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Cowboys Camp: Recap Of The First Padded Practice of 2017

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Camp: Recap Of The First Padded Practice of 2017
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time during the 2017 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys put the pads on and had a "real" football practice.

Of course, being it was only the first padded practice of many, multiple key players for the upcoming season were either limited or inactive. Those who did participate, however, gave us some very entertaining content.

First, here's Jaylon Smith wearing pads and a Dallas Cowboys helmet. It's really happening, and it's okay to be excited.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith is wearing pads for the first time today.

Oh, and he wasn't wearing a brace!

Pat Doney on Twitter

Jaylon Smith is not wearing a brace. Quite a statement in his first padded practice as a @dallascowboys player. @NBCDFW

Or, was he....

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Then there was this awesome clip of offensive linemen Dan Skipper, Joe Looney, and Clay DeBord imitating Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's "People's Elbow" before practice got underway.

To be honest, I just thought this was funny:

Bill Jones on Twitter

Offensive linemen Joe Looney, Clay DeBord & rookie Dan Skipper make WWF entrance to first padded practice

Now let's get to some real football clips.

During the Special Teams period of practice, rookie wide-out Ryan Switzer was tasked with returning punts with the first team. Switzer will most likely be that returner, as his original competition has since been released by the team.

Brandon George on Twitter

Your likely return man for Cowboys is rookie WR Ryan Switzer:

The most fun part of practice to watch for most people is the team period. Out of that team period yesterday, we got some fun videos from Twitter.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

Okay @EzekielElliott making it look easy! #CowboysCamp

Another Jaylon Smith clip, this time as he gets into a fluid drop and (if live) would've taken down the receiver.

Brandon George on Twitter

More Jaylon Smith (54) in pads with pass his way ...

During one-on-one's we got a good look at seventh round rookie Noah Brown working against cornerback Sammy Seamster. Brown runs a crisp route and wins to the inside, coming away with the reception and the win. Look out for Noah Brown a a potential practice squad candidate when camp ends later this summer.

David Helman on Twitter

Noah Brown vs. Sammy Seamster

In a battle of rookies, highly touted reciever Ryan Switzer is unable to shake sixth round cornerback Marquez White. Like Brown, White is a sleeper candidate to make the final roster, or at least the practice squad.

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Switzer came back and got a win on his very next rep, however.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Ryan Switzer's feet are just a little whoops I mean a whole lot fast

Lastly, Cole Beasley goes to work against Anthony Brown and comes away with the reception from Dak Prescott. I've yet to see anyone who cover Beasley one on one in open space.

Brandon George on Twitter

Cole Beasley beats Anthony Brown for catch in 1-on-1 drills from Dak:

I could continue to bring you videos forever, but I will stop here. Make sure to follow me @KevinBrady88 on twitter, as well as the other Inside The Star staff writers for more videos and insight on Cowboys Camp.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Star Blog

Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?

Brian Martin



Cowboys Have Their Version of Tryann Mathieu in Xavier Woods?

It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.

Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.

The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.

Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.

Xavier Woods

Dallas Cowboys DB Xavier Woods

It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.

I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.

Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.

As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.

His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.

Xavier Woods

Dallas Cowboys DB Xavier Woods (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.

Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.

As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.

Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.

Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?

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Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins

Jess Haynie



Orlando Scandrick

Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.

By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.

Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.

Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.

Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.

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Star Blog

Upgrading the Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?

Brian Martin



Upgrading Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?

Despite the displeasure by the majority of fans, the Dallas Cowboys continue to hold things close to the vest with their approach to free agency. It's definitely not the most popular approach and tends to drive fans crazy, but things could start heating up now that the free-agent market is starting to settle.

Looking from the outside in, we can only speculate as to which positions the Dallas Cowboys may prioritize in free agency and in the draft that matter. Earl Thomas and the safety position has been the most popular topic of discussion throughout the free agency process, but it looks as if the Cowboys are narrowing their focus on upgrading and adding depth to their offensive line.

Marcus Martin

Free-agent C/OG Marcus Martin

This is just speculation of course, but it's based on the fact that the Cowboys are rumored to be bringing in free-agent offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And on top of that, it was announced that two of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors are also offensive lineman, Will Hernandez, who is popular among Cowboys fans already, and offensive tackle Kolton Miller.

I don't know about you, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys are certainly focused in on upgrading the offensive line. This absolutely makes sense after what they went through last season with the carousel at the left guard position and Tyron Smith's struggles to stay healthy.

More than anything, the Cowboys need OL depth heading into the 2018 season. There is only really one spot up for grabs at left guard, but the depth across the OL is absolutely depleted unless you want to rely on Chaz Green again.

This is where Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming make a lot of sense. Marcus Martin has the versatility to play center and guard, and has done so already in his NFL career. He could compete for the starting LG position, but if nothing else, could replace Joe Looney as the backup C/OG.

Cameron Fleming could be the more important of the two free agents the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in. At the worst, Fleming would be an upgrade as the swing tackle, something he's done with the New England Patriots throughout his career. But, he could compete to become the starting right tackle, which would kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard.

That's all speculation right now, but the Dallas Cowboys would do what's best for the entire team in order to get the right starting five offensive lineman on the field.

Kolton Miller

Cowboys Rookie prospect OT Kolton Miller

The same can be said about rookies Will Hernandez and Kolton Miller. Hernandez would likely be a plug-and-play left guard if he ended up being the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick. That would keep the offensive line from shuffling and hopefully solidify the unit for years to come.

Kolton Miller on the other hand would be a lot like the Cameron Fleming situation mentioned above. He can probably tackle on the left or right side the NFL, although some draft analysts believe he will struggle as a LT at the next level.

Of course, there is no way of knowing how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have any of these players right now. But to me, it looks as if upgrading the offensive line is certainly one of their top priorities this offseason.

Is upgrading the OL the Dallas Cowboys top offseason priority?

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