Rookies to get head start before camp

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys won't hold their rookie minicamp until Friday, but some of the nine-player draft class and undrafted free agents will be at Valley Ranch Monday for workouts.

With the later-than-normal draft, rookies can start in the offseason program before the minicamp provided they have graduated or their schools are out of session. First-round pick Zack Martin will be on hand from the beginning, but second-rounder Demarcus Lawrence, cannot arrive until Thursday. Fouth-round pick Anthony Hitchens has exams at Iowa the next two days.

"The benefit is simply getting in the meeting room," coach Jason Garrett said. "We start there, introduce stuff to them and then on Tuesday and Thursday they'll go out with the veteran players on the field. They'll get an orientation to our strength and conditioning program, so these days are valuable. If you have time with them, 45 minutes in the morning [to] an hour and a half in the afternoon [for] a couple three days you can really learn a lot of football in a short period of time."

In addition to their draft picks, the Cowboys have agreements with more than 20 undrafted free agents and will have a number of players in on a tryout basis. Garrett believes the rookie minicamp will be more productive than in years past because of the extra time with the veterans beforehand.

"Typically we bring them in Thursday, install plays Friday morning and then go out and practice 30 minutes later," Garrett said. "You can be three or four days ahead of where we were and hopefully get more out of this time that we have on the field this weekend."