With organized team activities (OTAs) and mini-camps over, Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive lineman Jordan Carrell’s attention shifts to training camp.
Can the former Colorado defensive end successfully make the shift from the base 3-4 at Colorado to Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 in Dallas?
With depletions on the defensive line, including injuries, suspensions and free-agent defections, the unit will be one of the more anticipated battles in camp.
The competition isn’t lost on Carrell.
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“It’s going to be working on my footwork and staying in the weight room leading up to camp,” Carrell said.
He’ll gets some extra time to get his steps down. The Cowboys will have three-day pre-training camp workouts at The Star in Frisco for rookies and selected players July 19-21 before flying to Oxnard, Calif.
Having the steps down is something the 6-foot-3 Carrell, who arrived weighing around 300 pounds, needs. Since the off-season began, the California native said he has shed nearly 30 pounds and has increased his speed, which gives him more explosiveness at the snap.
“My change of direction speed is maybe the biggest thing I need to work on because it’s about keeping my shoulders over my feet,” he said. “Just getting use to that and being able to plant my feet right takes some time.”
Clearly, the Cowboys see some promise in their seventh-round draft choice.
Carrell grew up in Elk Grove, about 15 miles south of Sacramento, but attended high school at Roseville High School. He spent played two seasons at American River College in Sacramento before joining the Buffaloes.
Carrell recorded 51 tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for loss and recovered a fumble in his senior season in Boulder. He also played 695 snaps, the most of any Colorado defensive player in 14 games.
Defensive line coach Leon Lett spent some two-plus hours in Sacramento working Carrell out prior to the draft.
“I’m very critical of myself and how I approach each day,” Carrell said. “If I make a simple mistake, I do what’s necessary not to repeat it.
“This isn’t slowing me down at all, but this is a whole lot different scheme from what we did at Colorado and the mechanics of how you approach each play with your footwork makes a big difference.”
Dallas Cowboys 2017 schedule
Aug. 3 vs. Arizona (NBC)* 7 p.m.
Aug. 12 at Los Angeles Rams (NFL Network) 8 p.m.
Aug. 19 vs. Indianapolis (NFL Network) 6 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Oakland 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 at Houston 7 p.m.
* Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio
Sept. 10 vs. New York Giants (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Denver (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Arizona (ESPN) 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 vs. Los Angeles Rams (KDFW/4) Noon
Oct. 8 vs. Green Bay (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Oct. 15 Bye
Oct. 22 at San Francisco (KDFW/4) 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 29 at Washington (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 5 vs. Kansas City (KTVT 11) 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 12 at Atlanta (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 19 vs. Philadelphia (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 23 vs. LA Chargers (KTVT/11) 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 vs. Washington (KXAS/5) 7:25 p.m.
Dec. 10 at New York Giants (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Dec. 17 at Raiders (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 24 vs. Seattle (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Philadelphia (KDFW/4) Noon