FRISCO - Rookie minicamp is set to begin this Friday for the Dallas Cowboys, complete with media access in the locker room on both Friday and Saturday - and yes, CowboysSI.com will be inside The Star, as always.
And so will a handful of Cowboys "veterans'' who will be part of the rookie group debut ... with the young vets' participation a frank sign of where they are in their careers.
All eyes on the top rookies from the recent NFL Draft? Of course. First-round offensive lineman Tyler Smith, second-round defensive end Sam Williams and third-round receiver Jalen Tolbert are already being penciled in as early-season contributors for the Cowboys, who are trying to reload their roster after a 12-5 season that ended with an early ouster from the 2021 NFL playoffs.
But in addition to the interest in seeing and talking to this year’s draft class, and in seeing and talking to the collection of intriguing undrafted free agents, there will be at least seven other guys in attendance who already know their way around The Star or the NFL.
Among the "veterans" expected to be on hand for the Cowboys' rookie minicamp this week will be:
O-lineman Isaac Alarcon
Safety Tyler Coyle
D-lineman Austin Faoliu
O-lineman Braylon Jones
Kicker Chris Naggar
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Williams wants "opportunities" and the Cowboys offense could be in a position to provide him with some.
Receiver Brandon Smith
Receiver T.J. Vasher
There are those inside the building who still think Vasher, the tall Texas Tech product, can play in the NFL. Vasher, who grew up in Wichita Falls, is 6-6, 218 and has a 84-inch wingspan - the longest out of any wide receiver or tight end in the 2021 class. He went undrafted last year; his Red Raiders stats were not consistently great. But he stands out, in at least one way, on the practice field due to his size.
Also, Coyle has already proven that he might be a special-teams helper. And Naggar, the DFW native who kicked at Texas and at SMU, has a chance to be involved in the competition for a real job.
NFL teams frequently use their rookie minicamp as a sort of "tryout'' for young vets, or, as in the case here, as a chance for guys with promise to accelerate their learning curve. In that sense, the "rookie minicamp'' isn't just for rookies.
Following these sessions, the Cowboys’ OTAs will take place May 24-25, June 1-2, June 6-7, and June 9-10. Mandatory minicamp for veterans will be held June 14-16, with training camp in Oxnard to begin in late July.
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