Some thoughts before the Cowboys rookie minicamp this weekend at Valley Ranch:
- With the dress of the day being helmets and t-shirts for this camp, the things that the scouts will be looking at is the athletic ability of the players. For offensive linemen Travis Frederick, Ronald Leary, Aderious Simmons and others without pads it will be hard to see them getting push in the running game. But play close attention of how they are making reach and cutoff blocks or getting to the second level. You will also be able to see how well they are able to get away from the line on their pass blocks. In drills you will see quick or slow footwork which can either be a positive or force the scouting department to reevaluate the player they brought in.
- The front office has brought in two other tight ends to go along with Gavin Escobar, Paul Freedman of Virginia and BJ Stewart of Cumberland. Both Freedman and Stewart are more of the blocking types while Escobar has played some inline "Y". My first view of Stewart was this past spring when he was in the Texas vs. Nation All Star game that was played in Allen, Texas. I will never forget several scouts coming up to me during the weigh in and saying to keep an eye on him. During the practices, he did not disappoint catching the ball and at the point of attack as a blocker. He is here as a workout player trying to land on the roster for training camp this summer.
- The running back that everyone will be focusing on is Joseph Randle but I guarantee that Kendial Lawrence will also turns some heads with his ability. There is some explosiveness to his game and if he gets a small opening, he can get in the secondary quickly. Lawrence like Randle catches the ball very well. The advantage that Lance Dunbar has over Lawrence is his experience playing in the scheme but also his work on special teams. If Lawrence is going to make this squad this summer he is going to have to be a better Dunbar but from what I had seen, he has more than that type of ability.
- I will be very interested in seeing how those defensive coaches use these linebackers for the camp. The one thing that this scheme requires is that you be able to run. On tape, Brandon Magee and Deon Lacey can really do that. Both players really showed the ability to cover some ground when on the move. DeVonte Holloman should line up at the Sam because he can play at the point of attack but there were times where I wished that he really cut if loose. I enjoyed studying Taylor Reed as well. He might not be a great athlete when it comes to moving but he plays with outstanding awareness. All these linebackers should be around the ball each time it is snapped.
- The first thing you will notice is when you watch Derek Dooley and his receivers take the field Friday is their size. Greg Hurd, Eric Rogers and Darrin Moore are all over 6-3 and add Terrance Williams to that group, it is a pretty impressive group. I had a chance to study Hurd and Rogers from this past year and came away feeling like that you have two really raw players technique wise and speed deficient but hands appeared dependable.
- Safety Jakar Hamilton's school says South Carolina State but don't let this fool you that he is some small-school player. Hamilton played the majority of his career at Georgia and was very productive until he struggled with his grades and had to transfer out. To his credit, he was able to rally and make things right at State. He was one of two players (Brandon Magee) that was on the Cowboys draft board when the draft ended and they were able to sign. The Cowboys have had a great history of getting these types of players to sign post draft and have them make the team. I am looking forward to seeing him and JJ Wilcox paired together on the back end.
- Had a little whisper tell me to keep an eye on defensive end Jerome Long of San Diego State as a possible guy like BJ Stewart that is a workout player trying to earn a roster spot for the summer. Long was drafted by the Chiefs in 2012 after playing defensive tackle in college. Long had five sacks his senior season to go along with 69 tackles.