Cowboys ‘impressed’ with Dak’s rehab progress

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott “is right on track or maybe a little ahead of schedule” as he returns from a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle suffered last season, coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday.

McCarthy said he attended Prescott’s workout on Saturday, calling it the most extensive the quarterback has had so far.

“I was very impressed with his progress,” McCarthy said. “Just coming off the type of injury. His footwork, he’s doing all the normal movements that you look to do in a quarterback-school format this time of year.”

Shortly after Prescott’s injury on Oct. 11, a four-to-six-month recovery period was predicted. He had a second surgery on his right ankle in December to clean up a previous issue, but that has not slowed his rehab.

Asked whether he anticipated Prescott taking work in 11-on-11 drills during the offseason program, McCarthy said, “I’m just hoping we have the [organized team activities].”

“He’s surrounded by an excellent medical and strength and conditioning component,” McCarthy said. “He’s right where he needs to be for this time.”

McCarthy said Prescott has been at The Star four days a week as part of Phase 1 of the voluntary offseason program. While other teams have had players follow the NFL Players Association’s recommendation to stay away, McCarthy said that attendance at the Cowboy’s virtual meetings has been 100% and that “most” of the players have been taking part in the workouts.

“Our players are here,” McCarthy said. “They’re committed to what’s available. We’re obviously well in tune with the guidelines of what an offseason program looks like and what you can do for your players. So we feel very good about what we’ve accomplished, in the first week especially. We’re way ahead of where we were at this time last year.”

The Cowboys believe the lack of a traditional offseason program last year played a part in their 6-10 finish. As a result, they have the 10th pick in this week’s draft. Most of the talk around the Cowboys leading into Thursday’s first round has been about improving a defense that allowed a franchise-record 473 points in 2020.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones was asked about filling a need over what could be a better player available on offense, such as Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. A year ago, the Cowboys had similar defensive needs but selected wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, their sixth-rated player, at No. 17 overall.

“I think the real thing to do is don’t be stupid over your needs,” Jones said. “Just don’t be ridiculous.”

Jones acknowledged that “we’ve got a good chance to have a top defensive player, the top, or one of the top, be there at 10.” Cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn are among the top considerations.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said that earning the 10th pick was “gut-wrenching” but that “once you have it, there’s nothing painstaking about it.

“You’re getting to pick up there, and in this draft I really do believe we can find an elite football player with elite football character that’s healthy, that’s everything you want,” he said. “When you put everything into the mix, you’re going to be pleased. I think we’re going to be pleased with the type of player we’re able to pick there.”

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