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Rookie Mini Camp | 2023

Notes: Mazi's Pass-Rush Plan, Deuce Goals & More


The rookie class has made its way into The Star for rookie mini-camp, and the ideas around the fit on the current roster are already being formulated

FRISCO, Texas — Rookie minicamp is underway at The Star in Frisco as the 21-person rookie class has officially made its way into the building after all inked on rookie deals earlier this week.
Early on, the fit on the current roster has been heavily discussed as each have been brought into the building to provide versatility and help in points of need that could help each of them see the field as early as year one.

Plan of Attack

For first-round pick Mazi Smith, there isn't an expectation of starting immediately, as he's more focused on doing what he can do to be the best defensive tackle that he can be for the team.
"I don't expect anything," Smith said when asked if he expected to start. "I'm here to mind my business as a player and be the best nose and D-tackle that the Cowboys could have.
Smith's communication with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has continued to grow since draft night as the two have a plan in place to maximize his already developed ability while growing in other areas
"A lot of people talk about my pass-rush from college, but I never had a pass-rush plan," Smith said. "We're gonna get a plan and see what I can do. I was a run-stopper [at Michigan], and if we were gonna win a game, I was gonna have to stop the run. That's what I was focused on and that's what I'm still focused on."

Conference Room

Smith's Michigan teammate and fellow Cowboys rookie Luke Schoonmaker is excited to join an all-Big Ten tight end room that he thinks he can add an extra layer of versatility to.
"I just think as another key component to the tight end room," Schoonmaker said about what he can bring. "We're pretty loaded with guys that can do so many different things. I'll just be in there to do whatever is asked of me.
The early development is already being seen by the Cowboys second-round pick as he's already picked up on some knowledge by being in the building for just under two days
"Being able to run different schemes, my footwork too, and just the understanding of the full picture," Schoonmaker said about the early conversations. "I'm only going to continue to learn more details. I've only been here two days and I've already learned so much about footwork, hand placement, vision and everything. It's gonna be pretty great.
Schoonmaker joins a group of tight ends that include Jake Ferguson (Wisconsin), Peyton Hendershot (Indiana), Sean McKeon (Michigan) and Seth Green, who went to Minnesota before finishing at Houston.

Less is More?

Sixth-round pick Deuce Vaughn immediately sticks out with his 5-foot-6 size, but he has worked the inherited disadvantage into an advantage as time has gone on, and it's something he knows he can bring to the NFL level.
"For myself, I feel like over time I've been able to come into one with my body," Vaughn said. "Just understanding how to use my leverage not only in the open field, but in blocking. Being able to hide behind o-linemen, being able to use those guys to my advantage.
"Being able to displace myself and use the o-linemen to my advantage. Just gaining little things over time as I've played this game."

DQ's Expectations

Fourth-round pick Viliami Fehoko Jr. says that he's already up to 280 pounds and is working to add 5-10 more before training camp to give Dan Quinn the positional versatility he's looking for out of the San Jose State product.
"Hit the ground running first year," Fehoko said about what's expected. "I think I'll probably play between the EDGE and three-technique so it's a little different from college. But I think [Quinn] expects me to hit the ground running pretty hard this year.
Rookie minicamp will continue on Saturday as each of the 21 members of the rookie class continue to get settled into their new home in Dallas.