The ultimate Cowboys rookie minicamp report

May, 1, 2009
5/01/09
4:48
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

I do not recommend attending the Cowboys' rookie minicamp without at least two draft guides on hand. Starting tight end Martellus Bennett showed up to observe the proceedings looking thoroughly confused, although if you watched HBO's "Hard Knocks" last summer, that's to be expected. Bennett watched his former college teammate, Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, on a few throws but the Cowboys' tight end was mostly focused on driving up his Twitter numbers and requesting that ESPN.com publish his blog.

Now, settle in for this edition of Cowboys Rookie Minicamp Nuggets:

It's hard to judge a quarterback based on a one-hour practice but here's goes nothing. I thought McGee showed some of the attributes that helped him overcome an injury-ravaged senior season to be selected at the top of the fourth round. He obviously has a lot of work to do when it comes to footwork, but it's easy to see the athleticism that shines through. Longtime Cowboys pro scout Henry Sroka hates receiving any attention in the media -- or even making eye contact with reporters -- but Henry should take a bow for all the work he did on McGee. There's at least one AFC scout I've talked to who thinks McGee is way too hard on himself and has some "confidence" issues. But you'd never know it by hearing the kid talk. He thinks he would've been taken in the first round had he played in another college offense, but the Burnet, Texas, native says he doesn't have any regrets about going to Texas A&M. He also recognizes the opportunity he has to learn behind Tony Romo and veteran Jon Kitna.
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, so that's about as good a compliment as I can get," McGee said when reminded that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had compared him to Romo. "I don't think I'm close to anything that resembles No. 9 right now. I've got a long way to go, a lot of offense to learn. I'm excited to be learning from a guy like Tony Romo. It doesn't get any better than that, and a guy like Jon Kitna, a guy who's played 14 years, that's pretty awesome."
  • McGee was also asked about the catfight that has broken out between his college coach Mike Sherman and Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who's upset that his quarterback, Graham Harrell, wasn't taken in the draft. McGee quoted a Bible verse from Proverbs to respond to Leach, but he couldn't remember what chapter it was in. I'll look it up this evening (don't have a Bible in my car) and get back to you.
"There is a verse in Proverbs that says don't respond to a fool by it's folly," McGee said. "I believe that in all my heart."
Here's the actual verse from Proverbs 26:4-5: "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."

  • I'm going to save most of my stuff on third-round pick Robert Brewster out of Ball State for an upcoming column. He went through an awful family tragedy in October when his girlfriend died three days after giving birth to their son, Jalen Brewster. The former Ball State right tackle told me today that his mother, Delaney, will soon move to Dallas to help him take care of his son. Brewster never missed a game after his girlfriend's death and he was remarkably open about explaining how he's dealt with the tragedy. He proudly said that his son "already knows how to hold a bottle at seven months and makes a mean face like his Daddy." Didn't take me too long to start rooting for Brewster. On the practice field, he looks incredibly quick for a 330-pound man.
  • Sixth-round linebacker Stephen Hodge (6-0, 234) out of TCU was noticeably quicker than some of the other linebackers. He seems like the type kid who could play linebacker in some of the subpackages and also play some safety. Wearing No. 55 (Zach Thomas' old number), Hodge covered a lot of ground and really appeared to impress the coaches. I thought Hodge and Clemson safety Michael Hamlin (6-2, 214) had an excellent morning session. Safeties coach Brett Maxie told me that Hamlin "plucked" every ball thrown his way. He played exclusively at receiver his senior season in high school, so maybe that's paying off. He finished his career at Clemson with a school-record 14 interceptions. I think Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh will start at safety, but Michael Hamlin has a chance to contribute in subpackages early on.
  • I hate to say something negative after only one practice, but Oklahoma receiver Manuel Johnson looked out of shape to me. He was bending over trying to get his breath after every route. Seems like it might be a good idea for a seventh-rounder to show up in peak condition. And if he was ill or something, I'll find out and be the first to tell you. It's not the end of the world, but it was an inauspicious beginning.

I'll be back later with reports on the Cowboys' first pick, Jason Williams, and kicker David Buehler (pronounced Bee-ler). Thanks for spending the afternoon with the Beast.

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