knock the ball away. There was another time where he was able cut off the "4" inside with good positioning. There was even a time or two when Harris had to battle Gavin Escobar down the field and he held his own.
- The scouting report on tight end Gavin Escobar was that he could catch the ball no matter where it was thrown. The scouting report did not lie but was also nice about Escobar this past weekend was his ability to block some. At San Diego State, he played inline "Y" and you would see him give a good effort but was not a trained killer by any means. Early in the camp he was used on the back side and he managed to fight his way between the defender and the ball carrier to keep position. Later, he was asked to take some opportunities on the front side and he was able to tie his man up which allowed the ball to get outside of him. Jason Garrett spoke of Escobar's length when they drafted him and you could see him at times take advantage of that. What will be Wes Phillips' job this summer is to work with Escobar and his technique so that he will get more chances to see the field.
- I really like what this front office has done by adding linebackers DeVonte Holloman, Brandon Magee and Deon Lacey but a guy that I am interested in when they get to camp and play in pads is Taylor Reed. Over the four practices that I got to observe in person, I really liked what I was able to see in Reed. Here was a guy that probably doesn't have great height at 5-11 but he is always around the ball. When the defense was on the field, he was the first Mike linebacker and there were plenty of times where he showed up. Some guys have a nose for the ball and he is one of those guys. In college film, I have seen him be productive in coverage despite the fact that he is not the smoothest moving athlete. There is a side of me that believes when the pads come on, he and Magee will be a lot of piles because they both play with some nice instincts and when you are not the tallest guys you better have a special trait to survive and they do.