The 2012 NFL draft is in the books and the Dallas Cowboys are moving to the next stage of the off season schedule. Recently drafted rookies are being introduced to the staff and members of the media at Valley Ranch and Jerry Jones and company are gearing up for the upcoming weekend’s three day rookie mini-camp that begins on Friday.
The overall operation is to process recently drafted rookies and familiarize the newest Cowboys with the surroundings and structure of their new lives in the NFL. Playbooks will be distributed, strength and conditioning coaches will begin setting forth workout regimens for the future pro players and introductions to both offensive and defensive schemes will begin to manifest. Players will be ran through a battery of both physical drills and mental scenarios.
Along with the Cowboys recent draftees, Dallas will be signing twenty or so undrafted free agents. Expected are about 43 players for this week’s three-day rookie mini-camp. Six first-year players who spent last season on the practice squad and about 10 players on a tryout basis only will also be in attendance at this weekends mini-camp.
The tryout invitees are those players not signed to undrafted free agent contracts but receive an invite to Valley Ranch strictly for the purpose of working out for the Cowboys.
Other than the signed undrafted rookie free agents the players invited strictly for tryout or workout purposes are not under contract and are basically on a tryout “only” basis with the Dallas Cowboys. Many of the mini-camp participants that arrive at Valley Ranch on a short term tryout basis may end up being nothing more than camp bodies with hopes of catching the eye of someone who believes they can contribute to the team at some point in the future.
However all signed undrafted free agents have inked three year deals which is the contract the player will perform under for the life of its term assuming the player makes the final 53 man roster or practice squad.
The players will not be in pads for this weekends rookie mini-camp but they will actually all get the chance to don the ever sacred silver and blue Cowboys helmet. For many of the tryout invitees this weekend could be the only time the player has a oppotunity to wear the NFL helmet that so many have grown up being childhood fans of. Some will go onto to other NFL mini camps as tryout invitees also but one would have to imagine this weekends camp holds a special meaning with many of the invitees.
Moving on, one particular point of interest is that, with Anthony Spencer who looks to only be a Cowboy for the 2012 season and not likely to be offered a long term deal, the team chose not to address the outside linebacker spot other than drafting Wake Forest linebacker Kyle Wilber. The only other attention that was given to the outside linebacker spot, by the Dallas Cowboys, was the signing of undrafted free agent from DE Adrian Hamilton from Prairie View A&M. Per Hamilton’s agent, Greg Linton, the Cowboys plan to use the 6’3″ 250 pound all time Southwestern Athletic Conference career sacks leader at the outside linebacker spot.
Where recent Cowboys draft pick Kyle Wilbur will be asked to play in space and play in zone coverage while being responsible for the running back coming out of the backfield. Sealing the edge against the run much like current outside linebacker Anthony Spencer will also be part of Wilber’s defensive assignements. Wilbur could actually end up being a better fit inside and could eventually find himself moved to inside linebacker at the next level.
Adrian Hamilton on the other hand will likely have the ears pinned back and asked to go get the quarterback. Lets not forget Hamilton’s propensity for blocking kicks on special teams. Other notable undrafted free agent signings by the Dallas Cowboys are as follows:
- OT Taylor Dever, Notre Dame
- TE George Bryan, N.C. State
- CB Isaac Madison, Arkansas
- TE Andrew Szcrerba, Penn State
- RB Darrell Scott, South Florida
- RB Lance Dunbar, North Texas
- G/T Ronald Leary, Memphis
- OT Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State
- CB Troy Woolfork, Michigan
- RB Bryce Beal, Houston
- QB Nathan Dick, Central Arkansas
- WR McKay Jacobson, BYU
- WR, Cole Beasley, SMU
- WR Tim Benford, Tennessee Tech
- WR Donavon Kemp, UTEP
- WR Saalim Hakim, Tarleton St.
- OT Jeff Adams, Columbia
- OT Tyrone Novikoff, Idaho
- DE Aston Whiteside, Abilene-Christian
- S Eddie Whitley, Virginia Tech
- CB Lionel Smith, Texas A&M
- LS Charley Hughlett, UCF
- DE/OLB Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M
While the list of undrafted free agents is definitive at this point and close to being a complete list. The list of tryout invitees hasn’t been confirmed yet but a couple names at this point are former Vanberbilt QB, Larry Smith, North Texas TE, Jamize Olawale and Midwestern State WR, David Little.
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