Cowboys rookie Randy Gregory impresses Tyron Smith early

IRVING, Texas -- Randy Gregory could not make it through his first rookie minicamp practice a couple of weeks ago because of a case of dehydration.

The Dallas Cowboys' second-round pick made a much better impression during Wednesday’s organized team activities in his work against All-Pro offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

Gregory used the hint of his speed to get Smith to believe he was going to the tackle’s left, only to dip underneath to get a pressure on quarterback Tony Romo.

Gregory, who had 17.5 sacks in two seasons at Nebraska, could not hide his smile when asked about going against Smith after practice.

“I think we had a pretty good battle,” Gregory said. “He did a good job, but I think I won a couple there. I know I won a couple there. He may not agree to it. The important thing is he made me better. Hopefully I’m helping him out, and when it’s all said and done we can both help out the team.”

Smith was willing to give Gregory one victory in pass-rush drills, but just one.

“He’s a swifty kid,” Smith said. “He’s pretty quick, a different type of rusher. He’s going to be pretty good.”

The Cowboys used Gregory as their right defensive end in the nickel defense on Wednesday. Depending on what happens with the appeal of Greg Hardy’s suspension, Gregory’s role could be greater, at least early in the season.

When Smith arrived to the Cowboys, he had daily battles against DeMarcus Ware, who became the Cowboys’ all-time leader in sacks. Smith credited part of his development to his work against Ware. If he could stop Ware occasionally, then he would be able to hold up against any other pass-rusher in the NFL.

Gregory hopes the one-on-one work with Smith, considered one of the best tackles in football, will benefit him as he starts his career.

The Cowboys certainly hope so, too.