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Rookie Mini Camp | 2022

Notes: Tolbert's Playbook, Sam's Name; More


FRISCO, Texas – It's the calm before the storm.

Rookie minicamp isn't officially open until Friday, when the Cowboys' latest additions will take the field for their orientation with Mike McCarthy and the rest of the coaching staff.

Thursday was still plenty busy, however, as the Cowboys' draft picks and free agent additions – 43 young players in all – made their way to The Star on check-in day. It's a bit of a whirlwind, as rookie work their way through medical evaluations, official team head shots and meeting with coaches, not to mention some brief stops with team media.

As they worked their way through the process, we had a chance to check in with the Cowboys' first three draft picks: Tyler Smith, Sam Williams and Jalen Tolbert.

Splitting Time

From the time he was drafted, there has been speculation about what exactly the future holds for Smith. Originally a left tackle at Tulsa, the Cowboys have every intention of working him at guard. But while Smith says he expects to compete for playing time at guard, he maintained the front office's talking point that he'll be a "left side" player – meaning he expects to get plenty of reps at both positions.

"I'll be competing for the left guard spot, from what I understand, but I will be splitting reps at guard and tackle, as well," he said. "We'll kind of see what happens in the future."

Smith, a Fort Worth native, visited the Cowboys' facility with his family the day after he was drafted. But with rookie camp underway, he said this trip to The Star is about business.

"We're raring to go. I've been anxious to get to work over the past couple weeks since I've been here," he said. "I've been back in the weight room, back on the field. I'm ready to go, for sure."

Sam I Am

There has been some dialogue in the time since he was drafted about what name the Cowboys' second-round pick prefers to use.

Immediately following the draft, Sam Williams acknowledged that he often goes by "De," which is a shortened version of his middle name, among family and friends. Asked about it Thursday, though, Williams said he's just fine with his first name.

"I like Sam," he said. "My family only calls me De, because my middle name is Degarrick. Now, everybody is calling me De and it's kind of weird, because I'm only used to my family calling me that."

Sam it is. The Cowboys' newest pass rusher will headline a pass rusher group that is a bit light on edge rushers, as second-year player Austin Faoliu and undrafted rookies Markaviest Bryant and Mike Tafua are the only other edge rushers on the minicamp roster.

Off & Running

Much was made of Dak Prescott's pre-draft phone call to Jalen Tolbert. It stands to reason that if they chatted before Tolbert joined the team, they chatted afterward. In fact, Prescott did more than just talk.

"I talked to Dak right after I got drafted. He ended up shipping me a playbook, so I've been on the plays," Tolbert said. "I actually talked to him in the locker room before all this started, we were talking about plays that I knew and what I was still looking at in the playbook."

Tolbert won't be working with Prescott this weekend, but that time will come soon enough. And while Tolbert has been in the playbook already, he's not trying to get too far ahead of himself.

"I'm still learning a little bit, but I'm definitely excited to get out there and get with everybody and go to work," he said.

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