Sullivan: Random Thoughts Include Romo's Weight, Zeke Quickness & More

OXNARD, Calif.- Some of the thoughts that run through an oversized, bald head:

  • After 36 hours at camp, figured it was time for some this and that. Admittedly, I wasn't overly thrilled with the selection of Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall. Thought it was a little bit of a luxury pick, as was linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second for a team so desperate for a pass rusher. Thing is, even if Joey Bosa was there at four the Cowboys were likely taking cornerback Jalen Ramsey, so wasn't working out for me either way.
  • Now, I'm not a scout, but I've seen a lot of football. And Elliott's first step isn't quick, it's an explosion and even with that burst, his ability to cut in either direction comes with the natural ease that most of us drink a milkshake. Watching the first three workouts, it's like he possesses one of those old school acceleration buttons on a video game controller. Except that he utilizes it every snap.
  • Since 1975, only four rookie backs have had at least 200 rushing attempts and averaged at least 5.2 yards. That list is Adrian Peterson, Clinton Portis, Barry Sanders and Ickey Woods. I think, almost expect, Elliott to become the fifth. The Cowboys aren't going to utilize him like they did DeMarco Murray in 2014, there's no need with the depth they have with Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar, but with this offensive line, Elliott is going to put up some pretty spooky numbers.
  • Tony Romo looks fantastic from a physical standpoint. Those around the team say it's the best condition he's been in for at least the last three or four years and he was the runner-up MVP two seasons ago. So everyone chill.
  • Was watching the wide receivers catch balls from the JUGS machine as Saturday's practice was concluding. They usually stand the same distance away, about 10 yards. Dez was catching ball after ball, in his socks, and kept creeping closer and closer, until he was at five yards out. The JUGS was set as high as it could go speed wise, these balls were more or less being shot from a cannon, and Dez caught the first two before missing the third. It was the last ball of the rotation, but Dez wanted another, so he jogged over, picked up another ball, went back to five yards and made a ridiculous catch reaching over his head.
  • Lucky Whitehead was watching all this and after, Dez was trying to convince him to try from five yards. Lucky wasn't sure, and tried 15 balls from 10 out instead, catching them all. He moved up a yard or two for another and the momentum of the ball literally pushed him back as he outstretch his arms and the ball shot through his hands. It's scary the stuff Dez can do. And yes, for the sixth straight camp, he without question has the strongest arm on the team.
  • As my hope has been for many years now, I just want a single end-around pitch to Dez and let him launch one deep for a receiver running a fly route. Just one time. I can't fathom the secondary not creeping up if they don't bite on the end-around itself, not thinking for a second that Dez can throw a tight spiral 60 yards.
  • One of my favorite parts of camp is watching after practice and see which players are signing autographs. To me, this falls into the category of those players who get it, who understand how this whole deal works, that it's because of the fans they get to play this game and make some pretty nice money.
  • Elliott finished second to only defensive end David Irving after the team's first official practice on Saturday and both signed for a good 20 minutes. Dez also spent a solid 10 minutes, which might be the longest session I've seen him do since his rookie season down in San Antonio. Dez seems to be enjoying himself, his body language has a different feel than a year ago.
  • A cool moment was Cole Beasley walking off the field and catching the eye of a young kid, maybe four or five years old, wearing a No. 11 Cowboys jersey. He walked up behind the kid and his parents and said, "Are you wearing my jersey?" Ended up the kid has his own last name on the back instead of Beasley, but he ended up signing an autograph, taking a photo and talking with them for a few minutes. Don't see a player approaching the fans, even a kid, all that often, so that was neat.
  • Talked one-on-one with Orlando Scandrick earlier this morning for about 20 minutes, going to be writing a lengthy feature story on him later this week. As I've said and written numerous times, he's been the most underappreciated player on this team for the last five or so years now, and his torn ACL at the end of camp last year was the most underrated aspect of the demise that was the 2015 campaign.
  • He brings so much attitude, but not in a negative fashion, as Jerry Jones recently made the comparison, a lot like Michael Irvin. Scandrick never felt like he was supposed to be a leader on this team, at least not until last summer, when he was hopeful of being named a team captain before the injury. He says of this season, "I don't want guys looking at me in terms of being feisty or difficult. I want to connect with guys on a personal level, that's what leaders do, that's what leadership is, connecting with those around you."
  • There isn't a person I've spoken to yet that thinks Rolando McClain or Randy Gregory is going to play a snap this season. In fact, almost everyone seems to believe McClain is probably finished with football. If it had been anyone beside Jerry Jones on the other end of the phone call two-plus years ago, McClain probably would have never come out of his one-year retirement to begin with.
  • It's worth noting that when we hear about the locker room distractions and team chemistry issues from a season ago, that's never directed toward McClain. He went about his business, kept quiet and for the most part, always played hard on the field. He's well-liked by his teammates.
  • Not sure the plan is entering the season with Kellen Moore as the backup quarterback. Still think they could add a veteran between now and the Sept. 11 opener against the Giants. That could obviously change if he wows one and all the next five weeks.
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