The Cowboys will hold the final rookie mini-camp practice today at Cowboys Stadium. The practice, featuring Dallas' six 2010 draft picks and a host of first-year players and undrafted rookies, will be closed to the public.
Let's first catch up on what's been happening in mini-camp.
Before yesterday's practice, Michael Irvin addressed the young Cowboys. After having watched practiced, the HOF wideout came away impressed with first-round pick Dez Bryant.
Irvin called Bryant a natural receiver.
"I don't know if I have seen anybody in a Cowboys uniform in a long time that has the body control and the natural ability to receive a football like Dez Bryant," Irvin said.
Asked if Bryant reminded him of himself, Irvin nodded toward the field and said, "Right here. That's his sanctuary. That's where it's all OK.
"When you get a guy where his sanctuary and his peace are on the field, you can get some good play out of him. Because out there, everything is all right, and he'll always give you everything he has."
Michael Irvin's words to rookies are growing to be the customary welcoming to new Cowboys. Jesse Holley has heard such speeches from Irvin before. As always, "The Playmaker" knows how to inspire.
"The speech sounded like one of his '4th and Long' speeches," Holley said.
"It was just a really powerful speech about opportunities, the privilege it is not only to be in the National Football League but to be a Dallas Cowboy and the things that it's going to take to take this team to the next level."
"He talked about making the commitment to each other to work hard every day and push for a championship," linebacker Sean Lee said. "It was extremely inspirational."
The Sean Lee knee brace update:
The brace worn by the Cowboys second round pick in the first day of practice didn't fit right, so the club had his brace from Penn State flown in for Day Two. The problem: that didn't fit either.
"It wasn't even close to fitting because I've been lifting and running so much without it that my leg has gotten bigger,'' Lee said. "I'm getting stronger, I'm getting better. I'll be fine with or without the brace.'
Dez made Josh Ellis' Hot list.
It doesn't take long to figure out which player is the stud of the draft class. Bryant catches everything close to him, and his conditioning was much better in Saturday's first practice.
We can assume that Dallas' first three draft picks, Bryant, Lee, and Awkasi Owusu-Ansah, are pretty much locks to make the team. But what about the final three players it selected?
Sixth-round pick, OT Sam Young, was the only offensive lineman drafted. Being 6'8" and 313 pounds, gives him the bulk the team likes at offensive tackle. Having started 50 consecutive games for Notre Dame, durability is a strength for this rookie.
Seemingly, he could at least make the practice squad. To make the 53 though, he really just needs to beat out or show the potential to beat out incumbent backup Pat McQuistan. Is that too tall a task?
The team's other sixth-round pick, CB Jamar Wall, has been regarded as a hard hitter and has seen his fair share of big name college WRs. So far in rookie minicamp though, Wall has realized he has much to improve upon for the pros.
Wall said he had better footing on Saturday, yet receivers such as Dez Bryant, Manuel Johnson and Jesse Holley still beat him for long and short receptions.
"Very competitive," secondary coach Dave Campo said of Wall. "He's got work to do."
Wall said he's learning how to play closer to the wide receivers because at Tech they played a little further away from the wideouts. Wall is also trying to get adjusted to the different types of wideouts he's taking on. Bryant is big and physical, Holley and Johnson are quick receivers.
Wall will most likely have to show outstanding coverage skills on special teams units throughout training camp and the preseason to make the team. Patrick Watkins and Sam Hurd have been stalwarts on those units, but Wall may have a shot at outperforming Cletis Gordon for a spot on the final roster.
Essentially, contributing on special teams is a must for Wall while he develops his coverage skills as a corner.
It looks as if the Cowboys are stacked on the defensive line when you consider they have Igor Olshansky, Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Marcus Dixon at DE.
But we all know they are rather thin at NT. Jay Ratliff and Junior Siavii are it in the middle.
So, where is a 7th-round rookie supposed to fit in? Answer: Wherever he can.
Since being drafted, the question as to where Sean Lissemore would play has been explored. He played DE at William & Mary, so we know he has experience there. But Dallas has more of a depth need at nose tackle.
Listening to Coach Phillips and using some basic laws of deduction, Lissemore may be spending more time with Rat and Siavii come training camp.
"He’s a real smart kid so I think he can learn those pretty easily. But we will probably start him at end first and work him inside. But nose guard is actually easier to learn."
Now that we've reflected on the Cowboys back half of the 2010 draft, how do you think they did? Future team contributors or camp bodies, at best?