3 Stars through the First Week of Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

    We’re a little more than a week into and several players are making noise this Summer. Now we’re not talking about one or two practices, we’re talking about players who are consistently showing up as stand outs in the practice reports.

    As we generally do in this space during the season; let’s hand out our for the first week of training camp. But because there are so many players standing out early on, I broke it up between players returning from the 2019 squad and new arrivals to the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.

    Returning Players

    1. Chidobe Awuzie, CB

    Since the offseason began, people have been looking for a replacement to the departing and the returning Chidobe Awuzie. Awuzie, who's struggled to make plays on the football through his first three seasons in the NFL had become the victim of really good ball placement and a technique that coached him to play the man and not the ball.

    A new staff has led to a fresh start for the Cowboys 2017 second-round pick. He's been actively playing the football in team drills and has been able to convert plays into interceptions. Yesterday, in practice, Awuzie was able to pick off Dak Prescott on an attempt to .

    If Awuzie can become more of a playmaker on the outside, that will change everything for him moving forward. Playing with his eyes on the and the football, Awuzie has had really good moments in his NFL career.

    2. Darian Thompson, S

    In a bit of a turn of events, Safety may have worked his way into the starting lineup for the Dallas Cowboys. The reports about Thompson's play have been encouraging to this point in training camp and yesterday, images came out showing Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with his helmet off as Thompson rotated in for first-team defensive reps.

    3 Stars through the First Week of Cowboys Training Camp 3
    Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Watches before rotating back in with the First-Team Defense. Photo by Vernon Bryant of the

    Michael Gelkin of the Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that Clinton-Dix has failed to separate himself from Darian Thompson thus far during training camp.

    3. Trysten Hill, DL

    When Defensive was lost for the season after a torn quadriceps tendon, the attention quickly turned to second-year and rookie . The Cowboys were going to need those guys to step up and fill the massive void left in the middle of the defense.

    So far, it sounds like Hill has risen to the occasion.

    By all reports, he's been a much better player than he looked in 2019. His body is better prepared for the NFL grind and he's been focused and determined to earn a role in 2020. Yesterday, included Hill when asked who's been the most impressive players for the Cowboys defense thus far.

    Hill was seen by many as a project player when selected in the , hence some of the frustration with last year's selection. However, if he's able to start the season as part of the defensive tackle rotation or starting in base packages, that would be a huge step forward for Trysten Hill.

    After being a healthy scratch for much of the 2019 season, many were ready to send Hill packing, but he's proof that patience is important when talking about your draft picks. Especially the ones who've only been in the NFL for one season.

    Honorable Mentions

    Amari Cooper, WR

    Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper have picked up right where they left off in the 2019 season. Cooper continues to get open and Prescott continues to find him. While a lot of attention has been paid to in the early going, Cooper has been just as dynamic for the Cowboys .

    Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch

    By all reports, Jaylon Smith and have been flying around the football. With renewed energy, there's a renewed hope that these two can be game wreckers for the . In particular, getting Vander Esch back healthy has made a difference for Jaylon Smith, but also for the defense as a whole.

    New Additions

    1. CeeDee Lamb, WR

    It may be getting redundant to say it, but CeeDee Lamb is putting on a show in his first training camp in the NFL. Day after day, we get reports from those fortunate enough to witness the practices that he's consistently making plays in the Dallas Cowboys offense. Yesterday, Lamb was credited with three touchdowns in yesterday's practice, which included red-zone work.

    Lamb will get a lot of opportunities in the Dallas Cowboys offense, which is filled with an abundance of talent. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and will garner the attention of opposing defensive coordinators and it's looking like those opposing defenses will have to concern themselves with CeeDee Lamb as well.

    2. Aldon Smith, EDGE

    From the moment the Dallas Cowboys signed Aldon Smith, fans and analysts have been clamoring to see the once-feared pass rusher in pads on an NFL field. Through the early part of training camp, he has not disappointed.

    Aldon Smith has received high praise from coaches and observers alike for his impressive physique and his rare blend of strength and athleticism for a player his size. Even with the of Everson Griffen to play right , it sounds like the Dallas Cowboys will have a role for Smith in 's multiple defense.

    He's going to get snaps at several places along the Dallas Cowboys defensive front. It's even been hinted that he's lined up as the in some three-man fronts in end of game simulations. With Griffen and DeMarcus Lawrence playing defensive end, Smith has been the defensive tackle in those situations.

    The Cowboys are getting creative with the way they're getting Aldon Smith involved and it's going to pay huge dividends when the regular season starts. They say you can't have too many pass rushers and the Dallas Cowboys are about to put that theory to the test.

    3. Trevon Diggs, CB

    As impressive as CeeDee Lamb has been for the offense in his first training camp, second-round pick Trevon Diggs has put on a show himself for the defense.

    Diggs is receiving rave reviews from the and practice observers for his ability to track the football down the field like a wide receiver and make a play on the ball. His instincts and playmaking ability are what excited people coming out of Alabama and now he's showing it against NFL competition.

    Daily, it seems as if Diggs is working himself into a position to earn snaps against the first-team offense and fight for a starting spot opposite of Chidobe Awuzie. The Dallas Cowboys defense needs playmakers on the outside and Trevon Diggs is showing he is up to the task.

    Honorable Mention

    Daryl Worley, CB

    signing has received positive reviews in the early part of training camp for his ability to play across the formation for the Dallas Cowboys defense. A versatile player, Worley can play on the outside, in the slot, and line up at safety and can be used as a matchup piece against tight ends. He's made plays in practice and will be an integral part of the Cowboys defense in 2020.

    John Williams
    John Williams
    Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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    If you were to ask me for a list of players whom I would want to see make this list, this is almost spot on! This covers all the weaknesses we previously identified and is evidence of growth for a couple of key guys as well. Good report to get John!

    gary b

    Great to hear so many good reports coming out about so many players. Especially Awuzie who has been much maligned and Hill who seems to have turned a corner, effort and commitment wise. Also was some question as to how quickly Diggs would adapt to the NFL, appears that he hit the ground running. I’m tempering my excitement over the DL cuz they been going against 2nd and 3rd string OL alot, but by all accounts it appears this DL could be special. I would like to see an infusion of young talent in the secondary. I would be OK with Diggs/Awuzie/Thompson/Wilson starting. Lets let some of these young/hungry/play making studs who are our future, get a jump start with their maturation process. Coaching staff might want more exp. back there, but that secondary group as a whole was underwhelming last yr