We are only a few months removed from the 2018 NFL Draft, and the rookie class for the Dallas Cowboys is already expected to play a huge part in the teams success in the upcoming season. The Cowboys drafted nine players in the draft, and added a handful of other notable undrafted free agents. With two weeks into training camp, let’s take a look and see which rookies have been the most impressive.
5. Donovan Olumba - CB - Portland State - UDFA
A name some may not be familiar with, but may want to start doing getting familiar with - is cornerback Donovan Olumba. Olumba, is a 6-foot-2, 195-lb cornerback that possesses great length and great physical traits. Olumba has been making plays in training camp is starting to gain some attention from coaches, teammates, and media members.
Here’s what Bryan Broaddus had to say about the rookie cornerback after seeing him in his first week of practices:
Bryan Broaddus: Plenty of conversation about the tops corners on this team but the one that shined today wasn’t a guy we’ve talked much about. I really like what I saw from Donovan Olumba CB during the Team Period. Two times, Olumba was tested where he had to come up with plays on the ball and was right where he needed to be. Kris Richard praised him both times for his effort and results.
The hype didn’t stop there for Olumba. Jaylon Smith was on with Shan and RJ on 105.3 The Fan earlier this week and was asked which one of the young guys has impressed the most so far in training camp. He answered with “Sherman”. Both radio hosts, had no clue who he was talking about, then Smith clarified that he was talking about “#32 with the dreads”. There’s no denying that Olumba’s physical traits fit perfectly with what Kris Richard wants to do, but he’s certainly exceeded all expectations through two weeks of camp.
4. Tyree Robinson - S - Oregon - UDFA
If you’re looking for a dark horse candidate to make the team that we currently aren’t talking about, Tyree Robinson is a perfect guy to start with. Robinson is a 6-foot-2, 200-lb safety that is known for being a ball hawk safety, who excels in coverage and taking the ball away. In his four year career at Oregon, Robinson had six interceptions and 201 tackles. Robinson has made multiple plays in camp in both coverage, and filling in, in the run game.
Will McClay talked up UDFA safety Tyree Robinson and "a couple young corners" as a potential dark horses to make the roster on #SomosCowboys— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 2, 2018
Robinson has plenty of competition in the secondary, but due to his versatility, the Cowboys could keep Robinson as a guy to play safety, corner, and special teams. Will McClay is a big fan of Robinson and even went out on a limb to say that he was one of his “dark horse” candidates when on with Ambar Garcia of the mothership earlier this week. Keep an eye on Tyree Robinson in the preseason games, he’s one who could seriously stand out.
3. Connor Williams - OG - Texas - 2nd Round Pick
Even though he wasn’t the Cowboys first-round pick, Connor Williams may have been Cowboys fans most celebrated pick when drafted in the second round. Williams was a tackle at Texas, but has the ability to make an easy transition to guard for the Cowboys. Williams had an up and down career at the University of Texas, but has been very good so far in training camp. Williams has gone up against the defensive line starters and the back-ups and has held his own against everyone he’s faced so far.
Probably Connor Williams. Michael Gallup flashes but has had some down moments too https://t.co/QUyYgs6Wf6— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 3, 2018
The Cowboys offensive woes in 2017 mainly came from the hole at left tackle when Tyron Smith went out with injury, and the inconsistency from the left guard position with Jonathan Cooper and Chaz Green. As Todd Archer from ESPN points out, Connor Williams has been very consistent in practices. Williams plays with great athleticism, technique, and has a mean streak that doesn’t go unnoticed. For Williams, he’ll need to continue to get stronger, but through two weeks of practices, he looks to be a huge upgrade at the left guard position.
2. Michael Gallup - WR - Colorado State - 3rd Round Pick
Michael Gallup has so far been the talk of training camp. After every practice, your twitter feed is probably flooded with videos of Gallup doing something good, and that’s exactly what the Cowboys need out of their third-round pick. As we all know, the Cowboys don’t have a bona fide WR1 on their roster, but Michael Gallup may put those rumors to rest if he keeps up the pace he’s on. Gallup brings a big catch radius, raw but nuanced route running ability, and good, consistent hands.
Cooper Rush to Michael Gallup in 7 on 7 pic.twitter.com/E6IzVhkDTi— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 29, 2018
Gallup’s biggest issue is staying focused and getting better each day. Dating back to the Senior Bowl, Gallup has mentioned that he has a problem with staying focused and practicing at a high level consistently. Gallup has done a tremendous job so far making plays when given the opportunity. Through two weeks of practice, it isn’t a stretch to say that Michael Gallup has been the best receiver on the field, he just needs to continue to progress every day.
1. Dorance Armstrong - DE - Kansas - 4th Round Pick
Surprise surprise, Dorance Armstrong gets the nod as the team's best rookie so far in training camp. Armstrong, entered camp as a guy who most expected to be just another guy. So far, he has been one of the best pass rushers on the field for the Dallas Cowboys. Armstrong was an interesting player to evaluate in the 2017 NFL Draft, due to his scheme fit in Kansas’ defense, and the Kansas coaching staff wanting him to focus more on his run defense. At times, Armstrong looked to be a top 100 player in the NFL Draft, and that’s what he’s been showing on the field so far in Oxnard.
The Cowboys have a long list of guys to rush the passer in 2018 from defensive end, but not many of them have much of a proven track record. Dorance Armstrong is in a perfect spot to not only make the team, but to see significant time on the field from the weak-side defensive end position. If Armstrong continues to play at the level he is right now, he could end up being one of the biggest steals of the 2018 NFL Draft.