IRVING, Texas – When the Dallas Cowboys begin their rookie mini-camp Friday (May 10th) at Valley Ranch, there will be a small group of veterans on hand as well.
Guard Ronald Leary, who quickly became a Jerry Jones’ favorite last year at this time for more than just the $214,000 he was guaranteed as an undrafted free agent, is among the first-year players to be on the field. Leary spent most of last year on the practice squad before getting called up to the active roster with two games to play. He will have a chance to win a starting job this summer and the early rookie camp work will give him some extra work.
Wide receiver Tim Benford, guard Charlie Bryant, tackle Aderious Simmons, wide receiver Jared Green, quarterback Nick Stephens, long snapper Charley Hughlett, defensive tackle Monte Taylor, defensive end Ikponwmosa Igbinosun and safety Micah Pellerin are also expected to practice next week. This group either finished the year on the practice squad or was signed to futures contracts after the season ended.
Wide receiver Danny Coale, a fifth-round pick last year, is also eligible to practice but will sit out as he continues his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered late last season. He should be able to take part in the organized team activities and full-team mini-camp in June.
2013 ROOKIE’S TO WATCH: Dallas Cowboys new draft picks RB Joseph Randle and WR Terrance Williams college highlights
Sure, reading and hearing about your newly drafted players is interesting. But, nothing beats seeing! Watch these young studs in action in the short videos below.
Joseph Randle Highlights
The Dallas Cowboys desperately needed some depth at running back with Felix Jones heading for free agency, so they picked up Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. But anybody that watched Randle in college might’ve been shocked that he lasted as long as he did. The former OSU Cowboy racked up more than 2,600 yards and 38 touchdowns during his last two seasons in Stillwater, making him one of the most prolific backs in college football since 2011. Check out some impressive highlights of Randle at work below:
Terrance Williams Highlights
The Dallas Cowboys drafted prolific Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams in the third round of last week’s NFL Draft. While Big 12 fans are plenty familiar with Williams’, those of you who don’t follow college football probably haven’t seen much of him in action. Here’s a video that shows off some of Williams’ more impressive displays of athleticism during his time at Baylor.
It seemed like a perfect match on draft day. With a switch to a 4-3 scheme on the way, the Dallas Cowboys had a need at defensive tackle. Sharrif Floyd, who many saw as the top DT in the draft, surprisingly slid to the Cowboys at No. 18 (and 17 other teams for that matter). But instead of taking Floyd to shore up the defensive line, the Cowboys traded down and took an offensive linemen instead.
So how did the decision sit with new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin? Just fine, apparently.
“[Floyd’s] a really, really outstanding football player, but I think everybody discussed it and the decision was made,” Kiffin told KRLD-FM The Fan. “And I think it was the right decision, or it wouldn’t have been a big time discussion. We made the right decision for the Dallas Cowboys.”
Kiffin, in his first year with the Cowboys after spending the last three seasons at USC, will be installing a Texas variation of the Tampa 2 scheme that traditionally requires a disruptive 3-technique defensive tackle to work well. And while the Cowboys have talent along the defensive line, starters Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware are coming off surgery, while Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer will be moving to different positions.
Still, Kiffin seemed far less concerned about the state of his defensive front than his linebacking corps heading into the final day of the draft.
“I walked into the linebacker room the other day and there were five linebackers in there. And I walked in the d-line room and I couldn’t get a seat. I had to sit on the floor,” Kiffin said. “So I said, ‘Coach Garrett, we still need linebackers.’ And everybody knows that.”
Trying to find future stars in the later rounds of the NFL Draft is a tough task, but if Scott Wright’s sleeper list is any indication, the Dallas Cowboys could have a head start on the competition.
Wright composed a lengthy list of 95 potential sleepers in the 2013 draft class, and a pair of Cowboys draft picks are right near the top.
William and Mary cornerback B.W. Webb is No. 4 on the list, earning a 2nd- or 3rd-round grade from Wright. The Cowboys snagged Webb in the 4th round on Saturday.
Right behind Webb is Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox at No. 5, who the Cowboys took in the 3rd round. Wilcox is a strong athlete, but his stock wasn’t especially high because he only played one year at safety in college.
One other new Cowboys made the cut on Wright’s list. South Carolina State safety Jakar Hamilton, who the Cowboys signed as an undrafted free agent, came in at No. 48. Hamilton was a four-star recruit coming out of high school who signed with the Georgia Bulldogs, but wound up transferring to South Carolina State in 2011.
See list below
MEET THE STUDS: Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks arrive at Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference (Special Feature)
Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks arrive at Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference
Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks inside Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference
Dallas Cowboys’ 2013 Draft pick WR Terrance Williams is greeted by Jerry Jones at the Dallas Cowboys Valley Ranch NFL Draft war room
MANY more photographs below …