Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: "2013 Rookie Class To Contribute Right Off The Bat"

"Travis Frederick really looked like a seven-year veteran." - USA TODAY Sports

Latest Dallas Cowboys headlines: The 2013 draft class could challenge for some serious playing time if early camp results are anything to go by, Jason Hatcher seems to be taking Garrett's call for more leadership to heart, and Tony Romo tells an anecdote about Bill Parcells.

Rookie class is going to contribute right off the bat - B. Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
If you are contemplating the status of the 2013 rookie class, Broaddus delivers an article just for you. Among other things, Broaddus writes that DeVonte Holloman is impressing in coverage, that J.J. Wilcox looks to be ahead of Matt Johnson on the depth chart, and that Joseph Randle is being very physical. This leads Broaddus to the following conclusion:

"We have seen it at two other spots, center and third receiver. It appears that this rookie class is going to contribute right off the bat."

5 Wonders: Rookie class looks good - Todd Archer - ESPN Dallas
In an article published at the exact same time as this Cowboys News post (and which I've added to this post subsequently), Todd Archer comes to the same conclusion as Bryan Broaddus in the linked article above.

I wonder whether we’re seeing a rookie class that could be a lot more productive than last season's. The 2012 class was hurt by injuries (Kyle Wilber, Matt Johnson, Danny Coale, Caleb McSurdy) with only Morris Claiborne and Tyrone Crawford playing big roles for a full season.

Two weeks into camp, Travis Frederick is a starter, Gavin Escobar and Terrance Williams have big offensive roles, and J.J. Wilcox could be a starter and a main special-teams guy. B.W. Webb and Joseph Randle could develop into role players as well.

The Cowboys needed an infusion of young talent, and so far so good with the draft picks. Before you (or I) get carried away, let’s see them in games, but this is a good start.

Tyron Smith is a block of granite; Travis Frederick plays like a veteran - J. Sullivan, DallasCowboys.com
In a collection of random thoughts about Sunday's scrimmage, Sully offers this take on Travis Frederick:

Really focused on the 15 minutes or so when the lines went against each other. No skill position players, no 11-on-11 or even 7-7, just the lines. Some quick hits: Guard Nate Livings struggled, as did Phil Costa as the second-team center; Tyron Smith was a block of granite at left tackle and rookie Travis Frederick really looked like a seven-year veteran. Again, everyone stop with him playing some guard and competing for the center gig. He’s not. He’s the starting center and will be for the next decade.

Dallas Cowboys rookie Terrance Williams starts to look like playmaker - Tim MacMahon ESPN Dallas
Terrance Williams has been getting a lot of positive press over the last few days, and MacMahon summarizes how Williams had a rough start to camp but has since come on strong:

There’s no question that the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Williams has the ability to be a deep threat. He led the nation with 1,832 yards as a Baylor senior, averaging 18.9 yards per catch. He’s provided glimpses of his ball skills and ability to get deep during camp.

The challenge for Williams, who should see a ton of single coverage as the Cowboys’ third receiver, is getting off the line of scrimmage against cornerbacks who are stronger, smarter, faster and tougher than the dudes he torched in the Big 12.

Randle Looks, Feels More Comfortable Wearing Pads - N. Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
I instantly regress to the level of a snickering 13-year old teenager when I read a headline like that, but that's a different issue. Nick Eatman writes that while Randle has missed a lot of time so far this offseason due to his thumb injury, he's showing up more lately, especially during Sunday’s Blue-White scrimmage in which he had a few impressive runs, including one touchdown from about 20 yards out.

Mon. Practice Report: Criticism Not A Problem For Rookie WR - DallasCowboys.com
The DC.com staff put together a thorough camp report in which they lead with a main story on Terrance Williams and detail how Williams is getting coached hard by Romo and Witten as well as the coaches. Williams is apparently very receptive to the coaching and Garrett is pleased with his development as a result.

Also, Caleb McSurdy receives some love from the crew as one notable standout of the day, along with Jason Witten and Miles Austin:

"Caleb McSurdy: The second-team linebacker showed up in a big way Monday evening during team drills. McSurdy dropped into coverage against Tony Romo, who tossed a pass over the middle of the field into coverage. McSurdy picked it off and broke for the sideline, gaining 20 or so yards before a frustrated Romo pushed him out of bounds."

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DT Jason Hatcher questions being called leader, says he's just "serving my purpose" - C. Williams, Star-Telegram
Charean Williams writes that Jason Hatcher "strongly encouraged" the team's defensive backs to play better - by screaming at them while running onto the field from the sideline.

"I’m just serving my purpose, man," Hatcher said. "Whether or not I’m a leader, if somebody gets out of line, I’m going to put them back in line. I’m not here to try to take over this whole team or whatever. But I’m just doing my job, and that’s a small part of this team. If everybody does their job, we’ll be OK."

Romo recounts receiving text message from Bill Parcells - C. Mendez, Star-Telegram
While being interviewed on Monday, Tony Romo shared a Bill Parcells anecdote with the assembled reporters. Carlos Mendez writes:

"[Romo] said he and the former coach still talk and often text. When Romo signed his rich extension this year, he remembered how Parcells recruited him to come to Dallas, which offered him $10,000 to sign. Denver had offered him twice that. Parcells texted him after the new contract in March: "I was just wondering if coming to Dallas had worked out for you." Romo said, "I had to laugh. It was pretty funny."

Injury report: No worries about Dez Bryant's absence - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
Dez Bryant missed the third consecutive day with a sore hip, but the Cowboys don't consider the injury serious. Tony Romo explains:

"We put a big emphasis on running and really running a lot more than most teams do at the wide receiver position. Both guys do it and push themselves every single day; it's not easy. I think it can be a good thing for them to get their legs back for a day or two and then they can push it again. In Dez's case, I think he has some soreness; it will be a couple-of-days thing, so I think he'll be fine."

Leary, Ladouceur pass physicals - Star-Telegram
Neither player had practiced in camp until yesterday, but both are now back.

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Has the RB position become devalued in the NFL? - National Football Post
The past draft was the first time in 49 years a running back was not selected in the first round, though that may have less to do with the individual talent and more with the way the backs are used today:

"The running back position is as important as ever but the NFL game has changed in how backs are used. Colleges have used a rotation system for years trying to keep backs fresh and the NFL is going the same way. While most teams still have a No. 1 running back it is rare that he sees most of the carries in a season. It’s not unusual to see two or even three-man rotations at the position where clubs can utilize each back to his strength."

NFL fullbacks fighting for their place in evolving game - Cleveland.com
The Cowboys won't have a fullback on their roster this season for the first time in a while. Tom Reed writes that fullbacks are increasingly like a "telephone book publisher in the age of iPhones". The average salary of NFL fullbacks is lower than that of kickers and punters, and the spread offenses, shotgun formations and versatile tight ends mean the NFL evolution is not on the side of the fullback.

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