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Cowboys news: Randy Gregory giddiness, second-rounders coming on

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With training camp bearing rapidly down on us, here is some news about America’s Team to keep you informed.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Minicamp
Between Jaylon Smith and Randy Gregory, Cowboys have two of the most fascinating stories in the NFL.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Randy Gregory - He's Baaack! Steve Van Over, Pro Football Talk Line
Randy Gregory is getting a lot of people pumped up about what the Cowboys pass rush could be by midseason.

It’s exciting times for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli who has the deepest defensive line rotation he has ever had while at Big D. Not too long ago he was literally working with talent off the streets (remember George Selvie?) and somehow making it work. The club may have issues at DT this offseason due to injury and suspension but they are WAAAAY deep at DE now that Gregory is back.

Third and long, Lawrence on one side, Gregory on the other, Malik Collins and Irving in the middle. That is pressure coming at the QB from every angle and the boys can even send LVE or Jaylon Smith as extra pressure. OUCH!

Welcome back, Mr. Gregory. May your stay be long and fruitful.

Dallas Cowboys' Randy Gregory: I'm a 'whole different person' - Todd Archer, Cowboys Blog- ESPN
Gregory revealed some of what he told commissioner Roger Goodell during his reinstatement process. It is a frank and honest self-evaluation, and indicative of how he has put his heart into coming back.

Three years later, Gregory had another audience with Goodell. This time, it was at 345 Park Avenue at the NFL offices in New York, where he sought his reinstatement to a league that had suspended him for 30 of 32 regular-season games over the 2016 and 2017 seasons because of multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

“I told Roger I had this idea what it was supposed to be like growing up,” Gregory said. “You think it’s fast cars and partying and women, and I told him, ‘I did it just like that.’ Growing up, I thought that’s what it meant to be a professional athlete. I think subconsciously that’s what I went for, coming into the league. It backfired. I kind of lost track of the real me, the authentic me, and had to backtrack to figure out why and kind of build myself back up.

“Think of it like working out. You tear all the fibers in your arms and legs, and then you build it back up and come back stronger. That’s pretty much what I had to do mentally and emotionally.”

Seconds, anyone? Cowboys to unleash Revenge of the 2nd-Rounders - Mike Fisher, 247 Sports
The Cowboys have had a history of not getting much out of second round picks. But that may change in a big way this season.

In 2014, Dallas traded a third-rounder in a package to move up to make DeMarcus Lawrence its second-round pick.

In 2015, Dallas' second-rounder was Randy Gregory, who'd failed a drug test at the Scouting Combine.

In 2016, Dallas' second-rounder was Jaylon Smith, who'd sustained a potentially career-ending knee injury months before.

In 2017, Dallas' second-rounder was Chidobe Awuzie, the centerpiece of a decision to take a defensive end earlier and hope a quality corner was left as the Cowboys hurried to remake their entire secondary.

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And now along comes the Randy Gregory reinstatement news. His story is far from complete, his impact far from known. But my man Landon McCool, reacting to Gregory joining this collection of guys, calls this, "The Revenge of the Second-Rounders.''

Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin's Footsteps? ✭ Brian Martin, Inside the Star
We can also add one more second round pick to the group who might change our perceptions of how the Cowboys do there.

The footsteps I think Connor Williams should try to follow as it pertains to Zack Martin is how well he made the transition from a collegiate Offensive Tackle to an NFL Guard. I think that should be Williams' main focus right now with training camp coming up.

Williams will be inserted into the starting lineup as the Cowboys new Left Guard. It will be a new position for him after playing mainly Tackle at the University of Texas, that will require an entirely new mindset and technique. But, it's in transition I believe he can make rather smoothly.

Connor Williams should benefit from Zack Martin's similar transition from college OT to an NFL OG. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the rookie shadowing Martin throughout training camp to soak up as much knowledge as possible. It's probably the best way for him to jumpstart his career.

Committed to fans and military, Cowboys Jaylon Smith shines at Go NFFC | Khari Murphy, Cowboys Wire
One of those second rounders was something of a standout at the recent Go NFCC event.

It was clear Smith was a fan favorite during the convention. He always had a mob following behind him like a school of fish, the lines for his autographs and picture opportunities were infinitely stretched.

As Smith treks towards what could be the most pivotal step in his career in regards to his health, he remains loyal to the fans who’ve been with him along the way — and he’ll always be this way because it’s his purpose.

Earl Thomas, Cowboys speculation labeled 'social media hype' - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
Earl Thomas got Cowboys fans all fired up again about the team trading to get him from the Seattle Seahawks. Here is another reminder that we may need to curb our enthusiasm.

The Seahawks are under zero pressure to move an inch considering they have him under contract through the 2018 season, and no amount of Instagram commenting will void the deal he signed with them. This is precisely the view the Dallas Cowboys have on the whole matter, after seeing their third-round offer in the 2018 NFL Draft received with a deafening silence.

The bottom line is, the Cowboys aren't subscribing to this media-negotiation tactic either.

“It’s a lot of media hype," said one team official to Calvin Watkins of The Athletic. "Seattle [is] not giving him away and we’re not overpaying.”

Biggest training camp storyline for each NFL team | Vincent Frank, Yardbarker.com
While Gregory's reinstatement has dialed up the optimism in Dallas, there are still issues to address, and this is really the biggest one.

Dallas Cowboys: Life without Dez and Witten

Dallas might think it has solid replacements for these two all-time franchise greats in that of Allen Hurns and Rico Gathers, respectively. That’s fine. But until we see this new cast of pass catchers connect with Dak Prescott, questions are going to be abound. Prescott’s own struggles a sophomore last season magnifies this. If he was unable to do anything of substance with Bryant and Witten on the field, what are we to expect from the young signal caller? More than anything else, that will be that biggest storyline at the Star in Frisco this summer.

With different formula, Cowboys can copy Eagles’ turnaround success | Ben Grimaldi, Cowboys Wire
The Philadelphia Eagles are seen as a favorite to get back to the Super Bowl. But this is a reminder of how quickly things can change - and how no one was looking for them to break out the way they did in 2017.

Fast forward to the present and it’s possible the Cowboys could copy what their rivals did last year.

The Eagles were flying under the radar when head coach Doug Pederson pushed all the right buttons. Despite a myriad of injuries the Eagles finished at 13-3 in the regular season before riding off into the postseason sunset. Philadelphia is now the hunted and the Cowboys are the underdogs who have the ability to reverse what happened last year.