IRVING, Texas –The quiet halls that had been the norm lately at Valley Ranch ended Thursday afternoon. That's when more than 40 players – mostly rookies – made their way to the Cowboys' facility in preparation for this weekend's two-day minicamp.
Weather permitting, the Cowboys will practice twice a day both Friday and Saturday at Valley Ranch.
In the past, the minicamp has occurred the weekend immediately following the draft. The Cowboys joined several other teams around the league that are now moving it back, which allows many of the rookies to stay in the area and continue working out, getting familiar with the area/organization.
Thursday's arrival included the players taking physicals, vision tests and taking headshots for the in-house media and public relations department. More than anything, it's a chance for this rookie class to build some chemistry.
"I think this weekend is really important," said center Travis Frederick, the first-round pick from Wisconsin. "Not only for myself as far as development and fitting and learning, but getting a hold of the other guys and making sure everyone is on the same page, so we can go forward and work together throughout this season and help this team."
The minicamp will be without pads as usual, which means there are certain players, Frederick in particular, who might have a hard time showcasing their full talents in this setting.
For cornerback B.W. Webb, a fourth-round pick from William & Mary, he has some goals in mind for this weekend.
"For me, I just want to get the jitters out," Webb said. "But coming in to a new scene – I just want to meet the new guys, learn the playbooks and have a good time out there."
The same goes for third-round pick J.J. Wilcox, who like Frederick, Webb and third-round pick Terrance Williams, attended the April visit.
"I feel accomplished being here," said Wilcox, a third-round pick from Georgia Southern. "It feels great to come back here. I'm excited about getting out there (Friday).
Wilcox is considered a physical player, but said there are things he can show his new coaches this weekend.
"Know my keys, my plays and my assignments," he said. "I want to make sure I line up where I'm supposed to be at all times. Being physical is one aspect, but also the mental aspect is a main thing in the NFL. I think I can bring that to my game. I want to show I can be physical and mental out there."
Williams, who grew up in Dallas and has been a lifelong Cowboys fan, said it's a dream to be here with the team.
"It feels good to keep coming back to a place you feel wanted," said Williams, a third-round wide receiver from Baylor. "I'm getting to meet some good people here. It's starting to feel like home here. My plan is to come in and do as little talking as I can but show what I'm capable of on the field. I want to show what I can bring to this team. This will be a good jumpstart to this whole experience."
Fifth-round pick Joseph Randle is wearing a small cast on his right hand because of a thumb issue. He said he will trust the Cowboys' athletic trainers on how much he can participate this week. The former Oklahoma State running back said he would like to run through drills with his teammates, but will follow the advice of the trainers.
"They know what I can do," Randle said. "I'm going to let them do their job. I trust them 100 percent." [embedded_ad]
Randle said he expects the cast to be off in about six weeks and doesn't anticipate it being an issue for the start of training camp.
The minicamp will consist of two quarterbacks – Nick Stephens and Dalton Williams. The Cowboys waived Aaron Corp on Thursday but if he clears waivers, could participate on a tryout basis. The Cowboys will have about 15 tryout players – not under contract – on the field. Last year, three players from the minicamp tryout were eventually signed – Jamize Olawale, David Little and Ben Bass, who actually made the team.
Here's the list of players participating in this weekend's minicamp:
First-Year Eligible Players:
Nick Stephens, QB, Tarleton State
Micah Pellerin, S, Hampton
Monte Taylor, DE, Cincinnati
Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, DT, S. Connecticut State
Ron Leary, G, Memphis
Charlie Bryant, G, Memphis
Aderious Simmons, T, Arizona State
Jared Green, WR, Southern
Draft Picks:Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State
Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
J.J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern
B.W. Webb, CB, William & Mary
Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
DeVonte Holloman, LB, South Carolina
Undrafted Free Agents:
Spencer Benton, P, Clemson
Dalton Williams, QB, Akron
Greg Hurd, WR, Eastern Washington
Eric Rogers, WR, Cal-Lutheran
Kendial Lawrence, RB, Missouri
Xaiver Brewer, CB, Clemson
Jeff Heath, S, Saginaw Valley State
Dustin Harris, CB, Wisconsin
Jakar Hamilton, S, South Carolina State
Deon Lacey, LB, West Alabama
Cameron Lawrence, LB, Mississippi State
Taylor Reed, LB, SMU
Paul Freedman, TE, Virginia
Tryouts:Anthony Amos, WR, Middle Tennessee State
Edwan Coughman, OT, Shaw
Everett Daniels, LB, Houston
D.J. Hall, G, Texas State
Micah James, G, Middle Tennessee State
Nick Johnson, DT, Baylor
Jerome Long, DE, San Diego State
Darrin Moore, WR, Texas Tech
James Nelson, OT, UTEP
Tremayne Scott, DE, Ohio
Jessee Smitherman, LS, Texas Tech
Adrien Spencer, CB, Bowling Green
B.J. Stewart, TE, Cumberland
DiMetrio Tyson, DT, Jacksonville State