The draft is over, and now the rookies are arriving. That, and more, gathered together for your perusal.
The Cowboys continued the voluntary portion of their offseason program, and once again there was a very conspicuous absence, backup quarterback Kyle Orton.
Orton hasn't shown up for the workouts since they started on April 21 and doesn't appear he will do so until the mandatory veteran minicamp June 17-19.
The longer this goes on, the less I believe the talk that he will be there and things will be fine for the mandatory minicamp.
One bit of fallout from the delay in holding the NFL Draft is that the rookies are able to come in and start work ahead of the rookie minicamp on Friday.
With the later-than-normal draft, rookies can start in the offseason program before the minicamp provided they have graduated or their schools are out of session. First-round pick Zack Martin will be on hand from the beginning, but second-rounder Demarcus Lawrence, cannot arrive until Thursday. Fouth-round pick Anthony Hitchens has exams at Iowa the next two days.
Oh, and if you caught that bit about the minicamp this Friday - things are going to start happening quickly. Training camp will be here before you know it.
Here is a look at three Cowboys rookie offensive linemen not named Zack Martin. There's not a great deal of depth on the O line right now, so you might want to get familiar with these names. They could wind up as a reserve or on the practice squad (I know, really deep analysis there).
While Martin is seen as a sure thing (some analysts considered him one of the two or three safest players in the draft to take, because his success is so probable), second round pick Demarcus Lawrence is going to be closely scrutinized. Not only is he going to have to play the position occupied by likely Hall of Fame inductee DeMarcus Ware, he was very expensive for Dallas to acquire.
But the cost was striking, and the Cowboys knew they paid more than what any draft board would deem worthy. Owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the Cowboys "very consciously" overpaid and stepped up to ensure they got the player they wanted and wouldn't need to run through street free agents at the position all season like they had in previous years.
Here is another take on the same idea.
We expect first-round pick Zack Martin to be a good player. The Notre Dame offensive lineman was a top-10 player on the majority of NFL draft boards and should be a stalwart for a decade.
That's cool, but you must understand Lawrence is the key to this entire draft.
In the first two rounds of the draft, where the majority of the talent lies, getting a good player is imperative to long-term success. After that, getting the player you want also is critical -- and that's what the Cowboys did.
Basically, it boils down to this: The Cowboys were not prepared to draft a QB in the first round because they have Tony Romo and the pick could be used to address other, more pressing needs. A quarterback picked in any other round is pretty much going to be a developmental pick. And, well, they felt they had that covered already.
"We feel in signing Brandon Weeden, he can be viewed as that developmental guy," coach Jason Garrett said. "A first-round pick a couple of years ago, coming from a baseball background, has all the physical tools you want. We view him as in that role right now, so we wanted to be selective about anybody else we wanted to bring in here."
The head coach goes into a little more detail on the reasoning behind passing on the biggest name in the draft and taking an offensive lineman.
"There's been a theory around the league that teams like Green Bay, for years, always took a guy (at quarterback) late, and if that player developed into something, that was a good thing for their team or to trade to somebody else," Garrett said Saturday after the Cowboys completed a draft of nine players, two on offense, seven on defense. "And there are some examples of them doing that. And that's a philosophy a lot of teams, they agree with that. But when you have other issues on your team, I think it becomes a little bit of a luxury to do that when you feel good about your starter and you feel good about your backups. We feel like it's better to take a position player or a guy we know can contribute on special teams instead of trying to develop that guy."
One thing we are all happy about is that the Johnny Football mania has now gone north to Cleveland. But you know someone had to get in one last click magnet of an article about Johnny Manziel and Jerry Jones.
Of course, the Cowboys could have had Manziel if they'd been so inclined. Don't think Jerry Jones wasn't tempted. Whatever else you think of Jerry, he's a business genius. He can smell the money in your pocket, which is why I never stand within arm's length.
Jerry's scouting report on Manziel: He's Elvis. Jerry gets it, and he didn't need any six-figure study, either.
So imagine my surprise when the Cowboys' pick came at 16 and they took an offensive tackle instead.
Who was this sober, sound, safety-first character running the Cowboys' war room?
I know this is hard for the general public to accept, but this is, after all, the direction the team has been going for several years now.
One reason Devin Street was available in the fifth round was that he is recovering from an injury (a familiar refrain for Cowboys fans). But he says there is nothing to worry about.
"Definitely ready to go fully, 100 percent healthy," Street said. "I met with the training staff, I'm all cleared to go. I fell a little bit in the draft - it doesn't matter, though. I'm at the place I want to be."
This is one of Bob Sturm's long epistles. There are lots of things covered, including a look at the two players he had studied in depth before the draft, Lawrence and Ahmad Dixon. Sturm has some negative things to say about Dixon prior to the draft, but points out that his perspective then was whether Dixon was a top 100 type player. He clearly felt he wasn't.
My summary here is not flattering, but that is back when people were asking about him as a Top 100 player. To get this guy at pick #248 is what I would consider exceptional value and while I don't think he can be an every down safety in the NFL, he will now have every chance to prove it. But, am I excited about having a hitting machine on my special teams for the reasonable price of a 7th? Absolutely.
Expect to hear a lot more about Anthony Hitchens, the fourth round selection that had so many scratching their heads. There is an interesting back story to this guy.
New Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens said when he was 12 years old, he didn't want to go to a rough high school.
So he moved out and lived with the family of his quarterback in high school.
By the way, if you haven't seen the "workout tape" of UDFA quarterback Dustin Vaughan, you need to go give it a look. I don't know that he will ever do a thing in the NFL, but with a sense of humor like that, I don't see he will let much of anything get him down. He gets my vote for "rookie I'd most like to sit down and have a beer with".
And while we are on other media . . .
Listen in as these young men get the biggest call of their football careers. If you can't listen to all of them, at least make time for Ahmad Dixon's complete speechlessness. It's nice to know that the young people we often see as jaded and cynical still can break down and lay themselves emotionally bare to the world.