More than 40 players participated in the Dallas Cowboys Rookie Minicamp over the weekend. Here's a quick summary of some of the things we learned over the three days.
1. It looks like Travis Frederick is slotted to play center this season. That's the position he played most of the time in practice over the weekend. The coaches said they'd have him practice at guard as well during the offseason, but it felt like the center's job is his to lose.
2. Gavin Escobar apparently really does have the soft hands everybody was raving about. Seems like he caught almost everything thrown his way, and that included some badly thrown passes that he caught with ease. But there were also concerns about his strength, particularly as a blocker. We didn't see that over the weekend, but we did see that he had at least one ball ripped out of his hands. Mike Woicik, please handle this.
3. Terrance Williams struggled, there are no two ways about it. He had trouble running routes and he also struggled catching balls consistently. Still, Coach Dooley liked what he saw from Williams, and Williams acquainted himself with the Cowboys jugs machine after practice, which speaks to his work ethic.
4. B.W. Webb probably made the best impression of all rookies in camp. The Cowboys immediately played him as a slot corner and both the coaches and observers were very complimentary of what they saw from Webb. If he continues with this performance into camp, he'll give Orlando Scandrick some serious competition.
5. J.J. Wilcox looked good in a more traditional strong safety role, even notching an interception along the way. He'll need to work on his angles but he displayed good physicality. Coach Henderson said Wilcox was "light years away" from contributing. I hope he says that about every rookie just on principle, because if not, that wouldn't be good.
6. Joseph Randle wasn't able to practice as he is still recovering from thumb surgery that saw him wearing a brace on his hand and working out on the sidelines - much like Morris Claiborne did last year. It's not clear how long Randle will be unable to practice, but the concern is that, like Claiborne, he'll fall behind in both the weight room and in the installation of the playbook. Gotta keep an eye on that.
7. Really, the only big news about DeVonte Holloman was that he signed his contract on Thursday. But that was about it. Then again, none of the linebackers really stood out over the weekend, their time may come when the pads start popping.
8. The Cowboys are enthused by what they're seeing from Ronald Leary. Of course, he had a year in the system, and that almost automatically makes him stand out against the rookies, but Garrett said "he actually flashed at us a little bit this morning," and I'm going to assume Garrett meant this in a totally positive, non-weird kind of way.
9. The Cowboys 8th draft pick, Brandon Magee, didn't stand out in practices. Let's hope that like Holloman, his time will come when the Cowboys practice in full pads.
10. Jakar Hamilton may have impressed the most of all UDFAs. Muted whispers of "Brock Marion" echoed across our virtual offices BTB headquarters all weekend. Look him up if you don't know who that is.
11. Hats off to Bryan Broaddus for his overall coverage of the practices, but also for this specific observation after the first practice:
A guy that jumped off the screen at me was offensive tackle Edawn Coughman from Fairmont State who is here as a workout player for the weekend. I was surprised how well he moved both run and pass. He should initial quickness and the ability to handle his man. He had a nice back side cut off and then on the front side showed some pop coming off the ball. I saw a player that had a nice punch and position.
The Cowboys signed Coughman yesterday. Good call, Broaddus.
12. Running backs always look good in these non-contact practices, so don't overrate this, but Kendial Lawrence looked good. Fast, shifty, good change of direction. He'll probably be in the mix for that third RB spot.
13. We're hearing good things from the Cowboys coaching staff about how everybody is on the same page. Monte Kiffin summarizes:
"It's been awesome. I don't make stuff up."
14. Jerry Jones continues to march to the beat of his own drummer. Apparently, Jones considered calling Cowboys Stadium "Vaqueros de Dallas Stadium" (that would be Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Spanish).
15. Mark you calendar, these are the next important dates for you: