5 things we learned during Dallas Cowboys rookie minicamp – Staff, Dallas Morning News
Some takeaways from the recent Cowboys rookie minicamp.
Left guard is for Tyler Smith. Cowboys first-rounder Tyler Smith practiced at left guard for the first time since 2018, when he was a senior at North Crowley High School in Fort Worth. He didn’t expect his comeback to go the way it did.
“I felt like today I really rose to the challenge,” Smith said after the first rookie minicamp practice. “Of course, there’s more to improve. I even realize that, just the way I walk, it’s all different. … It felt good. I’m not even going to lie. You catch yourself sometimes. Smith focused on left tackle during his three years at Tulsa.
The Cowboys plan to give him practice reps at left tackle at some point this offseason, but there is no set date for that. How he develops technically at left guard will determine how much the team puts on their plate and when. Positional versatility would allow Smith to replace Tyron Smith if Tyron is unavailable this season for whatever reason. Tyron has missed at least three games over the past six years, mostly through injury.
Speaking of rookies…
The Cowboys signed second- and third-round picks Sam Williams and Jalen Tolbert to four-year contracts. Only fourth-rounder Jake Ferguson remains unsigned.
—Todd Archer (@toddarcher) May 17, 2022
Pain Points: Does this team need LB depth? – Staff, DallasCowboys.com
The linebacker could be a problem for the Cowboys.
What’s the problem: There doesn’t seem to be a problem on paper. The reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is one hell of a foundation for your linebacking corps. Behind Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch is back for a fifth season, with 49 career starts to his credit. Throw in some athletic draft picks in Jabril Cox and Devin Harper, not to mention Luke Gifford, and things look pretty good. The main problem is that these things rarely go according to the script. Cox is recovering from injury after missing 10 games in his freshman year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Vander Esch played in all 17 games last season but missed a lot of time in two of his four years in the league. If, God forbid, the Cowboys’ linebacker depth is tested this season, they could find themselves at fault.
Who can fix it: The biggest variable in all of this is Cox, who is one of the most intriguing young players on this list. The former North Dakota State and LSU star was considered by many to be one of the steals of the 2021 NFL Draft. Widely considered a second- or third-round talent by draft analysts, this looked like a huge upset that Cox slipped to No. 115, where the Cowboys finally caught him.
Alexander’s contract will influence Trevon Diggs’ future with the Cowboys – Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys cornerback is about to earn a big payday.
Alexander is coming off an injury-shortened season, playing only the first four games in 2021. However, he was a Pro Bowler in 2020 and was a PFF All-Pro while being named to the AP Second Team. He has the credentials for his big new contract. We can now expect Diggs to see a second contract for even more. The question is how soon does he reach a new agreement, and with whom?
Logically, when a team has a young All-Pro player in one of the “money” or high-value positions, management should be prepared to work hard to find a way to retain him. Doing this early rather than letting deadline pressure build up is also smart. Dallas’ recent history may predict a rocky road.
It is illustrative to look at the case of former Cowboys first-round pick Byron Jones. After the staff moved him from safety to cornerback, where he should have been all along, he also made the Pro Bowl and AP second-team All-Pro roster. But after exercising their fifth-year option on him, Dallas let him sign with the Miami Dolphins. Jones looked a lot like Alexander. He was very solid in his coverage, often stopping the opponent’s best WR. He also rarely had interceptions, another similarity. It’s an open question how the staff and especially the property views Diggs. He obviously excelled at getting down with the ball, but he racked up big yardages in games at times. It’s a more aggressive style. The winnings made by the players he has covered could also be misleading.
Why the Cowboys Should Sign WR Chester Rogers – Rocky Garza Jr, Inside The Star
Dallas could definitely use another wide receiver.
Although I could have ended the discussion by saying that you still have Lamb, I remembered that Lamb is now the real WR1 of the club, so it doesn’t make sense to put him in danger. My next thought was to switch to Pollard, but if you look at his career stats, you find he was never involved in punt coverage. And if you ask me why? It is beyond my remuneration, you would have to ask the coaches.
Now stuck trying to decipher who could fill Lamb’s role, the only player that came to mind (only because I was looking at my old fantasy team) was former Titans WR Chester Rogers. And before the fans jump on me since he’s not the sexiest name to look for, hear me out.
According to The Football Database, Rogers averaged 9.77 yards per punt return last season, which ranked him 5th in the league. Comparing that to Lamb or Wilson’s stats, Rogers was within yards of Lamb (9.97 YPR) and smoked Wilson’s YPR (3.27) a mile away.
Comparing Dak Prescott to other NFC East quarterbacks before 2022 – Terence Watson, The Landry Hat
How would you rank the NFC East quarterbacks?
Accuracy in 2022. Done poorly – 78.2% of his passes were on target and 14% were considered bad throws. Jones – 76.1% of his passes were on target and 18.4% were considered bad throws. Prescott – 77.3% of his passes were on target and 14.7% were considered bad throws. Wentz – 73.7% of his passes were on target and 18.8% were considered bad throws
We continually hear complaints about Prescott’s accuracy compared to other players in the league. Although some of them are deserved, this is more of a perception than a reality. But how does he fare in his own division? Surprisingly, based on last season’s numbers, it was Hurts and not Prescott who was the most accurate of the bunch, but not by much.
This could be due to the Eagles’ stronger running game last season compared to the lackluster production of the Cowboys’ running game towards the end of the season. Either way, Hurts was the more accurate of the two, and that number could go up even more for Hurts with the addition of AJ Brown, while Prescott could drop with the loss of Amari Cooper. Wentz and Jones both had disappointing seasons. But on those two, Wentz played worse and had better receiving targets and a stronger running game.
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