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Rookie Mini Camp | 2022

Notes: Punt Return Competition; High-Upside Picks


FRISCO, Texas – With CeeDee Lamb moving into the No. 1 receiver role and Cedrick Wilson leaving in free agency, it's possible the Cowboys will have a new featured punt returner this season.

The question is, who?

"It's definitely something we've got to get answered," head coach Mike McCarthy said.

During Friday's first rookie minicamp practice at The Star, players on offense and defense took turns tracking and fielding punts through periodic wind gusts.

That doesn't mean the entire roster will get an open tryout for returns. This is a customary rookie drill McCarthy has used throughout his coaching career.

But it's a reminder that the Cowboys don't seem to have a leading candidate for the position just yet if they plan for Lamb to focus solely on receiver moving forward. He and Wilson combined for 25 of their 28 punt returns last season. Cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Nahshon Wright had the other three.

"Frankly, that was a little bit part of the tracking drill we did today," McCarthy said. "We'll do it again tomorrow. … We'll look at the guys who have done it, and like (Cowboys chief operating officer) Stephen (Jones) says all the time, and it's so true, player acquisition never stops."

Views from the Dallas Cowboys 2022 rookie minicamp practices at Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, TX.

William A. Boykins

Digital Media Producer / Webmaster

Other news from Friday:

  • The Cowboys believe second- and third-round picks Sam Williams and Jalen Tolbert have considerable upside, partly because both rookies didn't start playing football until deep into high school. Williams took up football his senior year. Tolbert said he started in 10th grade. "These are his (Tolbert's) words: He said, 'I don't know how high my ceiling is, but I think it's going to be pretty damn high,'" McCarthy said.
  • McCarthy's first impressions of the Cowboys' 2022 schedule? "The thing I've always looked at is really the first four games and I like the fact that the first two are at home," he said. "And then you have your first division game at home, too. … We know that we're always going to have the national games and our travel is going to be a challenge. I have no idea where we're ranked, but I'm sure we're in the top 10 as far as the travel and the night games. The travel part of it is always a challenge, but this is Year 3, so I feel like I have a handle on that. Going back to Green Bay (Nov. 13 against the Packers), that'll be fun. I was hoping for October or September, but November will be fine."
  • Asked about the status of Kelvin Joseph, McCarthy said the second-year cornerback continues to be a regular participant in the team's voluntary offseason program. Last month, Joseph spoke to Dallas police about any information he had regarding the March 18 shooting death of Cameron Ray. Joseph's attorney issued a statement to The Dallas Morning News stating that Joseph was in the suspects' car that night but was unarmed and not the shooter. Two arrests have been made in connection with the shooting. Joseph has not been arrested or charged. "I do not have an update on that situation," McCarthy said. "I understand the concern, and I just want you to know that when the situation occurred, we had a lot of internal conversation that was really in-depth. Based off the information we've been given, we felt it was important to support him (Joseph). He's been here every day and he's having a very productive offseason so far."

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