Frisco, Texas – Ah, another junior camp. Or, as Mike McCarthy renamed this three-day gathering of enlistment options, unoccupied free agents, first-year players and trial guys to “rookie mentoring camp.”
So it’s time for some first impressions.
The Cowboys wasted no time with first-round pick Tyler Smith. Not only did he sign his contract on Friday, but during some semblance of unlined team training — helmets, shirts and shorts — an offensive tackle from Tulsa was right there at the left guard.
“Day one, he wanted to get his feet under him,” said offensive line coach Joe Philbin. “It seemed so fast today.”
McCarthy said, “You can see the pickpocket.”
The size of the first four picks in the fifth round could also be seen by Matt Waltzko. 6-8 and 312 pound attack turrets on top of all remaining turrets while in a group. He lined up first on the left tackle, and the Cowboys initially portrayed him as the best candidate to tackle the swing.
Talking about huge. Oh man, this Damon Clark is a big guy for a linebacker. He says third of four fifth-round picks is 6-2, 239. I think he ran 4.57secs 40 in the Scouting Combine. Once in good health after rehab from cervical fusion surgery, this man wrote MLB. center back.
Predictably, knowing he’s about to shell out millions to sign these nine draft picks, along with unregistered free agents, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones walked over to watch Friday’s proceedings here at The Star, to be followed by another practice session on Friday. Saturday.
Even Ezekiel Elliott paused to take a look, and by all accounts from offensive coordinator Keelen Moore and McCarthy, the man who still ran for 1,022 yards despite playing through a twisted posterior cruciate ligament.
Oh boy, while you can read that Sam Williams is 6-4, 261, but runs a ridiculous 4.46 in 40, man, does this guy look like part of a rushing defensive end. And to think, he’s only 23, so it wasn’t an exaggeration when McCarthy said, “I think we’d all agree, Sam Williams was born to play football.”
No kidding, and for Sam, who once thought he was a basketball player before discovering football — he said he tore Ole Miss intramurals when COVID boycotted football — the man was very realistic, saying of basketball, “I play it, but football is my profession.” For obvious reasons at first glance.
Regarding this knockout of not being able to play the run, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was pleading for a difference, noting that they played a lot of styles at the Ole Miss, but “I’m evaluating him on what we’re asking him to do – what he’s going to do here.”
See some of Micah Parsons’ passing dash potential here, but as a purely defensive end.
Then there’s another guy who looks the part: wide receiver Galen Tolbert. Looks good at 6-1, 194. Goes well. It opens up, at least in these non-contact drills. Easily grabbed. looks good. He says he’s modeling himself on Julio Jones and Davante Adams and “actually watched CeeDee.”
“One of the things he made clear during our initial conversation — you know he’s very young, he didn’t play much football,” McCarthy said, knowing he didn’t start high school until graduation season. “These were his words. I don’t know how high my ceiling is, but I think it would be very high.”
Oh, and that tight end, Jake Ferguson, has no naps, but at 6-5, 245, he might just be the perfect complement to Dalton Schultz. It moves well. The physique seems to prevent it from the second narrow point in the form of two narrow ends.
And… Finally, after writing about it on Wednesday at _Mick Shots_, Mr. TrackMan, kicker Simon Mathiesen, met the guy here on a trial basis. The Cowboys couldn’t watch him kick, so they did so indoors at the Ford Center before heading outside for a small camping practice. He says he hit the ball well, taking 20 of his 21 kicks, warm-ups and 12 written kicks, saying one of his kicks would have been good out of 60.
Remember, after starting four seasons in Northwest Missouri and a Division II school winning three national championships during his four years, he began work at TrackMan—a Danish company that initially developed ball flying radar in golf for broadcast television, after the owner knew— The footballer who grew up in Denmark helps develop and sell the football technology part of the company four or five months after graduation.
So, Mathiesen set his football career back. But he still gets to work kicking three or four times a week while helping TrackMan’s football progress and then testing the system settings.
“Now I have a much better understanding of what I’m doing,” he says through the use of a radar tracking system. “I know what to do when I hit the ball well, and when I don’t hit the ball well, I know what to do.”
Although he was a very successful player in Northwest Missouri, the NFL never came. Not even an experience. But since he last started in the 2016 National Championship game, Friday marked the first time he’s kicked under the watchful eye of an NFL team.
As he described it, this was his “first formal experience,” noting, “I’m older now and more prepared.”
Fortunately, Cowboys professional scout Henry Sroka hooked him up with the exercise. And Mathecin didn’t just come for the experiment. He brought with him his TrackMan gear that NBC was using to broadcast Sunday Evening Football and for the first time this past season’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
“I’ve known the Cowboys for a while,” Matissen said. “They were interested and now they need a kicker.”
He even showed off his iPad showing TrackMan’s results from his kicks on Friday, with another round coming up on Saturday.
As of today, the Cowboys are nowhere near sure who will handle the kicks at 7:20 p.m. Sunday, September 11, at AT&T Stadium in their season opener against Tampa Bay…again. Currently, officially on the roster is first-year footballer Chris Nagar, with one field goal from last season’s NFL experience with Cleveland, and now free agent Jonathan Garibai of Texas Tech, where after a junior college kick in just three games his junior year and entire season. Past in Tech.
Mathiesen may join the fray.
And if not, Cowboys might sell their TrackMan radar technology system.
All this too without witnessing any of the kicks making a huge impression on me.