There are still questions about the wisdom of the Dallas Cowboys choosing Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, but LaDanian Tomlinson, who was a very good back himself, is on board with the move.
"Well they're getting a guy that can play all three downs. A guy that understands how to run between the tackles very well and he's explosive enough to get around the corner. Great balance, got great feet. Really good vision and I think he's going to be a workhorse for years to come. I mean, he could be the next great one in Dallas at the running back position."
The Cowboys were rather frugal in free agency this season, as they prefer to be. The biggest signing from outside was defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, who feels things are going well for the defensive line.
Thornton continues to be impressed with his new team, it seems. He recently stated he is acclimating quickly to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's 4-3 scheme thanks to his defensive line compatriots; and they are building quite the chemistry off the field as well.
One of the hopefuls trying to join Thornton is UDFA Rodney Coe, who has his work cut out for him in a crowded D line room.
For Coe, he just has to show he's good enough to keep on the roster. Big, athletic, young and talented are traits that will keep you on a roster regardless of the talent around him. If Coe comes to camp and plays big, gets up the field and makes plays in the backfield and shows that he's hard to move off his spot, the Cowboys will find a place for him.
Many think Brice Butler is going to challenge Terrance Williams for the WR2 spot, but he still has some developing to do. However, with Williams on the last year of his contract, Butler could be ready to take over in 2017.
Pure speed — that is what Butler brings to the table. The best way for the Cowboys' offense to improve is to add a facet to the offense. Just as Ezekiel Elliott offers the ability to run power and zone concepts effectively, Butler presents a vertical threat to the Cowboys' offense.
Despite his considerable skills, he isn't ready to become the No. 2 receiver in 2016. First of all, Butler needs to improve his concentration at the catch point. At times, he can drop easy passes because he takes his eyes off the ball. Furthermore, he needs to do a better job dealing with disruptive coverage. While Bryant thrives when things get physical, a vigorous cover corner totally disrupts Butler's timing and his ability to create separation.
The Cowboys have an embarrassment of riches on their offensive line, but can they keep all of them? While we certainly hope Stephen Jones works his cap magic and keeps both Travis Frederick and Zack Martin for the long haul, there is a possibility that they may have to make a choice.
However, in a game of what if, if they choose not to have their offensive line dominate their books for the next 5-7 years, which of the two players would be more vital? If they had to choose one, would it be Frederick or Martin?
One question to be answered in training camp is what to do about the fullback position. Rod Smith is trying to convert, along with linebacker Keith Smith. David Helman has some thoughts on what Rod would have to do to win the job.
I think Smith's experience as a running back can only help him in his endeavors to make this roster, but I don't ultimately think it'll make that big of a difference. The most important aspect of the fullback position, in this team's mind, is as a blocker and special teams player. Tyler Clutts' abilities on special teams are what helped him stick around so long. That's what's going to determine who makes the team. Anything Smith can do as a runner or receiver would only be a bonus, in my opinion.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott shared his thoughts on adjusting to the NFL.
"More I guess you would say is the speed and the professionalism. Those guys aren't out there getting hollered at or made to do anything. They're just out there because they love the game. They're passionate. They're so fast, and it's fun. It's just a great level, and it's the best of all. I think I've got myself in a good position with the playbook and learning everything. Getting accustomed to the NFL offense and how the NFL operates, and just being around those great teammates of mine. It's been fun."
With the team on break until training camp, a lot of players are busy giving back to their home communities.
Brandon Carr hails from Flint, Michigan, which has been suffering from a terrible breakdown of their water system. He has stepped up to help, in more ways than one.
Through his Carr Cares Foundation, which focuses on youth education and healthy lifestyles, he donated $110,000 dollars in an effort to bring clean water to Flint's neighborhoods. However, the sum of money may have been one of the least impactful things he contributed during a recent trip to Michigan. Carr hosted his third annual Brandon Carr Elite Youth Football Camp on June 11th that saw over 300 student-athletes—first through 12 grades—take over his former middle school's facilities at Carman-Ainsworth. Carr, along with a team of volunteers, collegiate standouts, and area high school coaches put on an all-day event free of charge for the youth. Many in attendance for the football skills camp were from the Flint area and others came from hours away to be a part of this year's event, with all donations and proceeds going to the city.
While he has had his struggles on the field, Morris Claiborne is also giving back.
Fifth-year Dallas cornerback Morris Claiborne hosted his fifth-annual free football camp and was aided by former LSU teammate receiver Rueben Randle and new Cowboys teammate quarterback Dak Prescott.
""It was great having both of those guys," Claiborne said. "For Dak, personally, he's a guy that's from this area. So is Rueben, but Dak is more this way."
The starting quarterback also had his own camp back in Burlington. Tony Romo loves to return, because he says he can go home again.
Last week, Romo held his football camp at Burlington High School along with the second Border Battle, a seven-on-seven tournament featuring high school teams from Wisconsin and Illinois. As he stood on the field Wednesday while middle schoolers and elementary kids ran around, a waft of chocolate was in the air from the nearby Nestle plant that has made Burlington "Chocolate City USA."