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Cowboys News: Highlights from Final Day Of Minicamp

Latest Cowboys headlines: Defensive backs stand out in minicamp; why Dak Prescott is a top 10 QB; Jaylon Smith doesn't look like he lost speed.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Scout's Notebook: DBs & WRs Battle It Out On Final Day Of Minicamp - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
A spirited final day of mini camp had both sides of the ball feeling chipper as they wrapped up the last get together prior to training camp. With a month of inactivity on the horizon, both sides were laying it all on the line, at least as much as possible during off season work. Broaddus runs down the action for us in his Scout's Notebook, and here are three of his observations on the secondary. Go read the rest of the column over at the mothership, it's well worth it.

Anthony Brown was outstanding in these minicamp practices. His positioning on these routes has been text book. It doesn’t matter whether he’s carrying Dez Bryant or Terrance Williams, he’s been in position to knock passes away. Williams tried to run a fade on him during 7-on-7 and Brown would have none of that. What was most impressive about the play was that Brown managed to stay off Williams without looking for the ball. Once Williams’ hands went up, he extended his hands, causing Williams to juggle the pass. Once Williams regained the ball, both of his feet were out of bounds.

I’ve written a bunch about Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, but not much about the other rookie, Marquez White. It was White’s turn to show up and break up a pass to Lance Lenoir in the end zone. Lenoir, coming from right to left, tried to separate from White but didn’t have much success. White, trailing Lenoir, managed to drive on the ball and without going through him, got his left arm around Lenoir to knock the pass away. It prevented what would have been a sure touchdown.

I like what I am seeing from Byron Jones in coverage. Playing in the slot, Jones didn’t let Brice Butler bully him coming off the line and was able to stand his ground. Butler tried to push off for position but it didn’t work – Jones was able to knock the Prescott pass away, which allowed the defense to get off the field.

Witten-Byron Jones Exchange Shows Team's Competitive Streak, Even In June - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Wods were exchanged between Witten and Jones on Thursday. Both Witten and Jones are fierce competitors and their competitive fire was on full display during the final workouts yesterday.

“Just having a little fun. Competitive,” Witten said. “It’s been chippy all offseason for offense and defense. Just making each other better. He’s turning into this player and I’m constantly challenging Byron that I think he can play at that level, (that) he can be one of those guys.”

Highlights Of The Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Minicamp Practice (Day 3) - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Sisemore offers a highly readable summary of the social media impressions from the final day of Cowboys minicamp. Well worth checking out.

Rico Gathers has frustrating return to practice after sitting out with pink eye - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Gathers made a couple of mistakes that had him visibly upset.

But while he was pushing himself to return, he also made the wrong call on a play, opting to run the pass route instead of picking up the blitz. He threw his helmet in frustration, which the coaches didn't like from the former Baylor basketball power forward, now in his second year playing football for the first time since middle school.

"I was more frustrated with myself," Gathers said. "That was one of the things I really studied. For me to let that happen, I was really frustrated. That's the type of play I've got to see and I've got to make. I can't have mental errors like that.

"That type of stuff makes the coaches be like, 'Oh, he still ain't got it.' I want them to know I know my information and I'm the total package. I want to be reliable."

Ron Jaworski says Dak Prescott is already one of the NFL's 10 best quarterbacks - John Breech,
Is Dak Prescott one of the 10 best quarterbacks in the NFL after just one season in the league?

After watching Prescott play for just one season, longtime NFL analyst Ron Jaworski is convinced that the answer is yes.

"I mean, he's a top-10 quarterback right now based on one season of play," Jaworski said.

[...] He says that Prescott is only going to get better thanks in large part to the talent that Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has assembled in Dallas.

"You look at the weapons that [Prescott] has around him: I always say the quarterback is a dependent position. You depend on other people doing their job so you can do yours," Jaworski said. "When you look at the people that [offensive coordinator] Scott Linehan has put around him, and Jason Garrett has put around him, it starts with the guys up front. You got a [Tyron] Smith, a [La'el] Collins, a [Travis] Frederick, a [Zack] Martin and now a Chaz Green going to step in probably at that right tackle spot."

"They're going to run the ball first, then they're going to throw the football with the play-action pass and you've got a plethora of players that can catch the football, that are smart, that read coverage well," Jaworski said. "You look at Dak and the weapons around him, I mean, how can you not be excited about the future of the Dallas Cowboys, particularly on offense?"

Cowboys’ Jaylon Smith says he’s “ready to play some ball” - Curtis Crabtree, ProFootballTalk
The 2016 Fiesta Bowl was the last time Jaylon Smith played a competitive snap of football. The limited activities of Ota and mini camp work have the Cowboys 2016 second round draft pick chomping at the bit to stick his helmet into the action.

"I feel like me. I look like me. I am me, I’m Jaylon Smith. Ready to play some ball."

Jaylon has come a long way from the point where it was uncertain if he would ever 'ball' again, and he is ready to show the world of professional football why his talents were once considered to be worthy of a top ten draft selection.

Look out Oxnard, there is a man on a mission headed your way.

Taco Charlton taking wins against Tyron Smith when he can get them - Todd Archer, ESPN
For rookie defensive end Taco Charlton, there's no better opponent to prepare him for life in the NFL than going against All-Pro teammate Tyron Smith.

“I think like a lot of young guys, they grow quickly,” Garrett said. “He’s certainly a very good athlete. He’s a smart guy and he’s willing to work. I think when you put them in an environment like this, they get better. He comes to work, I think he recognizes the challenges. He goes against really good offensive linemen day after day. He’s in a really good environment as a defensive lineman with Coach Marinelli and with [assistant coach] Leon Lett. I think he’s grown from that, and also by the examples of the other guys. I think he’s a different player now than he was when we drafted him, and he’s certainly getting better and better every day.”

Under-the-radar names to remember for all 32 teams from 2017 organized team activities - ESPN STaff
ESPN's NFL Nation reporters pick a player to remember from every team, and Todd Archer picks Damontre Moore.

He never panned out as a third-round pick of the Giants in 2013. He spent time with the Dolphins and Seahawks but has just 10 career sacks. He returned home to Texas with a two-year deal that included only a $100,000 signing bonus. He has taken first-team snaps in practice in part because of injuries along the defensive line, but he has made a solid impression on the coaches with his work ethic, speed and ability to even serve as a gunner on the punt team. The Cowboys hope he is their next low-cost pass-rushing find, like George Selvie or Jeremy Mincey. He might not be a Week 1 starter in September, but he can be a part of the pass-rush rotation.

Cowboys’ Reclamation Project Damontre Moore Player To Watch After OTAs And Minicamp - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
Readers of these pages are well aware that a couple of the front page writers might also have a slight interest in the fortunes of Texas A&M football, and as such they might have been more than a tad bit disappointed to see the New York Giants draft Damontre Moore a few seasons back.

The roll of the dice did not pay off for our friends in the Big Apple or for Moore. His career did not pan out nearly as he would have liked, but for the Dallas Cowboys that could turn out to be a boon as the team looks for pass rushing help anywhere they can find it.

Moore appears to be rededicated to his craft and his home town team is giving him what could be his last shot in professional football. Damontre is not taking his chance lightly.

He displayed a lot of talent while in college, but has been held back as much by his own struggles with maturity as anything. Now he is hitting that point in the mid-twenties when the light comes on for so many men. The favorable comments about his work ethic and that willingness to find any role that helps the team are some evidence that it has happened for him, as is his solid performance at the end of last season for the Seattle Seahawks last year prior to suffering a foot injury.

Moore is getting something that not many get; another chance. It will be up to him to make things happen when the team touches down in Oxnard in five weeks.

11 NFL defensive linemen ready to break out in 2017 - Cameron Da Silva, FOX Sports
Maliek Collins ranks third on DaSilva's list.

Collins burst onto the scene in the second half of the season, recording five sacks in his final nine games, including two against the Browns. He’s exactly what the Cowboys are looking for in a 3-technique, showing the ability to get after the quarterback and stop the run up the middle.

With Dallas still shifting around its defensive line and trying to find the best combination, Collins will remain a cog on every down. He’s the type of player that Rod Marinelli will have a hard time taking off the field, especially on sub-packages when the Cowboys go smaller up front.

He could wind up leading the team in sacks, considering the overall lack of talent Dallas has at defensive end. That’s not necessarily a good sign for the rest of the team, but Marinelli would be thrilled if that were to happen.

Bryan Broaddus: The Cowboys D-lineman who's strong enough to give even Zack Martin some problems - SportsDay Staff
Bryan Broaddus joined 105.3 The Fan to talk all things Cowboys and had this to say about Maliek Collins.

Who on the D-line has been able to give RG Zack Martin some problems?

Broaddus: "Well, to me, the one guy that has the power to do it -- and if you're gonna play Zack Martin, you've gotta be able to have that power, because if he gets his hands inside on you, you're dead -- but Maliek Collins, I keep talking about him, because I love the combination of what he's able to do inside to play as that 1-technique, inside shade of the center off the center's shoulder, or to the play the 3-[tech], the outside shade of the guard. I like what he's able to do inside there and cause some problems with his power, with his quickness. Good battles to watch. I know it's not pads, but these guys, to beat somebody, you're gonna have to come with power and you're gonna have to come with some technique, and he's the one guy that can kind of get Zack Martin off balance when he gets his hands inside. And he was able to do that a couple of different times [Wednesday], but it's nice to see those two guys just battle in there."

Cowboys' Elliott rated below Steelers star - Vince Langford, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
It seems that there are some doubters around the league when it comes to Zeke. Sure, he will need to put together a run of highly successful seasons to justify being a high first round draft pick, that makes sense. Beyond that, there is little reasoning to justify ranking him behind Bell. That NFL talent evaluators are doing so leaves you to scratch your head.

Elliott outrushed Bell by 363 yards in 2016. He averaged 108.7 yards to Bell’s 105.7. Elliott outgained Bell head-to-head in the Cowboys’ 35-30 win over the Steelers by 209 to 135.

One 'evaluator' questioned Elliott's commitment. Yet it is Bell, and not Zeke, who has served two suspensions for off the field activity. It is also Bell who has been a holdout and who has refused to sign his tender.

Tell me again how this commitment thing works; I just don't get it.

Ezekiel Elliott has 'slowed down' off the field; a new way Cowboys could use him on offense - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Nobody could slow him down between the sidelines last season, but Ezekiel Elliott did show the potential to allow himself to be reigned in by some of his own off the field activities. That was a cause for concern.

Was... or is?

Maturity is coming Zeke's way and he has learned from the faux pas that plagued him last year. Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown commented on the maturing young man and his efforts recently:

"I think he slowed down a little bit. I think he understands the opportunity that is before him in his future. I think that he understands that he's only going to play for a little while, obviously you can't do this for your whole life, and he wants to maximize that opportunity. It's a good thing."

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