Dallas Cowboys’ rookies get to work for upcoming season

FRISCO -- Athletes never forget their first time... putting on a professional jersey, that is.  Friday in Frisco, the Dallas Cowboys' crop of rookies got their first taste of an NFL practice as the team kicked off its rookie mini-camp.

"It's definitely been more than I expected," said offensive lineman Connor Williams, a Coppell native who was taken in the second round of the NFL Draft. "It's just been hard work.  It's just day-in and day-out."

"Now, actually being here, being in this facility and being part of the program, it's really special," added first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch, who is expected to be an immediate starter at linebacker.  "Obviously this is a very special place, and you've got to earn your spot every single day, every single second, every single minute and hour."

The spot with the biggest hole to fill is at tight end after Jason Witten's surprise retirement.  One of the candidates to replace him, Dalton Schultz, got a head start on doing that long before he knew he'd be a Cowboy.

"I've been studying a lot of Witten film over the years, and so I know what the Cowboys do, I know their run game," said the fourth-round pick.  "They run a lot of the same plays I've [ran] at Stanford and their running game is very complimentary to what I've already done at Stanford, so it's been an easy transition so far and I'm honestly looking forward to going forward with that learning process."

Hopefully, that learning process includes learning how to win a playoff game, something they've only done twice in the last 21 seasons!