Earlier today, Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com tweeted it was "fair to say" that defensive tackle Henry Melton is the only defensive lineman whose starting spot is not up for grabs. That underscores once again the importance Henry Melton will have for the Cowboys defense at the 3-technique spot, in spite of missing all on-field OTA and minicamp work in the offseason as he recovered from a torn ACL.
When Melton signed with the Cowboys back on March 19 this year, he said he should be ready to resume football activities by training camp.
"Anybody that checks me out and looks at my knee, they’re all saying training camp is a good day," Melton said.
Since then, Melton's rehab has progressed according to plan and no major issues have surfaced, yet Cowboys fans everywhere have been waiting with bated breath to see whether he would indeed be ready for training camp.
Late last night, news reached us via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News that Melton will be a full participant at tomorrow's first practice.
Henry Melton will be cleared to take part in the Cowboys first practice of training camp, sources said.
The defensive tackle must pass Wednesday’s physical before his status becomes official. But club officials don’t anticipate any red flags to appear in Melton’s return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He was held out of team drills during the off-season, but never once missed a rehabilitation session or suffered a setback.
With increased attention to injury prevention and the "better safe than sorry" approach the team has been using lately with rehabbing players, they'll probably take a conservative approach as they incorporate Melton into live team drills and as they let him gain more confidence in his surgically reconstructed knee.
But as Melton told KESN-FM 103.3 earlier this month, he's "100 percent confident" he'll be "definitely ready" for the season opener against the 49ers. If and how soon Melton will regain the form that landed him a Pro Bowl invitation for the 2012 season remains to be seen, but having a disruptive force in the middle would go a long way towards improving the overall play of the defensive line, and with it the entire defense.