The rookies have assembled at Valley Ranch for their first taste of life in the NFL. They received their orientation and will go through the first of four practices with the coaching staff today. By Sunday, we should have an idea of whether the players will live up to the guady grades they received from the football press.
Sure, they're not going to be playing teams in other uniforms. And they probably won't do much hitting. But the coaching staff will have an idea of whether the players are fast enough, agile enough and intelligent enough to handle the pro game. When Jimmy Johnson convened his ballyhooed '92 draft class, he was very interested in Nate Kirtman, a big, fast safety prospect from tiny Pomona-Pitzer whom he had drafted in round nine.. Years later, after his resignation as HC, Johnson recalled that he knew after just one workout that he had missed on Kirtman.
The coaches also knew when they hit. The Dallas papers were filled with praise for Eric Williams in '91 and for Darren Woodson in '92. Woodson was a big of a headscratcher for the draftniks in '92, since he had played linebacker and there were questions about his ability to play in the secondary. Word leaked very quickly that he was going to be a player, even if it would take time.
And that's my point. In recent years, the leaks from Valley Ranch after the rookie workouts have been meager. Judging from the performances of Jerry's last solo drafts, this is with cause. However, good news travels fast. The organization is hungry for good news on the personnel front. I doubt that they would hesitate to promote promising looking rookies, even if they've only worked out in pads and shorts.