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Dallas Cowboys Rookie Minicamp Day 2 Wrapup

Caleb McSurdy with Kyle Wilber (51) during rookie mini-camp at Dallas Cowboys headquarters.
Caleb McSurdy with Kyle Wilber (51) during rookie mini-camp at Dallas Cowboys headquarters.

Camp RKG rolled on today. Time to gather news and some impressions from the sportswriters of how the Dallas Cowboys' rookies are doing.

One of the things to remember is that every time one of the rookies looks good, he likely makes someone else look bad, as happened with UDFA running back Lance Dunbar.

Dunbar was trying to bounce to the outside on a run until outside linebacker Kyle Wilber snatched him and threw him to the ground.

If anything, Wilber has shown he's quick off the ball and powerful. Now, it's against other rookies and second-year players, but still it's impressive to see.

As for Dunbar, he's hitting the holes pretty quickly and learning the NFL way of life.

Related: Cowboys Tidbits: PFF’s Top 101, Cowboys Draft History, Sean Lee Taking Leadership Role

Love the competition!

More good stuff post-jump.

Here is the twitter feed from the various sportswriters in attendance at day 2.

Rob Phillips

Back for Day 2 of rookie minicamp.

Rob Phillips

Interesting Claiborne wanted to play through the wrist injury this year. Said pain was a factor, though -- lifting, press coverage, etc

Bryan Broaddus

Heading to the practice field now for Day 2 of Cowboys Rookie Mini Camp. Expecting better day for some now that nerves have worn off...

Josh Ellis

Four Practice squad holdovers at this minicamp. ILB Orie Lemon has stood out the most. Real chance to make the 53 this year.

Rob Phillips

Receivers working on getting off the jam. Bout the fourth time since Friday I've seen a pass for Danny Coale sail out of bounds.

Rob Phillips

By the way, QB Rudy Carpenter is not eligible for this camp because he has at least one NFL pension credit.

Josh Ellis

Kyle Wilber just tossed little running back Lance Dunbar like a rag doll. #Mean

Rob Phillips

Charles Haley teaching technique to some of the defensive linemen.

Bryan Broaddus

I have been impressed with Ronald Leary and the snap he has coming off the ball. You see the defend rock back when he punches them.

Bryan Broaddus

Darrell Scott is a big man that tries to run like a little one. Nice spin move to adjust on the fly to avoid the defender. Dunbar good too.

Rob Phillips

RT @sam_t_pitt was that on Coale or the QBs? > QBs.

Josh Ellis

A fumble by RB Darrell Scott on first play of team drills, followed by a botched snap.

Josh Ellis

One of the guys who really looks the part, WR Saalim Hakim, was just doubled over in exhaustion. Long weekend.

Rob Phillips

Tough catch by Danny Coale over the middle in traffic. We've heard plenty about his hands.

Rob Phillips

INT by Matt Johnson, a pickin machine at Eastern Washington.

Getting back to Wilber, he seems to be off to a fast start in general.

When the Cowboys drafted Kyle Wilber in the fourth round last week, they talked about his effort and ability to be in the right place at the right time.

So far through the rookie minicamp the Wake Forest linebacker has proven to be what was advertised.

"I can jam tight ends," Wilber said. "I can be physical with wide receivers, but I also can pass rush. I have a sneaky inside move and I'm smart. I've got a motor on me. I'll keep going."

Sounds pretty tasty to me. And if you don't want to take his word for it, look at what his position coach has to say.

Linebacker Kyle Wilber demonstrated the "motor" coaches rave about during Saturday morning's workout.

"He's a hard-playing demon," said linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, intentionally using the term to describe the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon. "That's what he is. He showed that in this practice. He's stronger at the point than we thought he was."

The other half of the little collision mentioned earlier is also trying to make some waves.

(Lance) Dunbar has impressed Cowboys coaches with his speed and versatility and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield during the three days of rookie mini-camp at Valley Ranch.

"He has good quickness," said coach Jason Garrett. "His acceleration as a runner is really good. He's made a lot of space runs here over the last couple of days."

Here is something that you might want to savor.

Cowboys fourth-round pick Matt Johnson made plays on the ball in college. That's why he finished his career at Eastern Washington with 17 interceptions.

During minicamp at Valley Ranch this weekend, Johnson picked off a pass thrown by rookie Larry Smith.

"They just said make plays," Johnson said of what the coaches told him.

Sounds like something we have all been hungering for in the secondary.

The pre-season is a time for dreams and a bit of fantasy. I saw one thing that certainly played to one of my own little flights of fancy.

Danny Coale was drafted as a receiver. He is expected to compete for the No. 3 receiver spot. But he also has punting experience, which he showed the Cowboys with a punt in special teams practice on Saturday morning.

"I punted one today just to get it on film," Coale said. "It wasn't very good. We'll concentrate on receiver for right now, and if the time comes to add that, it can be a discussion for later."

Is it too much to hope that the team will at least give this a try for fourth and short to get the other teams to react?

Todd Archer has another list of impressions from the day (I guess he doesn't like the Twitter thing as much as some of the other guys). Some good stuff, including this:

Rookie free-agent linebacker Adrian Hamilton, a Dallas Carter grad, opened up a lot of eyes. He had a would-be sack coming off the edge and then pressured quarterback Nathan Dick into running to his right before throwing the ball away. In the morning practice, he also displayed the ability to drop in coverage to get in the throwing lane on a slant to Cole Beasley for a deflection.

Nick Eatman takes a look at five of the rookies who caught his eye, including one of the lesser known names who was around in 2011.

Justin Taplin-Ross - Lining up alongside Johnson with the first-team defense, Taplin-Ross is listed as a cornerback but the Cowboys have lined him up at safety. He's got an interesting story, considering he was on the rookie free-agent list last year and went down to San Antonio in preparation for training camp. But he didn't pass his physical because of a torn ACL injury he sustained at his Utah Pro Day in March. Taplin-Ross ended up sitting out all of last year but now that he's healthy, the Cowboys are giving him a chance and he certainly looks the part. At 6-3, 212, Taplin-Ross has ideal size for a safety and he has cornerback-like speed to match.

It looks like the draftees may be getting their contracts a little earlier than in the past.

Usually the Cowboys don't complete contract negotiations with their draft picks until right around the start of training camp, if not a day or two into practice.

This year, the team could try to get their seven-rookie class signed sooner. By designating cornerback Terence Newman a June 1 cut in March, they will get $6 million more salary cap space after that date. Some of the money will go toward their rookie pool.

This is the final day of practice for the rookies. The next action for them will be with the veterans.

The Cowboys concluded their rookie minicamp Saturday afternoon and will get the chance to welcome back almost all of the draft picks and college free agents May 14.

There is some question as to whether fourth-round pick Matt Johnson will be able to return May 14 because of Eastern Washington's system. Several players will graduate in the next two weeks, including Tyrone Crawford from Boise State and Caleb McSurdy from Montana.

When the rookies return, they will work out and do on-field sessions with the veterans as part of Phase 3 of the offseason program.

I like hearing about players who will pick up their degrees. It says to me that they are not just hopeful pro athletes, but young men who take their education seriously.

But then, it is Camp RKG.


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