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Cheap Randall Cobb Jersey

Cowboys receiver Randall Cobb joined the Dennis and Cowlishaw show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 [KESN-FM] recently to talk about all things regarding the team. Here are some of the highlights.

On developing chemistry with Dak Prescott

Cobb: “Right now, the biggest thing is me learning the offense and trying to pick up on everything as fast as I can and communicating with [Dak Prescott] through our routes and just get on the same page as him and be on that chemistry. That takes time and I’m just trying to do it as fast as I can.

“What I love about him is his competitive nature. He’s definitely a competitor the way he comes out here and competes in practice every day. He’s in tune with the offense, he knows exactly what he wants to get to, he knows the checks that he needs to make. The protection adjustments, he does a great job with that and just making sure that we’re on page with whatever check he makes at receiver. He does a great job signaling that to us and he’s made some great throws and me and him are continuing to build our chemistry.”

On if he compares Dak Prescott to Aaron Rodgers

Cobb: “No. That’s not what I do. There’s different types of players and different things that people do. It’s like comparing receivers. You can look at the stats all you want, but the way they run the routes are differently. I’m just trying to get on page with him and continue to grow.”

On why he comes to Dallas with a chip on his shoulder

Cobb: “I’ve had a chip on my shoulder since I was a kid. That don’t change because I’m in the pros now, that don’t change because I’m on a different team. Obviously, circumstances change. This is a business, this is part of it. Things happen, you end up other places, but I’m excited for this opportunity and there’s a reason they tell you to not read the comments on Twitter and read the comments on social media, but I think there’s a lot of people out there that doubt me and I’m cool with that. I’m fine with that.

RELATED: Randall Cobb’s QB days are helping him learn the Cowboys’ offense as he enters year with a ‘chip’ on his shoulder

“I’ve been doubted my whole life, from high school to college to now so I’m fine with stepping up to the plate and going to bat and doing everything I can to prove what I want to prove to myself and to know that I can do what I want to do.”

On his statistical decline in recent years

Cobb: “I only played in nine games last year so obviously my numbers aren’t going to be comparable to years before. I was used a little bit differently than I had been early in my career. It’s a lot of things that you can factor in, but at the end of the day, the only thing you can look at are the numbers and the numbers aren’t what I would like to see and the numbers aren’t comparable to somebody you would consider a top slot receiver in the league or top whatever in the league. I’m excited to be here and hopefully be able to play 16 games and prove myself.”

On his impressions of Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator

Cobb: “I’m excited to work with Kellen, I’m excited to learn from him. I think that he is showing so far here in our OTAs that he’s a multiple-formation guy and he likes to spread the ball around and get it to his playmakers and that’s one thing we have a lot of. Lots of playmakers, a lot of guys that can make a play downfield and also a couple of running backs in the backfield that can make big runs.

On his role with the Cowboys

Cobb: “You can label me whatever you want, put me in whatever box you want, but at the end of the day I’m a football player and I’m here to make plays. Whatever opportunities I get, I’m going to try and be the best I can and do everything I can to help this team out.”

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Cheap Robert Quinn Jersey

(Editor’s Note: With training camp just around the corner, let’s get to know 30 Cowboys players – from rookies to established veterans – who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we begin the series with defensive end Robert Quinn.)

How He Got Here: This is Quinn’s third NFL team since 2018, traded each of the last two offseasons due in large part to scheme fit. A Pro Bowl-caliber defensive end with the Rams from 2011-17, Quinn was traded to the Dolphins last spring after Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips converted him to outside linebacker in his 3-4 system. Quinn posted 6.5 sacks in Miami last season, but once again, an expected scheme change this year under new Dolphins head coach Brian Flores spurred trade talks. The Dolphins gave Quinn permission to speak with interested teams, and in March the Cowboys traded a 2020 sixth-round pick for the 29-year-old pass rusher. Now he’s back in a setting where he’s most comfortable: rushing with his hand on the ground in a 4-3 system.

Bet You Didn’t Know: Quinn is one of only 19 players in NFL history to record at least 19.0 sacks in a single season since the league made sacks an official statistic in 1982. He posted 19.0 in 2013, his third season with the Rams, and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

Quotable: “I’m just really impressed with his work habits here. He’s a real pro, comes to work here every day: effort, details, doesn’t say much. And I’m telling you what, he’s going to be a good run defender just like D-Law (DeMarcus Lawrence). We’ve got lizards over there — racing lizards who play the run.” -Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli

Bryan Broaddus’ Take: I was excited that the front office took the opportunity to make this trade with the Dolphins for Quinn. It’s never a bad situation to target teams with a new general manager and head coach. Those teams tend to give away talented players, and in this case I believe that the Dolphins have done just that. The Cowboys didn’t have to give much in return and Quinn will be a perfect fit for a scheme that will take full advantage of his ability to attack the pocket. I am expecting a big year from him.
Role/Roster Chances: As Coach Marinelli said, Quinn is going to be a versatile lineman in the Cowboys’ defensive front. He worked at first-team defensive end throughout organized team activities and minicamp and figures to get extensive snaps in the right end rotation once Lawrence returns from offseason shoulder surgery (the Cowboys are optimistic he’ll be ready for the season opener). Adding Quinn is a significant addition in the wake of Randy Gregory’s indefinite NFL suspension; Gregory ranked second on the team with six sacks in his return to the roster last season. But even if Gregory becomes eligible to play again this year, the Cowboys now have pass rushers with Pro Bowl credentials at each edge.

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Cheap Shakir Soto Jersey

Former Pitt defensive lineman Shakir Soto signed with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of The 6’3”, 300-pound tackle most recently played for the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football but was displaced by the league’s abrupt closure.

During his time in the AAF, Soto stood out as a potential star in the making, as he accounted for 13 tackles, including four sacks and five tackles for losses, as well as six quarterback hits. As a result of his standout play, he was named to the Pro Football Focus AAF Team of the Week the same day the league folded.

Players were granted authorization to sign with NFL teams by the AAF last Thursday, and since then, more than two dozen have signed contracts and joined NFL teams.

Soto previously signed with the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders prior to his stint in the AAF. The Broncos signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2017, but he was cut during the preseason. The Raiders signed him to their practice squad later that year, but the team waived him in 2018.

With the Cowboys, Soto will look to build on his success with the Fleet and earn himself a roster spot by impressing the staff during organized team activities. The Cowboys’ OTAs get underway on May 21.

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Cheap Mike Jackson Sr. Jersey

Dallas Cowboys: CB Mike Jackson Sr.
9 OF 32

Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press
Dallas Cowboys DBs coach Kris Richard has long favored size in the secondary. Given that, it wasn’t surprising that the team used a fifth-round pick on Miami’s Mike Jackson Sr., a 6’1″, 210-pounder who head coach Jason Garrett raved about while speaking to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

“He certainly has all of the physical tools,” Garrett said. “He’s big, long, fast, physical, all the things we like in our guys. He’s best in press [coverage]. You’re talking about drafting a guy in the fifth round at a premium position with all the traits you’re looking for. Again, we liked him a lot. Strongly endorsed by the people in Miami on the kind of guy he is.

“All those things are very favorable.”

The Cowboys have several young talents in the secondary, but Jackson has the ability to at the very least earn some work in the dime, if not push third-year pro Chidobe Awuzie for the right to start opposite Byron Jones.


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There is something noticeably different about Cowboys QB Dak Prescott this off-season – Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
Can the Cowboys franchise quarterback make a big leap in year four?

Heading into his fourth year, it is his place, his team, and his locker room more than ever.

And it has little to do with the fact that he and the Cowboys are in deep negotiations on a long-term contract extension that will pay him at least $30 million annually.

That’s simply a byproduct of the work, growth, leadership, and production that Prescott has put over the last three years since joining the team as a throw-in fourth-round pick in 2016 that has him feeling comfortable, relaxed and more emboldened than ever.

It is showing on the field as Prescott has been sharp, decisive and accurate during OTA practices, which he credits to a light coming on during last season’s run to the playoffs that has continued to shine in the offseason, almost like a Rubik’s cube opening up for him.

Dallas Cowboys: Undrafted rookie linebacker flashes early at OTAs – Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
It may not be Leighton Vander Esch, but this 2019 rookie sure is impressing early in OTA’s.

In this year’s draft, the Cowboys didn’t select a single linebacker with their eight total picks. Instead, the team brought in a trio of undrafted rookie free agents including Michigan State’s Andrew Dowell, Northwestern’s Nate Hall, and Nebraska’s Luke Gifford. The latter has been earmarked by’s Bryan Broaddus as his kiss of death player to watch through OTAs.

Here’s what Broaddus had to say about the undrafted rookie linebacker’s play so far.

” … keep an eye on Luke Gifford – the linebacker out of Nebraska … there is something about his game that translates to this scheme … It appears the defensive staff is asking him to play more inside, which has allowed his instincts to shine. Gifford has some slippery traits to him. He has a feel for how to play through gaps and avoid blocks.”

Cowboys impressed with rookie who told team to ‘come get me’ – Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
More rookies impressing in OTA’s! This one in the secondary.

You can count head coach Jason Garrett in as a passenger on the [Michael] Jackson train.

”He certainly has all of the physical tools,” he said, via The Dallas Morning News. “He’s big, long, fast, physical — all the things we like in our guys. He’s best in press [coverage], and you’re talking about drafting a guy in the fifth round at a premium position with all the traits you’re looking for. Again, we liked him a lot.

”Strongly endorsed by the people in Miami on the kind of guy he is. All those things are very favorable.”

For his part, Jackson could not have been more vehement ahead of the draft regarding where he wanted to play. Whereas other prospects are keyed in on where they’re selected, for a variety of reasons, the former Miami standout had a unique take on it all. It’s likely this rare type of maturity that nudged the Cowboys’ over the line when considering who to select with the 158th-overall pick.

Next week will be a final check-in for Travis Frederick on his Guillain-Barré Syndrome – Dave Halprin, Blogging the Boys
Travis Frederick has made great strides to get back on the field, but there’s one more appointment to be 100% sure.

Travis Fredrick has, by all accounts, made great strides in his recovery from Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The disease robbed the All-Pro center of his 2018 season, and threatened to do more than that but it was caught early giving Fredrick a much better chance at a full recovery. Next week, he’ll get what is described as a final check-in to determine if everything is good to go.

He has an appointment next week for a “sort of final check-in to make sure there’s no permanent damage there.” Doctors will put Frederick through a battery of tests to confirm he is good to go.

While he will have to wait until then to be sure, Frederick thinks he’s well on his way to recovery and will be ready for 2019.

“I’m just glad to be back and be able to write the next chapter in this story,” Frederick said Wednesday.

Spagnola: This Team Sure Is Picking Up Speed – Mickey Spagnola,
The Cowboys have finally invested in some burners on both sides of the football.

We know about the linebackers, right – Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch can really run, and even at age 33 in two months Sean Lee is no slouch.

Same in the secondary with Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath and now adding corners Mike Jackson and Chris Westry and surprisingly quick for a safety Donovan Wilson.

But up front, where defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli values speed, man oh man. We know about the quickness of DeMarcus Lawrence, Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, Dorance Armstrong and maybe Taco Charlton if he can stay healthy. But the Cowboys have added to that group Robert Quinn, Trysten Hill, Kerry Hyder, Jalen Jelks, Joe Jackson and depending on what the commissioner thinks, maybe even the indefinitely-suspended Randy Gregory if he returns.

An Ezekiel Elliott suspension feels unlikely, but his off-field mishaps continue to be problematic – Tim Colishaw, Sports Day
It’s hard not to agree with this…

It’s always dangerous to prowl around inside the head of Goodell in search of a future suspension or penalty. But with no arrest and about the most minimal violence one is likely to find in one of these incidents, Zeke didn’t do anything other than act like an entitled idiot.

That’s not a first for him or anything close to a first, frankly, but it’s also not grounds for suspension.

It does, as I said, represent a problem, however.

On the one hand, Elliott shows no recognition that his public behavior will be recorded and that he will be held accountable. That may not seem fair — most of us go through our lives without our worst moments being recorded on iPhones — but it’s the game modern athletes and celebrities are forced to play. It’s also not that hard of a game to play. When your cap hit is $7.9 million and you’re 24 years old, you ought to be able to figure it out, even though Zeke clearly hasn’t.

Cowboys’ Connor Williams Feeds Homeless in Dallas – NBC 5 Sports
Connor Williams is ready for year two, but first he’s taking care of some people in need off the field.

Cowboys’ offensive lineman Connor Williams fed the homeless in Dallas on Friday.

”Most of us are very fortunate, we don’t even realize that we know where our next meal is coming from and most of these people don’t,” Williams said.

He’s talking about the people at the Second Chance Cafe inside The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center. It’s a place where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served 365 days a year thanks to the facility’s partner agency — The Stewpot.

”When a celebrity like Connor Williams comes,” executive director Brenda Snitzer said. “It just really touches them because it makes it real that there are other people out in the community that want to come and give back and let them know that they care and hope they’ll get some help and get off the streets.”

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We are almost to the long quiet stretch between the end of the Dallas Cowboys minicamp and the opening of their training camp in Oxnard. For some diehard fans, camp is when football really starts. This year, we are all anxious to get a real look at the beginning of the Kellen Moore offense, but we may not get a really clear look at how it actually will go until the games start to count. The real function of camp is to get from 90 players down to the 53-man roster for the season. And this year, that looks to be a very exciting process for the Cowboys.

There are several factors that enter into it. The change at offensive coordinator is one, as is this being a contract year for head coach Jason Garrett. But the biggest and best thing is that, as far as just about anyone can tell after a couple of weeks of practices in helmets and shorts, this is one of the deepest 90-man groups for Dallas in a long time. There have been years in the past when the struggle was to find 53 legitimate NFL talents for the season. Now, the problem is going to be paring down the current group and hopefully not losing too many good players. Obviously, the latter is a much more preferable situation than the former.

This may even challenge some of the approaches the Cowboys usually take. In particular, it may force them to back off on their preference for retaining veterans and their own former draft picks over rookies, especially UDFAs. Even when you rule out those who will obviously have a roster spot if healthy, there seem to be a large number of spots where the team could turn to new, young candidates.

Although it is a bit arbitrary, this also will count the first three draft picks taken as locks on the roster. The staff basically is not going to give up on any player taken in the fourth round or earlier unless something extraordinarily bad happens, either on the field or off. But from the fifth round on, there is always a chance the team will just move on, and it increases the later the player was picked.

There is also going to be churn at some point, and that will likely include a handful before camp even starts. Some of the names here will therefore see their chances nipped in the bud. And injuries are always a threat and could take some off the table, or open up more holes to fill. We don’t know who those might affect, so we have to work with the roster as it now stands.
So with those ground rules in place, here are the coming camp battles where veteran players will have to stave off a challenging rookie – and in some cases, we are talking more than one on each side of that equation. (This also is not going to get into situations where the battles are strictly between players who were on the roster last year, like at backup quarterback.)

Running back: Darius Jackson vs Mike Weber
This may be the most even competition going into camp as the two strive to be the third RB on the roster. There is a chance the team could go deep and carry both, but given the need for roster spots at other positions, it is hard to see the Cowboys carrying four running backs plus a fullback. Jackson failed to impress in his limited chances last year, but a strong showing in camp and preseason could move him back into the coaches’ good graces. He is also aided by the fact that Weber could probably make it through waivers to the practice squad, which means in a dead heat, Jackson might get the nod. Weber still has a great opportunity to make a convincing case for his retention. And they both should get plenty of snaps in preseason, because Ezekiel Elliott is going to be sitting on the sidelines for almost all of those reps, swathed in bubble wrap. Tony Pollard is envisioned to have a more expansive role, so while he may get some reps in a traditional RB function, most of those will probably go to Jackson and Weber.

Offensive tackle: Cameron Fleming and Jake Campos vs. Mitch Hyatt, Brandon Knight, and Derrick Puni
This is one of the fun ones to consider, because all of the rookies here are UDFAs. Some may consider Fleming one of the locks to make the roster, but while he would be very hard to beat out, the team is reportedly very high on Hyatt and Knight. Fleming is likely going to be allowed to go into free agency after this year, so the team might want to bet on the future by making sure they have Fleming’s replacement as swing tackle in place. They could try to get Hyatt or Knight, or both, to the PS, but that is where the quandary comes in. If they look good in preseason, an OT-hungry team may come poaching. The team also has some insurance in Connor Williams and Connor McGovern, with the drafting of the latter making the idea of using the former at tackle in an emergency more viable.

No offense, but Campos has little chance to make it out of camp. Puni is not talked about in the same way as the other two UDFAs, so his odds don’t look good, either.

Interior OL: Xavier S’ua Filo, Adam Redmond, and Cody Wichmann vs Larry Allen, Jr.
To be honest, all four of these players may not make it onto the 53-man roster, since Joe Looney and McGovern are not going anywhere, and the team may just not have enough roster spots to carry three backup IOL. But if there is a spot, it is hard not to root for the son of a true Cowboys legend to show that genetics matter.

Defensive end: Taco Charlton, Dorance Armstrong, and Soto Shakir vs Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks
Shakir looks like the odd man out right off the bat, although you never can tell what will happen. That leaves an interesting battle, because all four of the players who are likely battling for two spots are draft picks. Charlton and Armstrong represent more draft capital (a lot in Charlton’s case, obviously), but the fact Jackson and Jelks were also worth a draft spot may make the idea of moving on from one of the vets a bit more palatable. Jelks in particular has gotten some good reviews in OTAs, for what that is worth. The team is seen by many as going heavy on DL this season, especially in light of how that unit looked worn down by the latter part of 2018, but it still seems all but impossible for all four of the main contenders to make the 53. And if Randy Gregory should get reinstated (an admittedly rather big if), someone likely gets bumped to open his slot up. We know DeMarcus Lawrence will probably sit out most or all of camp and preseason while he recuperates from surgery. Charlton is recovering from two procedures himself, and that means there is the opportunity to game the system take a cautious approach by putting him on PUP and possibly IR. That would certainly give Armstrong, Jackson, and Jelks a lot of opportunities to prove what they can do.
One interesting twist to all this is how free agent Kerry Hyder will be used. There is a school of thought that he might be better as an end than in the interior of the line, so that is something that could complicate things further.

In any case, look for some strong efforts by those playing in preseason to stake a claim.

Defensive tackle: Christian Covington, Kerry Hyder, and Daniel Ross vs Ricky Walker and Daniel Wise
First off, let me admit there is a bit of a disconnect somewhere, as all but Ross are listed on the roster as defensive ends. But that gives a very unbalanced distribution on the 90-man roster of 11 DEs, four DTs, and Tyrone Crawford as a utility DL. Walker and Wise were both DTs in college, while Covington and Hyder were playing that position with their last teams. Hyder may belong with the DEs, as mentioned above, but there is reason to believe the rest are primarily competing for a spot in the interior of the line, with some flexibility to move outside at times.

In recent seasons, we have seen Dallas quite willing to cut ties with free agents, and Covington and Hyder were signed to contracts that have small dead money figures if they were released. This is another place where the competition should be fierce and meaningful throughout preseason.

Linebackers: Chris Covington vs Andrew Dowell, Luke Gifford, Nate Hall, and Justin Phillips
The Cowboys broke a bit with recent history by not drafting any linebackers – but they must see a need when they signed four as UDFAs. That need is on special teams. With only six who carried over from last season, they may want to add one for the 53 because linebackers are so heavily used on STs. That does not mean Covington is safe at all, but there is certainly going to be a lot of competition between the rookies. And since the team has no reason to risk the starters or proven backups, look for them to get many, many reps in both camp practices and preseason games.

Cornerbacks: Jourdan Lewis, Treston DeCoud, C.J. Goodwin, and Donovan Olumba vs Mike Jackson and Chris Westry
Lewis is a bit of a hard call to be included, but he is the one CB that doesn’t exactly fit the Kris Richard model. However, he probably has a leg up on the rest. Jackson is also going to get every chance to prove himself. Westry is a bit of a freak at 6-4, but it will be interesting to see what Richard can do with him. The other returnees are on some very thin ice. Who makes the team will also be affected by how many CBs the Cowboys decide to carry. They could go four, five, or six depending on how many spots they need at the other defensive positions.

Safety: George Iloka, Kavon Frazier, Kyle Queiro, Jamiell Showers, and Darian Thompson vs Donovan Wilson
Again, it may be a bit pessimistic to include Iloka and Frazier in this group, but the team wants to upgrade here, despite only using a sixth-round pick on Wilson. They will be looking for the best options, no matter who it is. Numbers are important here, as the team could carry four or five into the season. Still Queiro, Showers, and Thompson all are at great risk of not making the team in any case, since the other three would be the expected names if the team carries five safeties.

Wide receiver: Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, Reggie Davis, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, Devin Smith, and Cedrick Wilson vs Jalen Guyton and Jon’Vea Johnson
If this seems a bit out of order, it is for a reason. I saved what I see the as best for last, and the fight to make the roster at WR is going to be a no-holds-barred cage match. Austin, Hurns, and Wilson are coming back from injuries last season, although Austin did get back on the field at the end of the year. However, Austin also faces a challenge from Pollard, who may be able to do everything Austin was signed to do and maybe better. If you want a key attribute likely to come into play, it is speed. And that is why the two UDFA rookies are already generating some (possibly overstated) excitement. They can absolutely fly, and could become a factor in the Moore-run offense. Smith also has a lot of speed, and if he can finally overcome the injury bug that has plagued his career, he might break through.

That puts Brown at some risk, and Lenoir has not shown much in his all-around game so far. But route-running and chemistry with Dak Prescott also come into play, so there are many ways this battle could go. The team has at least two and possibly three or even four spots for this group to contend for. There may be more than one way for these contenders to fight their way onto the roster.

This is one take on the most interesting camp battles to watch – and as you can see, it covers all but the QB, TE, and specialists positions. Kicker may be one that could become interesting between now and the start of the season, as punter Kasey Redfern has been given some opportunities to kick field goals – and we all remember what happened to one Dan Bailey last year. The team still has plenty of time to bring another leg into camp as well.

It looks to be a very fascinating camp coming, although there are more names listed here that won’t make the 53 than will. Still, we will almost certainly see some of these young players supplant some veterans on the team.

Camp is coming, and the final battles will follow.

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Can an undrafted rookie out of Nebraska crack the Dallas Cowboys final-53 man roster at one of it’s most stacked positions?
In the recent past, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line has been considered the overall best positional group on the entire team. And with three perennial Pro Bowlers on their depth chart, it’s easy to see why.

But very quickly, the Cowboys linebacker corps is starting to rival their offensive line. This upcoming season, Dallas is expected to field the most talented group of linebackers in the NFL. With a projected starting lineup that includes two-time Pro Bowler Sean Lee, former second-rounder Jaylon Smith and one of last year’s top rookies, Leighton Vander Esch, there simply is no other defense in the entire league that can match that talented trio.

Jets throw shade at PFF over Jamal Adams, preseason

Beyond the star-studded starters, the Cowboys linebacker corps features some quality depth as well. Veteran Joe Thomas returns for another season in Dallas after impressing early last year. Justin March-Lillard is also back, but his impact has mainly been on special teams so far. Kyle Queiro is a converted safety that is a name to watch this summer. Finally, Chris Covington was a sixth-round selection last year whom the Cowboys certainly hope can take another step in his development this offseason.

In this year’s draft, the Cowboys didn’t select a single linebacker with their eight total picks. Instead, the team brought in a trio of undrafted rookie free agents including Michigan State’s Andrew Dowell, Northwestern’s Nate Hall, and Nebraska’s Luke Gifford. The latter has been earmarked by’s Bryan Broaddus as his kiss of death player to watch through OTAs.

Here’s what Broaddus had to say about the undrafted rookie linebacker’s play so far.

” … keep an eye on Luke Gifford – the linebacker out of Nebraska … there is something about his game that translates to this scheme … It appears the defensive staff is asking him to play more inside, which has allowed his instincts to shine. Gifford has some slippery traits to him. He has a feel for how to play through gaps and avoid blocks.”
Hip injuries really impacted Gifford’s college career. But the former team captain has the intangibles, motor, and leadership qualities that the Cowboys covet. Gifford posted a solid senior season for the Cornhuskers, recording 62 stops, a team-high 13 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks according to

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NEXT: Top 10 Undrafted Free Agents in Dallas Cowboys History
In order to crack one of the most talented positional groups on the Dallas Cowboys roster, Luke Gifford will likely have to earn his bones as a special teams ace. But the fact Gifford is impressing this early into OTAs is a positive sign. But can the rookie continue to impress into training camp and the preseason? It’s worth watching.


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FRISCO, Texas — Jon’Vea Johnson has been in Dallas for only a short time, but already the former University of Toledo receiver has made a strong first impression.

None bigger than on his new receivers coach, Sanjay Lal.

“Playmaking ability, true speed,” Lal said. “He’s unaffected by changes in the route stem, so the defense, he just runs through it like you’re supposed to. Bottom line is he’s making plays.”

And Lal, in his second season with the Cowboys after previously holding similar roles with the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Indianapolis Colts, also sees Johnson distancing himself from other rookies in one major way.
Toledo football coach Jason Candle
Brian Buckey
Toledo football staying local with 2020 class
“It’s surprised me that he’s translating it,” Lal said. “Everything we saw on tape, he’s doing here, which is a surprise because usually rookies don’t do it right away. So he’s doing it much sooner than I would have expected.”


Johnson went undrafted in April. But he has earned high marks for his work ethic through rookie minicamp, organized team activities, and the current mandatory minicamp, the last on-field workouts before a small break before the start of training camp in Oxnard, Calif., in late July.

But the former Rockets receiver, who earned third-team All-Mid-American Conference honors as a senior, feels his success also is because he is comfortable in his new surroundings.

“It’s been a really good experience,” Johnson said. “I got a chance to come here for a pre-draft visit, so I got a real good feel for the staff, the facility, and just the city. I trained out here pre-draft for three months. I was already accustomed to the whole area and the organization, so the experience was exactly what I thought it would be just because I’d been out here so much. Really enjoying it.”

That familiarity also extends to his coaches, especially Lal, with whom he has developed great rapport quickly.

“When I came down here on the pre-draft visit, he really was a stickler for perfection as a route runner, as a total receiver. I kind of like that about him,” Johnson said. “I was telling him how I was being coached in Toledo, and it was pretty similar to how he coaches. I feel like the way he coaches is going to correlate to me playing the best I can play. When I finally made a decision [about where to sign], it was pretty easy, because I love the way that he coaches, and I just love the ballclub, how they operate, and do things around here.”
Detroit Lions tight end Michael Roberts was traded to the New England Patriots on June 13, 2019.
The Blade
Lions trade Toledo alum Roberts to Patriots
Johnson also has been learning all he can from veteran teammates like Tavon Austin, Randall Cobb, and Amari Cooper.

Cobb and Cooper have four Pro Bowl appearances between them, making them a great resource for young pass catchers like Johnson to watch and ask for advice.

“These guys have been really influential,” Johnson said. “I’ve been watching Randall Cobb since high school. Tavon [Austin] I’ve been watching since high school. It’s just been a pleasure to be around them. I get a lot of feedback from Amari and Tavon. I’m just soaking it all in.”

Like most rookies, Johnson has been doing his best impression of a sponge as he attempts to absorb the multitude of new information being thrown at him, learning all he can from watching veteran teammates and asking plenty of questions.

One thing he’s avoided thus far is rookie rites of passage, but he knows if those are to come, like singing in front of the entire team or his position group during a meeting, it will come at training camp.

Besides the obvious difference of the NFL being a quicker game than college, he’s also noticed one major difference between life in the pros and that of a student-athlete at Toledo.

“There’s a lot more leisure time,” he said. “Everything is on schedule in college, and you got be here and you got to be there. But now it’s like you’re really grown. For example, in college in the weight room, you had to wear a specific shirt and specific shorts. Now, it’s like you’re a pro. You can do whatever you want as long as you do it. You’re in charge of everything. Everything you put in, you’re going to get out. It’s just going to be you in control of that.”

Something else Johnson has been aware of every day he’s been with the Cowboys is he continues to represent Toledo football each time he steps on the practice field or in the weight room.

Considering how much he enjoyed his time with the Rockets, representing Toledo is another responsibility he doesn’t brush aside.

“I thought it was pretty fun. I had a great time,” Johnson said. “It started out slow, but once I got in the groove of things it picked up for me really fast. The coaching staff, the teammates, the culture of winning, I felt like that was the best part about being a Rocket, was winning seven, nine, 10 games a season and going to a bowl game.

“I have friends that play ball, and they’re on losing squads, like 0-12, 1-11, and they’re like how trash it is to be there. I’m winning eight, nine, 10 games a season, so I just felt like that was the best situation for me coming out of high school. I loved every second of it.”

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FRISCO, Texas – Just like that, we’re wrapping up.

The Cowboys concluded minicamp on Thursday, going through one final practice before they take some time off. Here are my notes from Ford Center here at The Star, where we got our last look at this Cowboys team before we head off to training camp.

I’ve been super critical of the backup quarterback play during these practices, but I have to give credit when things turn around. Cooper Rush couldn’t have thrown a better pass than the one he let fly to Jon’Vea Johnson along the right sideline for 52 yards. C.J. Goodwin tried to put his right hand up to defend, but there was no chance. The ball was beyond his reach and right into the waiting hands of Johnson, who never broke stride on the reception.
Really nice job by Jeff Heath of staying off Jason Witten in the corner of the end zone on a pass from Dak Prescott. Heath could have very easily become tangled up with Witten, resulting in both crashing to the ground. Prescott put the ball in a perfect spot to allow Witten to extend. Heath went up to defend, but he knew the space for Witten was limited and he was likely not going to come down in bounds — and he was right.
There appeared to be some miscommunication between George Iloka and Darian Thompson to allow Blake Jarwin to be as wide open as he was for the touchdown from Cooper Rush. Jarwin was flexed and enjoyed a free release up the field. With Iloka working wide and Thompson breaking late from the middle of the field, all Rush had to do was make sure he didn’t overthrow Jarwin in order to finish the play.
I am going to be honest about Donovan Olumba: I was worried about his lack of ability to finish plays. There were some snaps where receivers were getting the best of him. But the last two practices, he has done a much better job of putting himself in position and also finishing. The ball he defended to Jalen Guyton was outstanding. His patience in playing the route and the burst he used to finish was textbook. Mike White was fortunate that Guyton went into defensive mode to knock the ball away from Olumba or it would have been an interception.
I continue to believe that this staff won’t carry four tight ends — but right as I say that, Rico Gathers makes an amazing spinning, adjusting catch. Gathers has come light years in his game and every once in a while he’ll make a play to remind you why they’ve worked with him these past few seasons. It wasn’t like Gathers was covering ground quickly, but he was just far enough up the field that when Cooper Rush’s pass went over the top of Joe Thomas, he was in the right spot to grab it.
I had to laugh at Gary Brown today, as the Cowboys’ running backs coach put his arms up in a touchdown signal before Cooper Rush even handed the ball inside to Darius Jackson on the goal line. Brown must have seen the defensive alignment and known Jackson was going to get a trap block from Dalton Schultz and a seal from Adam Redmond. It appeared that Brown was going be correct — until Daniel Wise beat the block of Cody Wichmann and stopped Jackson just inches from the end zone. For a snap with no pads it was an impressive stop by Wise.
Another young guy that I haven’t written much about is rookie linebacker Andrew Dowell, but he showed up on Thursday. Dowell made a nice play in the team period, knocking the ball away from Devin Smith. Dowell, who played like a strong safety at Michigan State, dropped perfectly in zone coverage. Mike White attempted to float the ball just over the top of him, but Dowell was able to extend and get his hand on the ball just before landing on his back. If he doesn’t make that play, Smith was likely going to walk into the end zone.
After practice I happened to be talking with Brad Sham and he mentioned that he thought rookie defensive end Joe Jackson had a pretty good day rushing the passer. I really hadn’t given him much of a thought until I looked at my notes and the number of times I had his jersey written down. Jackson is different from the other ends on the squad. He doesn’t have the first step explosion of a right end, but coming off the left side is a better fit for him. Where he is going to make you take notice is how much power he shows. There were several snaps where that power gave Cam Fleming, Mitch Hyatt and Brandon Knight some trouble where they couldn’t handle him.

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The Dallas Cowboys invested heavily in their defensive line this offseason. They spent resources in free agency, through the draft, and even made a trade to bolster the line that was abused in the divisional playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Cowboys’ defensive line currently looks like this:

Demarcus Lawrence (returning player), Tyrone Crawford (returning player), Antwaun Woods (returning player), Maliek Collins (returning player), Taco Charlton (returning player), Daniel Ross (returning player), Dorance Armstrong (returning player), Robert Quinn (acquired via trade with Dolphins), Christian Covington (signed as a free agent), Kerry Hyder (signed as a free agent), Trysten Hill (draft pick), Joe Jackson (draft pick), Jalen Jelks (draft pick), Shakir Soto (undrafted free agent), Ricky Walker (undrafted free agent), Daniel Wise (undrafted free agent).

The Dallas Cowboys will likely carry ten defensive linemen on the 53-man roster and dress eight on gameday with two inactive because that’s what they’ve done in years past. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who’s a lock, who’s on the bubble and who’s not going to make the cut.

The Locks: Lawrence, Crawford, Woods, Collins, Quinn, Hill
Right off the bat, we have six locks to make the 53-man roster. Lawrence just got a long-term contract extension and is a cornerstone of the Dallas defense. He’s one of the league’s premier pass rushers and will be a fixture off the edge for the Cowboys in years to come. Crawford is a long-time Cowboy and has played much better as an interior defensive lineman.

Woods and Collins both had career years in 2018 and will look to replicate them. Quinn was brought to Dallas to give the Cowboys a true compliment to Lawrence on the other side of the line and to replace Randy Gregory. Hill is the Cowboys’ top draft pick this year, and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is excited about what he can bring on the interior.

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On the bubble: Charlton, Ross, Armstrong, Covington, Hyder, Jackson, Jelks
Charlton is in danger of not making the Dallas roster. Despite being a former first-round pick, he has severely underperformed, and with the increase in competition this year, he will have to earn his spot in camp. Ross performed well in limited appearances with the Cowboys last year but will also have to earn his spot with the new additions to the line.

Armstrong was a late-round draft pick last year that didn’t get much playing time but showed promise when he did. He should make the team, but he lands on the bubble because of the amount of competition. Jackson and Jelks are late-round picks from this year that will likely end up on the practice squad.

On the outs: Soto, Walker, Wise
Soto, Walker, and Wise were brought on as undrafted free agents to the Cowboys. They likely won’t make the cut, but they could end up on the practice squad. However, Wise has shown ability in OTAs, and if anyone is to take a spot from an incumbent, he’s the guy to keep your eye on.

Final Predictions: Lawrence, Crawford, Woods, Collins, Quinn, Hill, Armstrong, Covington, Hyder, Charlton
I went back and forth on the final two spots between Charlton, Hyder, and Ross but I decided Ross was the odd man out based on interior versus exterior numbers. Ross is an interior lineman, but Crawford, Woods, Collins, Hill, and Covington will already be manning those spots with Crawford and Covington also able to go to the edge. Lawrence, Quinn, and Armstrong were the only edge rushers, which is why Taco and Hyder get the nod.

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None of this is set in stone. Ross, Jackson, Jelks and even Wise could outperform incumbents in preseason games and take their spots. Also, Armstrong, Hyder or Charlton might have to make way for the suspended Gregory if/when he returns to the Cowboys this season.