DE/LB Demarcus Ware - By all accounts, Ware has done everything asked of him and then some. From fetching Bill Parcells' water, to working out with the team, to showing why the Cowboys drafted him with their first selection in the 2005 NFL Draft during last month's mini-camp, Ware appears to be the real deal. Of course, he's yet to put on pads, but judging his pure speed, footwork and overall quickness, he should create problems for a lot of teams this year. "You come in and you don't really know anyone or the system. So there's a little bit of anxiety when you come in. You just have to get used to it," Ware said. Obviously, his overall attitude and respect for his teammates and the organization easily earns him an 'A.'
Rookie Progress Report: A
DE Marcus Spears - Spears is a massive defensive end with a tremendous upside and judging by his short time with the organization, he also has the right attitude. After the Cowboys' rookie mini-camp, Bill Parcells made it no secret that he wanted his second first-round pick to lose some weight. How long did it take for that to set in with Spears? Less than a month. Spears showed up for the Cowboys regular mini-camp more than 12 pounds less than his first showing. "I think I know what (Parcells) is trying to do," Spears said. "He has a plan. And honestly, you respect that as a player. If he didn't care about you, he probably wouldn't say much at all."
Rookie Progress Report: A-
LB Kevin Burnett - What was Kevin Burnett thinking? After a strong showing during the Cowboys' rookie mini-camp, Burnett had hip surgery without telling the organization what was going on. He then spent the entire duration of the team's official mini-camp on crutches. Clearly, this was a good pick in the second round, and even though he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp later this month, there are still some questions surrounding his health. Those questions will persist until he proves himself on the field.
Rookie Progress Report: C
DE Chris Canty - The jury is still out, although Valley Ranch Insiders suggest he'll be ready for the start of training camp, and should be back to full strength sooner than expected. After essentially rehabbing throughout both mini-camps, little is known about his progress other than he should be able to start practicing with the team in August. Simply put, this was a boom or bust pick that really hasn't shown much to this point. However, the good news is that the pre-draft rumors about him never playing football again were completely inaccurate.
Rookie Progress Report: B-
OL Rob Petitti - Pettiti has lost 30 pounds since the end of his senior season at Pitt. What does that mean? It means the Cowboys may have found a late round gem that could provide some depth at right or left tackle this year. While it's too hard to judge a lineman during two mini-camps without pads, Pettiti will look be given a hard look in training camp later this month. His work ethic will be challenged like never before, and how well he responds will dictate whether or not he's a factor as a rookie.
Rookie Progress Report: C
S Justin Beriault - Beriault may be able to provide help at free safety, but he will be hard pressed to make a significant contribution early in his career. Right now, he's close to what you would expect from a sixth rounder: a special teams player that can provide spot duty when absolutely necessary. Not a bad pick up in the sixth round- now let's see how he develops during training camp.
Rookie Progress Report: C+
DL Jay Ratliff -Ratliff has been a pleasant surprise by most accounts, and will likely challenge for playing time this year on the defensive line. "It's the same for everyone -- learn the plays, work hard," Ratliff said of his first mini-camp, "and also make a good impression." Ratliff has done just that, and he's using the fact that he wasn't drafted as high as he expected as motivation for the future. At over 290 pounds, Ratliff is unbelievably quick (4.88 speed in the 40-yard dash)...now let's see how that translates in the NFL when he puts on the pads.
Rookie Progress Report: B
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