Welcome to the inaugural series, “Rookie Roundup.”
In this ongoing series, I will compile all eye-popping videos, interviews, articles, and social media posts that I can get my hands on over this year’s rookies–and drop the info right here for you to read.
Whether it be over gameplay, practice, life outside of football posts, et cetera, I will do the best of my abilities to give you some coverage over the rooks, but also give my take on what info I find.
Also, while we sit amidst Training Camp, there have been some big plays and entertaining comments from players, coaches, and good ole Jerry Jones, so expect some juicy material.
So without further ado, check it out below.
Tyler Smith: Mr. “Why Did We Pick This Guy?”
As we all know, the most common reaction from fans around the Tyler Smith pick was: “WTF?!?” While many fans hoped another stud would fall to the Cowboys, or they went the Kenyon Green/Zion Johnson route, the front office surprised everyone by going with Smith.
With much criticism on his head, Smith has seemed to block out the noise pretty well because he’s balllllinnnnnnnnn lately. Projected at LG, Smith has been getting constant praise from his teammates, coaches, and by the front office–as you can see what Jones said about him below.
Michael Gehlken on Twitter: “Jerry Jones on Cowboys rookie OL Tyler Smith: “I’m liking everything that I’m seeing. …I’ve seen him have the instincts to pick it up when they’re playing games on him. He’s doing it naturally. …He’s just so strong, and he’s really so gifted in terms of smart on picking it up.” / Twitter”
Jerry Jones on Cowboys rookie OL Tyler Smith: “I’m liking everything that I’m seeing. …I’ve seen him have the instincts to pick it up when they’re playing games on him. He’s doing it naturally. …He’s just so strong, and he’s really so gifted in terms of smart on picking it up.”
Top Nugget on Smith:
Also, while I could give you some video over Smith’s pass-protection, I thought I would mix it up and drop this gem of him carrying all the player’s helmets. It made me laugh seeing this giant carrying multiple helmets for being a rookie (I could bring maybe three), but if you REALLY wanted to see how he looks, click here.
Sam Williams: A guy who’s going to surprise people this year.
Once Randy Gregory left in free agency, fans went crazy trying to figure out who would be that guy to dial-up pressure with Demarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, and Micah Parsons. While some pointed to Armstrong taking a leap or newly-signed Dante Fowler, the franchise went after an edge by name of Sam “De” Williams, who I believe will be a STUD.
Yes, I get it is way too early to label him as a stud, but after hearing praise from his teammates on how talented he is and seeing videos of him in drills, Williams could have some people advocating for him to be DROY.
Top Nugget From Williams:
I laughed and loved this quote that Williams gave during a Training Camp interview because I never imagined NFL players being bored or needing new friends after getting drafted. Like I always imagined them being at the top of the world, having your circle with you, et cetera.
However, I’m not trying to fault Williams here because it can be hard to transition to a new state without knowing anyone, so I understand him. But if Williams is reading this and wants a new friend, hit me up.
Jon Machota on Twitter: “Cowboys rookie DE Sam Williams on what he did during his time off: “I don’t know anybody in Texas. I was bored. I need new friends. Whoever is listening, if you want to be my friend let me know. I was bored.” pic.twitter.com/Out7x1mm0x / Twitter”
Cowboys rookie DE Sam Williams on what he did during his time off: “I don’t know anybody in Texas. I was bored. I need new friends. Whoever is listening, if you want to be my friend let me know. I was bored.” pic.twitter.com/Out7x1mm0x
Jalen Tolbert: The Next Great Dallas Cowboys WR. Just kidding, or am I?
After the departures of several WRs this offseason, the Cowboys made moves to manage those losses. With the signings of James Washington, former USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin, and the drafting of Jalen Tolbert, there are a lot of new faces in the wideout room.
However, Tolbert is arguably the most-hyped wideout on the practice field right now (besides Lamb), and you could see why the Cowboys went after him in the draft.
But before we talk about him, did everyone see the one-handed snag by WR TJ Vasher?! If not, watch Vasher do his best Odell-impersonation over CB Kelvin Joseph right there.
Jumping back to Tolbert, so far (from what I have seen), this guy can ball. Expected to compete with Washington for the WR2 slot, Tolbert has impressed coaches since OTAs, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him solidify himself as the team’s No.2 guy.
David Helman on Twitter: “I trust the back judge, but this looked like a touchdown for Jalen Tolbert from 30 yards away pic.twitter.com/VwdLAkOG2o / Twitter”
I trust the back judge, but this looked like a touchdown for Jalen Tolbert from 30 yards away pic.twitter.com/VwdLAkOG2o
Top Nugget from Tolbert:
While I would love to spoil you all with plays of Tolbert being a “dog” on the field to get you all excited about the season, here was my favorite nugget I found on Tolbert. According to Tolbert, in an interview on 105.4 The FAN, his idol was WR Julio Jones, who he will face in Week 1.
While they are two different players, if Tolbert can channel at least one ounce of Jones’ talent and train with him during the offseason in the future, the sky is the limit for this young man. (Way-too-early prediction: Tolbert finishes 2nd in receiving for the team at the end of the year.)
Jake Ferguson: The Future TE of the Dallas Cowboys.
Entering the NFL Draft, there was a lack of depth behind starting TE Dalton Schultz, and when the franchise pulled the trigger on Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson, the common theme around the pick was, “He’s a Schultz clone.”
While there is no Training Camp battle on who’s starting at TE this season, Ferguson has drawn praise since OTAs on his receiving abilities, and there could be a chance we see him have a quiet, productive first year as there will be opportunities for him to get on the field.
Top Nugget from Ferguson
As mentioned, Ferguson has been drawing praise for his receiving abilities, and you can see why with this one-handed catch he made on Friday. Expect Ferguson to see the field slowly to start the year, but when he’s getting those huge red zone targets for his size–well, he may be a sneaky fantasy pickup.
Patrik [No C] Walker on Twitter: “It feels like Jake Ferguson is improving daily, and I literally said “yum” aloud when he made this catch. Because yum. #Cowboys https://t.co/EGe9EV1QvW / Twitter”
It feels like Jake Ferguson is improving daily, and I literally said “yum” aloud when he made this catch. Because yum. #Cowboys https://t.co/EGe9EV1QvW
Matt Waletzko: The Towering Tackle.
One of my favorite picks in this year’s draft, I was hyped to see what North Dakota Tackle Matt Waletzko could bring to the team. While the 6’6 giant wasn’t likely to start, a developmental prospect like him was intriguing to me because you saw how big of a “mauler” he was in pass protection, but with his recent shoulder injury in Training Camp, we won’t see him on the field for a while.
Top Nugget From Waletzko:
Although we can’t see him, I still had to give you all a top nugget. I did a little deep diving over Waletzko on Twitter and seeing this photo comparison of him to rapper Lil Dicky made me laugh uncontrollably like a maniac at my local Starbucks.
Hopefully, Waletzko can work on dishing up some verses during his rehab for his shoulder.
Laurie Horesh on Twitter: “Now that @BobbyBeltTX brought it up, I can’t unsee it. Matt Waletzko vs Lil Dicky. pic.twitter.com/tMYOecLS46 / Twitter”
Now that @BobbyBeltTX brought it up, I can’t unsee it. Matt Waletzko vs Lil Dicky. pic.twitter.com/tMYOecLS46
DaRon Bland: A Dan Quinn Guy.
Although you could argue the starters were already set for the Cowboys at their cornerback positions, that didn’t stop the franchise from drafting Fresno State DaRon Bland. A “Dan Quinn Pick,” Bland was hyped over his athletic traits. While he has seen some run in camp, Bland has been making the most of his opportunities, and he could be a guy the franchise uses in rotation–but mostly on special teams.
Top Nugget from Bland:
As mentioned, Bland will likely be a guy the team trusts in case of an emergency and could be a big-time contributor down the road. But, Bland has been making his presence known, and you can tell in this video below:
Dallas Cowboys on Twitter: “We see you @DaRon_Bland ‼️#CowboysBackTogetherSaturday#CowboysCamp | @AmericanAir pic.twitter.com/v7n7p1daNO / Twitter”
We see you @DaRon_Bland ‼️#CowboysBackTogetherSaturday#CowboysCamp | @AmericanAir pic.twitter.com/v7n7p1daNO
Damone Clark: A future LB starter.
Entering this year’s draft, LSU LB Damone Clark was getting projected as a 2nd-3rd pick, but because of his medical exam that revealed he needed surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, he fell big-time.
While most fans wouldn’t love the sound of the franchise taking a risk on an injured player who won’t see the field for quite some time, Clark is another low-risk, high-reward guy the front office loves betting on, and he should pay off.
Top Nugget of Clark:
As I said, Clark should be a massive steal for the franchise. By far, this was my favorite nugget I found over Clark because you can see how productive he was, and the team needs high-quality players out there to pair with Parsons and Jabril Cox.
Be patient with Clark, Cowboy fans.
Omar N. on Twitter: “So happy that Damone Clark ended up a Draft Steal for the Cowboys. Adding him to the LB Room changes it even better. He had more serious production in college. https://t.co/MtpVdbsCRi / Twitter”
So happy that Damone Clark ended up a Draft Steal for the Cowboys. Adding him to the LB Room changes it even better. He had more serious production in college. https://t.co/MtpVdbsCRi
John Ridgeway: “The Vanilla Gorilla.”
If there was one thing that I hated when I watched last year’s team was the constant failure to stop the run and the lack of pressure that got generated from the interior defensive line. I admit the defense did have its shining moments, but it was a liability you saw in their playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
To help solve that issue, the Cowboys went after Arkansas DT John Ridgeway, and while I’m not claiming him as the savior, he sure has balled out, according to reports.
Patrik [No C] Walker on Twitter: “I promised I’d key in on John Ridgeway today at #Cowboys practice, and did, but didn’t post an update.Here it is:Consistently strong bull rush that collapsed the pocket and, nearly every time, put his blocker into the QBs personal space – eventually leading to uncalled holds. / Twitter”
I promised I’d key in on John Ridgeway today at #Cowboys practice, and did, but didn’t post an update.Here it is:Consistently strong bull rush that collapsed the pocket and, nearly every time, put his blocker into the QBs personal space – eventually leading to uncalled holds.
Top Nugget of Ridgeway:
While there haven’t been many updates over Ridgeway, I found a rep he had at the Senior Bowl, and boy, I’m excited about him. He may not get a heavy snap count off-the-bat, but if he can create some havoc and “break some necks” (like he said after getting drafted), I hope he adds some nastiness to the defensive line.
Devin Harper: A possible special teams ace.
The Cowboys double-dipped in the draft for linebackers late with the selection of Oklahoma State LB Devin Harper. Although “small” for his size to scouts, Harper’s film showed he was a productive player with blazing speed.
While he may not smell the field in the LB room right away, Harper has a chance to become a coveted special teams guy. Through research over the internet and on social media, Harper’s name was being talked about yet, but he’s bound to make some noise soon.
Top Nugget of Harper:
Although there wasn’t any recent news on him, I couldn’t leave you all hanging without a nugget. So without further ado, here is my favorite play of him:
DemBoyzNews on Twitter: “My favorite play from #Cowboys 193rd pick Devin Harper. Misses the sack, stands back up and chases the QB down for a 4th down stop to end the game. pic.twitter.com/3MzYdeyYHc / Twitter”
My favorite play from #Cowboys 193rd pick Devin Harper. Misses the sack, stands back up and chases the QB down for a 4th down stop to end the game. pic.twitter.com/3MzYdeyYHc