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Gilmore Already Making Big Impressions Early

23 May 2023:   Stephon Gilmore (21)
of the Dallas Cowboys during an OTA  practice at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.   Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys
23 May 2023: Stephon Gilmore (21) of the Dallas Cowboys during an OTA practice at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas - *When the Cowboys acquired Stephon Gilmore from the Colts via trade in March, they did so with the idea in mind that not only would he solidify their secondary alongside Trevon Diggs to create one of the best 1-2 punches in the league, but also with the hopes that his competitiveness and leadership would translate.

Quickly in what's been a short period of time, the 12-year veteran has already made his presence felt in every corner of the Cowboys' locker room with his workman-like demeanor as he continues to learn his new teammates and the organization as much as they are him.

"I'm comfortable," Gilmore said. "I'm still learning, new guys around [me], but I'm excited for the opportunity because you have a lot of talent on this team. So, I'm looking forward to helping these guys out as much as I can in the classroom and on the field also."

There is no shortage of talent around Gilmore just in his own position room alone with Diggs, DaRon Bland, and Jourdan Lewis who should return eventually this season after sustaining a Lisfranc injury last season. When all four are at full strength, you would be reaching to say that there is another cornerback group with more potential than that.

Though much like he stated in May at the Reliant Home Run Derby, Gilmore drove home the point again on the opening day of minicamp when asked how good the group could be - potential means very little if they don't capitalize on it.

"I think we can be as good as we want to be," Gilmore said. "We have to go out there and do it. Every year it starts over, and you have to prove yourself every year. So, I'm just looking forward to [Diggs] out as much as I can and me being a good player myself. I'm looking forward to going out there and making plays together.

"Got to go out there and do it. You can't really talk about it. You got to go out there and make plays. That's what I've known in this league this whole time, you got to just do it, and let the chips fall at the end of the year where they are."

And it isn't just Gilmore who is preaching a 'prove it' mindset when it comes to the tantalizing potential of the Cowboys corners. In fact, it's not even limited to the defensive side of the ball.

"They can be special," Brandin Cooks said of the Diggs and Gilmore pairing. "No doubt. As Steph says, you have to go out there and prove it. You can talk about it, but they have to go put it out there on the field."

As one might expect from a former Defensive Player of the Year, five-time Pro Bowler, and two-time All-Pro, Gilmore has backed up his resume and his mindset already during minicamp by going head-to-head with Dak Prescott to see who can outfox the other.

On Tuesday, it was Gilmore that had the last laugh by jumping a route and breaking up a pass attempt from Prescott while doing redzone work. But on Wednesday when Prescott was asked what it has been like to hone his skills against the savvy vet, he embraced it.

"He's a hell of a player," Prescott said. "Obviously I've played against him a few times, but then just to get out here in these minicamps and these OTAs he knows his looks. He knows what's expected. He knows how to read concepts. He's going to jump [routes] when he feels like he's right.

"It's been great to have that. Just to be able to practice against that and such an elite corner. And on the other side, you got a guy like Diggs who's just the same way. It's iron sharpening iron. Ready to get out to camp and we can be competing for real."

Much like Prescott, Gilmore eagerly awaits their showdowns in Oxnard that are just six weeks away.

"You still have to work on your game," Gilmore said. "If you're out there on the field you have to be in the right spot at the right time. Sometimes it's going to come to you like that. But I think in training camp, we will be able to make more plays on the ball. So just trying to fine tune things right now."

Mark your calendars, accordingly.

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