Week one of Organized Team Activities finished with a few minor storylines such as Joseph Randle's small slight to DeMarco Murray, Greg Hardy's appeal, and Dez Bryant's surprise appearance. Now, week two is set to begin and the players will be in as much of a rhythm as they can in early June. We are that much closer to training camp which is set to begin on July 28th. Here's a look at a few guys to keep an eye on come Tuesday:
Darren McFadden, RB
He was actually on my list for last week, but Randle was the guy who stole the show with his confident statements about this season. McFadden will certainly look to make some headway in his own right. I heard a few whispers about how his speed and everything is checking out. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves, it's shorts and jerseys, every running back is breaking runs right now. I still would love to see McFadden take some of the same command that Randle did in week one. His explosiveness is a bit hard to judge in these practices but I would love for the competition to heat up heading into camp.
Randy Gregory, DE
It seems as though a nice battle could be heating up between Gregory and one of the best left tackles in the league in Tyron Smith. Anytime you get to go one-on-one with the best competition the league has to offer it will certainly help you learn quick. Gregory was pretty excited after he got the best of Smith on a spin-move this week. It's interesting to see this play out the other way around. When Smith started, he had the unfortunate task of having to deal with DeMarcus Ware, but now it's Gregory on the learning curve. Either way, it's exciting that the new defensive line will be chopping it up with the best of the best. Gregory has such explosiveness and savvy pass rushing skills for a rookie and this is liable to get pretty fun when camp begins.
La'el Collins, OT
There's been quite a bit of chatter about Collins' first week in the Cowboys system. With Doug Free sidelined rehabbing his foot, Collins has been penciled in as the starting right tackle. This is an interesting turn of events as many believed he would get first crack at left guard for Ron Leary. As it stands, the Cowboys average age on the offensive line is 23.8 years. That is certainly an advantage to them moving forward. If Collins continues to impress, the Cowboys will have a tough decision to make come opening day. Collins has the pedigree and attitude to excel at the NFL level, Free better hurry back soon. Competition is a-brewing all over this team.
Morris Claiborne, CB
Nobody is looking at him that closely right now, which is why this may be the best chance he has at making himself an NFL career. Of course he is still rehabbing, but all signs thus far from guys like Bryan Broaddus and Mike Fisher point to Claiborne being ready come camp. This is a huge plus for him but the coaches believe it's a plus for them too. They are not exactly ready to close the door on him and if he were to finally play with confidence and discipline, who knows? So far it's been said that he's got a primary focus, let's just hope it is to contribute. At this point, Claiborne only needs to worry about earning reps and not about his once first-round status.
Tyler Patmon, CB
Sticking with the cornerback position, it's time to see if Patmon is ready to accept a possible bigger role. The one thing that always stands out about him is his awareness. He was able to have a pick-six in his rookie season because of his play-making skills. Patmon seems to always do good things when he's on the field, I would like to see how he handles slot duties. Everyone keeps talking about Corey White, but Patmon may have something to say in his own right. Garrett always says the best players will play, can Patmon make a jump in year two? It all starts in practice. The Cowboys need some solidity in their secondary, we'll see if Patmon is up for the responsibilities.
Dustin Vaughan, QB
Tony Romo looked sharp as he is supposed to, but they may still have a pitch count on their 35-year old Pro Bowler. Brandon Weeden is currently entrenched as the number two but the coaches really like Vaughan. He's a big, tough kid who looks the part of an NFL quarterback. He's also a pocket passer which fits their scheme nicely. He'll get plenty of work this offseason and he needs to make the most of that opportunity. He's got a good group of young talent around him at his disposal. It's his time now to show what he's learned from his rookie year. They kept him around this long and sure hope he has something to offer the team moving forward. Maybe Vaughan can show the coaches and front office that he's viable option.
Who do you have your eye on this week?