The Cowboys need some arms.
When the Cowboys’ rookie class takes the field for the first time later this week, they’ll have two fresh faces under center.
Rookie minicamp gets underway at The Star in Frisco on Friday and goes through Sunday, with all nine of this year’s draft picks and 20 undrafted free agents expected to attend.
But none of the aforementioned individuals are quarterbacks. And since league rules prohibit any player who has seen action in a regular season game from participating, the Cowboys will bring in two passers on a tryout basis.
Nick Starkel and Terry Wilson will serve as camp arms for the weekend’s sessions, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.
The Cowboys are beefing up their defensive line.
Looking to shore up their run defense, the Cowboys have shifted toward larger defensive interior linemen the past two drafts. Last year’s sixth-round pick Quinton Bohanna (6-4, 327) played roughly 20% of the snaps as a rookie, posting 12 tackles and one pressure. Ridgeway will have a chance to compete for a spot on early downs, too.
In 2020, the Cowboys allowed the second-most rushing yards in franchise history (2,541). Last year was a noticeable improvement under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The defense
finished 16th against the run, giving up 1,918 yards, and jumped from 28th to seventh in points allowed per game (21.1).
But the last image of the 2021 season was the first-round playoff loss to San Francisco, in which the 49ers racked up the second-most rushing yards against Dallas the entire season (169).
Run defense is still an emphasis this offseason, and perhaps Ridgeway can emerge as part of the solution.
“He is a unique pick for us, relative to how we pick most years with the Dallas Cowboys,” Jones said immediately after the draft. “We usually have lesser size and more quickness. Bohanna has that, but of course long with the size.
Mike McCarthy returns to his old stomping grounds in November.
The NFL on Wednesday announced the Cowboys-Packers matchup for Nov. 13 ahead of the full 2022 schedule release Thursday.
McCarthy served as Green Bay coach for parts of 13 seasons and guided the Packers during their Super Bowl-winning 2010 season. He was fired in December 2018 and hired as the Cowboys’ head coach 13 months later after a one-year hiatus from coaching.
This will be the teams’ first meeting since 2019. The Packers lead the all-time series over the Cowboys 20-17, including playoffs, and have won the past three meetings. Dallas defeated Green Bay 30-16 in 2016, the last time the teams played at Lambeau Field.
The NFL already has announced several matchups for the 2022 season, including a Week 2 Monday Night Football doubleheader, the league’s 2022 international series games and one of three Christmas Day games.
Can a Cowboys UDFA make some noise this year?
The Good: Experience and football IQ each proceed Empey into the NFL. Over 40 starts at the collegiate level and tape that shows he was an anchor for the BYU run attack. His length and balance allow him to reach the second level with ease and combats active hand work by resetting his hands to keep attached to a block. Has made the offensive line calls in the offensive scheme since becoming a starter in 2018.
The Project: While it could be looked at as a good thing at times, Empey’s age may work against him as a prospect trying to establish himself and grow. He enters the NFL at the age of 25, due to a religious mission he served prior to his time at BYU and a redshirt year in 2017. With that being said, his frame may already be filled out. A little undersized at under 300-pounds, he struggled against the stronger defensive lineman at the college level and when he was on an island one-on-one.
The Summary: Empey joins Alec Lindstrom as an undrafted offensive lineman aiming to add depth at the center position this year. As soon as Empey made his way on the field following his redshirt year, he was the established starter on one of the premier offensive lines in football the last few seasons. He started every game he appeared in from 2018 on and despite a nagging ankle injury at times, he was a reliable piece of the Cougars offense.
De Williams almost missed his draft moment.
“We at my coach’s house, and I don’t have service,” Williams said, “so I wasn’t getting calls. But (Cowboys defensive coordinator) Dan Quinn, he texted me: ‘Pick up the phone.’ And I’m like: ‘You didn’t call me.’ So then when I was going to call them back, they called me and then I was like, ‘Everybody just shut up. Everybody shut up, I’m talking to Dan Quinn right now.’”
Williams became the first Ole Miss player drafted by Dallas since the Cowboys chose cornerback Alundis Brice with the 129th pick in 1995.
“I think a pass rusher is a premium, a pressure player is a premium,” Jones said of Williams. “We think that first and foremost he’s a terrific player and a potential terrific pro as a player. And then he’s got a lot of energy, he’s got a lot of personality, and we think that’s a real positive for his play and for the people around him’s play. He brings a lot to the table.”
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