One-armed Knife Sharpener
- Apr 7, 2013
By Jon Machota
Aug 9, 2023
OXNARD, Calif. — It has become routine in NFL training camps for rookies to sing in front of the entire room during a team meeting. The Dallas Cowboys’ rookies have been recently taking part in that tradition.
First-round pick DT Mazi Smith sang “Dilemma” by Nelly.
Second-round pick TE Luke Schoonmaker shared a rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”
Third-round pick LB DeMarvion Overshown said he wanted to sing a country song, but his choice was made for him by the group: “Don’t Matter” by Akon.
While talking about his song, Overshown shared a brief rendition with a small group of reporters Tuesday. “Nobody want to see us together,” he sang. “But it don’t matter, no, because I got you …”
How did he do in front of the team?
Overshown: “I’m definitely top three. I held my own.”
What about Schoonmaker?
Overshown: “He sang ‘Party in the USA’, so you’re going to get crowd participation from that.”
Overshown: “It was terrible. I told him he should have to do it again.”
The rookie linebacker seems comfortable being in the spotlight. He says he’s feeling more and more comfortable on the field with each day that passes in camp. He looked the part near the end of Saturday’s practice when he made a diving interception while working to his left with the third-team defense. However, the highlight play was wiped out because of a defensive penalty.
A few plays later, Overshown was faced with a similar opportunity, this time moving to his right. Will Grier’s short pass to Hunter Luepke bounced off the hands of the rookie running back and into the air where Overshown jumped to haul it in. After tipping the ball up, Overshown fell to the ground where he was ultimately able to complete the interception while laying on his back.
“The result of the play is why we’re talking about it,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said, “but he’s had flash plays every day, whether it’s on a punt cover (or something else). He’s moving up the charts on special teams, which we’re excited about. I know (defensive coordinator Dan Quinn) feels really good about him. I know (linebackers coach Scott McCurley) talks about his command for a young player.
“You talk about hit and run and shooting the gap, he pulls the trigger pretty naturally for a young guy. I’ve been impressed with him.”
Cowboys star defender Micah Parsons has also been impressed, specifically mentioning Overshown while answering a question about young players who have stepped up.
“One guy I know y’all saw him out there (Saturday) was (Overshown),” Parsons said. “Man, the way he’s gravitated to me. I’m like, ‘Man, just let it go.’ You see a flash. You see him shoot a gap. I’m like, ‘Bro, just let it go all the time. Stop thinking, just play your game.’ ”
Parsons said he shared a story with Overshown about how during his rookie training camp in 2021, he focused on his strengths, blitzing and rushing the passer.
“I made sure I was dominant in that area,” Parsons said. “The coverage and all that other stuff, I can learn that. But I was like, ‘Bro, you need to show them that you’re really good at something. … That’s how you show that you have a frickin playmaker.’ That’s the standard. That’s how you do it. That’s how you ball out. I couldn’t be more happy for him.”
Overshown played safety early in his college career at Texas before moving to linebacker for the last three seasons. He’s currently working behind linebackers like Leighton Vander Esch, Damone Clark and Jabril Cox, but he’s expected to play more than all of them Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Dallas’ first preseason game.
“(My best football) is definitely in front of me,” Overshown said. “I’m still learning something new about this position every day.”
His defensive playing time will likely depend on the health of his teammates and how quickly he picks things up. He could be a factor early or maybe it will take time. Special teams is a different story. Overshown should be a factor beginning Week 1.
“I want to be a four-core special teams guy,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to get to that point. I definitely feel like I’ve been showing my toughness, my grit, my willingness to work and do whatever it takes to get on the field. I just got to continue stacking those bricks.”
Some of the things he’s looking to work on Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars are his read and reaction time, expanding his vision, using his hands more, playing slower in the box and not running himself out of plays.
Of course, he’d love to intercept another pass or two.
“It felt good,” Overshown said of Saturday’s interception to end practice. “I had been telling myself that that play is going to come. I’ve been saying all my career that I’m one of those guys that any play can be a play where I’m looking to change the game. I feel like a play like that in a game would’ve changed it. That practice was so intense the whole day, so to end it like that, I was waiting for it.
“It feels like the gates have finally opened and there’s a flood coming now.”