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Cowboys Rookie Mini-camp Roundup

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Breathe, breathe in the air. In deference to Pink Floyd, the breathing of Dez Bryant apparently was the story after the first rookie mini-camp for the Dallas Cowboys. Being 'out of breath' was mixed with 'catches that would make you breathless' in almost all the media reports. Only the latter matters.

So take a breath media, and let's get to what really matters.

Wearing his new No. 88 for the morning and afternoon sessions, Bryant used his size, speed and sure hands to snatch several passes in one-on-one drills. It looked like the same Dez Bryant who gave sixth-round cornerback Jamar Wall all he could handle in Big XII games between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

"He's a big, physical guy," Wall said. "He's fast, he can use his body well and he's got great hands. He's got great jumping ability. Just going after him in general is a challenge because he's such an athlete."

Nice scouting report from Jamar.

Meanwhile, our second-round pick is the only linebacker at the mini-camp. Sean Lee is receiving private tutoring because of it. He's also gone full Cowboy.

"I couldn't lie. I rooted against them," Lee said of the Cowboys. "I'm from Pittsburgh and there was no option. Now, I'm trying to recruit as many Cowboys fans as I can. As soon as I got the call from Mr. Jones, we went out and bought all the Cowboys gear we could find in Pittsburgh - which wasn't very much."

In the search for a starting free safety, Dallas isn't sure they need any outside help now that the draft is done. Alan Ball is the obvious front-runner.

"I know our staff - Wade in particular - they're pretty pleased with what (Alan) Ball did for us last year. That needs to be a consideration. And we need to see those young guys. In my mind, we don't have to do anything there," [said Jerry Jones].

Michael Hamlin is there, as is new draftee AOA. But he'll be delayed in making his debut for Dallas.

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah. The Cowboys' fourth-round selection (No. 126) won't participate in the rookie mini-camp, the organized team activities (OTAs) or the team mini-camp while he recovers from March surgery to fix his dislocated left shoulder. Circle late July in San Antonio for his full on-field debut.

In Wade's press conference he discussed AOA's ability in their pre-draft meetings to dissect defenses. He was the best of all the safeties they came across in the interviews in that regard.


In non-rookie news, Marion Barber has returned to Dallas for offseason workouts.

Also, the deal on Patrick Crayton's status.

He said Crayton asked to assist in finding himself a new home after he found out the Cowboys were shopping him.

"We found out they were shopping him and then only then did we request permission to assist them in getting a trade," Lyles said. "He is under contact. He plans to fullfull his contract. In no way is he holding out and trying to make a statement."

Lyles acknowledged that Crayton does want to meet with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to find out what "his role will be next season and get a clear understand what plans they have for him."

I've been a fan of Crayton, love him in the slot as a #3 WR. But he's right to be concerned, not many fourth receivers get a lot of playing time. And that's what he is now with Bryant's arrival. No matter our concerns about Roy Williams, the Cowboys are determined to make that trade work. Crayton is now insurance for injury at WR.


And, just for kicks, here's USA Today's rankings of the current league personnel guys based on their ability to draft players. Candidates had to be in their current position for at least three years (basically 20 GM's). Jerry comes in at #12.

12. Jerry Jones, owner/president/GM, Dallas Cowboys— He had his rough patches after divorcing coach Jimmy Johnson following the 1993 season. Shante Carver was the first first-round pick of the post-Johnson era (though Jones did get Larry Allen in Round 2). But after a series of less-than-lackluster years — aside from the Greg Ellis/Flozell Adams crop in 1998 — Jones starting hitting his stride in 2002 (Roy Williams, Andre Gurode). In 2005, he brought in DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Marion Barber, Chris Canty and Jay Ratliff. He got five more studs in 2008: Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, Martellus Bennett, Tashard Choice and Orlando Scandrick. As Jerry would tell you, it's not how you start — it's how you finish.

• Best pick: Jason Witten— This helped erase the memory of taking tight end David LeFleur at No. 22 in 1997. A third-round pick in 2003, Witten was the best tight end in the NFC over the past decade. Of course, signing Tony Romo as an undrafted free agent may ultimately be the move that defines this era of Cowboys football.

• Worst pick: Quincy Carter— A second-round pick in 2001, Carter was just one of Jones' many misguided efforts (Ryan Leaf, Chad Hutchinson, Drew Henson) to replace Troy Aikman. Thank the (blue) stars for Romo.

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