Random thoughts: No Mike Jenkins drama

May, 27, 2013
5/27/13
12:00
PM ET
We have some random thoughts regarding the Cowboys.

Enjoy.

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ESPN Dallas Cowboys Insider Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett from Valley Ranch with the latest news from Cowboys OTAs.

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1. Mike Jenkins is playing with the Oakland Raiders now. But last season he was the drama the Cowboys didn't need last year. Jenkins, recovering from shoulder surgery, staged a mini-protest by refusing to showup to the organized team activities. Now, the OTAs are voluntary, but we all know what that means. Jenkins didn't show up, irked by the Cowboys signing Brandon Carr in free agency and drafting Morris Claiborne in the first round. Jenkins did show up for the mandatory veteran minicamp and all was good. This spring, there is no such drama with the Cowboys as the OTAs take shape. Josh Brent (legal issues) and Lawrence Vickers (recovering from back surgery) are the only Cowboys not around on a regular basis. You could say the only real drama during the OTAs occurred when DeMarco Murray (hamstring) missed the first day of OTAs.

2. The Cowboys are taking a wait-and-see approach with Brent's status on the roster. Brent is on the 90-man roster but isn't showing up during the OTAs, at least during the portions the media is allowed to watch. Brent has a court case in September after being charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of practice squad player Jerry Brown. The Cowboys are waiting for the NFL to rule on Brent, which won't happen until after his court case concludes. The reality is if Brent goes to jail, the NFL will suspend him during his time away. He won't count anything on the salary cap while in jail. Brent has a base salary of $630,000 something he loses this year and his cap number is $641,889. It's not a lot, but it will come off the books at some point this summer. When Brent is released, the Cowboys will retain his rights.

3. It's easy to rip the Cowboys over their previous drafts. Guess what, stop it for a moment. Take a look at the 2010 draft: Dez Bryant, the 24th overall pick and Sean Lee, the 55th overall selection, are players who will get a second contract from the team, and are projected stars. The team also selected defensive end Sean Lissemore with the 234th pick overall in the draft. Lissemore already has gotten a second contract. Of course, the team selected Brent in the supplemental draft. When you look at that entire class, there are at least four players who became contributors from seven picks. Very good.

4. It's easy to become worried about the future of the defensive line due to the ages of the starters. Only end, Anthony Spencer, is under 30. However, the backups have a future due to their ages. Tyrone Crawford is being groomed as someone who can play end and both tackle spots, Lissemore can play end and Kyle Wilber was moved from outside linebacker to end. Ben Bass and Rob Callaway will also compete for a roster spot. The other good thing about the backups, of the players mentioned, Callaway and Lissemore, are the oldest at 25. The other defensive linemen on the 90-man roster are also under 30, with the youngest being, a veteran, 29-year old Anthony Hargrove.

5. One of the biggest problems with moving the NFL draft into May is taking NFL personnel people away from their families and spending more time with someone else's child. The NFL offseason is long and grueling, everyone needs a break. I'm afraid too much time with college prospects could lead to mistakes because as one Cowboys officials told me last week, sometimes you can have too much information. Another problem with it, in regards to the Cowboys, is Jerry Jones. He values that end of season grade scouts places on prospective prospects. When it comes to draft time, Jones, sometimes leans on his coaches instead of the scouts. You have to wonder if Jones sided with the coaches over the scouts when it came to the first-round of the draft last month. Did the scouts want end Sharrif Floyd or tight end Tyler Eifert because they were highly-regarded on the board? Did the coaches say Floyd didn't fit the scheme? More time also gives the coaches more tape to study of prospective players. It's good to have as many voices as possible when it comes to the draft, but then again, maybe not.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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