3 early surprise standouts from Cowboys mandatory minicamp

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The Dallas Cowboys kicked off mandatory minicamp Tuesday. The team had scheduled to run through some 11-on-11 drills, but Mike McCarthy told the media that they're keeping it at 7-on-7s to avoid getting fined after the head coach was penalized the last two years for conducting practices that were deemed too physical.

There isn't much of a difference between OTAs and minicamp in terms of intensity. The main contrast is camp is mandatory, while OTAs are voluntary.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Tuesday's practice is that Tyron Smith was back working at left tackle -- his natural position -- with Tyler Smith at left guard. At OTAs, the elder Smith worked at right tackle, while the younger Smith manned left tackle.

There will be more takeaways in the coming days to analyze. For now, though, let's underline some surprise early standouts from minicamp.

3. Tristan Vizcaino, K

The Cowboys' 2023 starting kicker (likely) isn't currently on the roster, but Vizcaino has done everything possible to maintain at least a spot on the practice squad with his performance at OTAs and minicamp.

Who knows? If he keeps kicking at his current efficiency, Dallas might give him a real look for the starting gig.

After a strong showing at OTAs, Vizcaino made all nine of his field goals Tuesday, including a long of 55 yards. It's worth noting Vizcaino is kicking without the interference of an offensive line or pass rush, but he's certainly faces a semblance of pressure each time he lines up for a kick.

It's not a big sample size by any stretch, but Vizcaino hasn't missed more than two field goals in any practice. He's been wonky from distance (50 yards or longer), but fans have to appreciate how accurate he's been early on.

Again, it's unlikely Vizcaino wins the starting job, but this offseason has proven he'll provide strong competition for whomever the Cowboys identify as their Brett Maher replacement.