Defensive end Tyrone Crawford is the top Cowboys draft pick under contract so far, signing his four-year deal on Wednesday, but like first-rounder Morris Claiborne, he's still got a long way to go to get ready for the season.
Claiborne hasn't been able to practice all offseason while he recovers on wrist surgery, but a calf injury has sidelined Crawford throughout the four-week Organized Team Activity and minicamp period.
Crawford was injured during a conditioning run before the practices began. The expectation is that he will be ready to practice when training camp begins in late July.
"I'm feeling a lot better, I'm ready to go," Crawford said. "I just want to get it kicking off, and we'll see how it goes when I start pushing two linemen around."
While Crawford may have more than $500,000 in guaranteed money in his pocket, his role on the team certainly isn't guaranteed. He's one of three young linemen the Cowboys would like to see emerge, along with Sean Lissemore and Clifton Geathers, but if he isn't ready to contribute, the club knows what it has in veterans Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears.
Much of Crawford's playing time this season could be determined by how well he can carry over the classroom studying he's done over the last month into training camp, and how quickly he can catch up with his teammates.
"It's time to go play ball and get this calf to 100 (percent)," Crawford said. "I've got as much (mentally) as I can right now, being out, but I know I need to be in there and getting physical reps, putting myself in position.
"There's a long way to go, obviously."