I decided to go back over my notes from the Jerry Jones press conference today and try to narrow down what he really said. This time of year it’s a generally accepted maxim that you can tell when an owner/GM/coach is lying because his lips are moving. But Jerry Jones has always come across as a guy who doesn’t fib well, he likes to talk and he likes to tell you what he thinks. He’s kind of like T.O. in the way they can’t even lie when they know it’s good for them. Contrast that with say – Bill Parcells – who would shovel more manure than a farmer tilling his fields. So let’s suppose that what Jerry said is some semblance of the truth, what does that mean for the Dallas Cowboys draft this weekend?
The Dallas Cowboys are definitely interested in trading for a veteran WR, but that WR is not Chad Johnson. Jerry admitted he’s talked to another club about the possibility and he espoused on the wisdom of teams waiting until draft day when players that are in demand reach maximum value. But he emphatically said he hasn’t talked to the Bengals. That pretty much leaves Roy Williams or Anquan Boldin unless Jerry has an ace up his sleeve that no one has guessed. To me, the odds-on favorite is still Roy Williams.
The possibility of the Cowboys trading up into the Top 10 to get a player – ahem, Darren McFadden – appears remote. Jerry didn’t totally rule it out, but he used the word “perfect storm” to describe a scenario coming together that would allow the Cowboys to make such a move. In other words, the odds are slim to none and slim is on his way to the airport. Jerry is very conscious of the salary-cap problems the Cowboys have right now and spending millions upon millions on an unproven talent doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
There’s always the possibility of the Cowboys standing pat at #22 and #28 and this could be a very good possibility if Jerry can’t find the right dance partner. Some teams he won’t even ask to dance because they never trade but others he’ll give a shot. But what Jerry really wants to do, if players too good to pass up don’t fall into his lap, is to trade down and maximize the value of his picks. My most likely scenario is he picks at #22 and then tries desperately to get rid of #28 for a good spot at the start of round two plus another pick. That’s assuming he doesn’t line up #28 (or #22) for a veteran WR. Jerry discussed the likelihood of a couple of teams wanting to get back in to the back-end of round one to pick up a QB. Watch for that scenario because it has a fair possibility of happening.
Who would the Cowboys pick at #22 or #28 if they stayed there? One position it won’t be is WR. Unless Jerry was throwing up a major smokescreen, he’s just not interested in the WR’s in the first round. He noted that he didn’t think any of them were of the ability to come in right away and have an impact on this year’s squad. And that’s what he’s looking for in the first round, someone who could come in and contribute right away. If we’re getting a new WR that will likely play this year, it’s a veteran through a trade. Jerry also noted that we have a lot of talent at the position in-house, especially if Terry Glenn can play.
Jerry wasn’t as emphatic about the running back position not being able to contribute right away; in fact, he said there is talent at the position in the draft. But he also sounded like a guy in no rush to pick a running back. He’s not letting the fact that MB3 isn’t signed to a long-term deal sway him either. His attitude seemed to be that we can get a back anywhere in the draft and even put it this way – there’s no gun at our head about the running back position.
If you’re looking for clues as to what he really wants to get out of the first round look no further than cornerback. He considers the 3rd corner a starter and made several statements hinting that getting a corner who can contribute right away would be a good thing. He went into a discussion about the subject when pressed if he would consider a corner if the top four (DRC, McLovin, Jenkins and Talib) were off the board. He noted that the other corners behind the top four were pretty close in comparison to those guys and maybe have just one hole that makes them a little less coveted. He sounded fine with getting a corner that wasn’t one of those four early in the draft. To me, this is where you should put your money on at least one of the picks in the first round.
Jerry also threw a curveball in there when he mentioned that offensive line might be a position they look at. He said that there were a few that he thought could come in and make a contribution. This statement was kind of unexpected and leads one to believe that Kyle Kosier may not be locked into a starting guard position or that they have doubts about re-signing Marc Colombo after the season is over. With Doug Free waiting in the wings I thought that they would not be inclined to grab an offensive lineman early, but Jerry definitely put that possibility out there on a couple of occasions during the press conference.
Other interesting tidbits included the apparent growth of 3rd-string QB Richard Bartel. Jerry stated that he’s looking a lot better and that picking up a QB in the draft wasn’t really a big priority. Safety was brought up as a possibility and Jerry did not dismiss it. The #28 pick could be used on a “best player available" basis within a need, but today’s press conference seemingly widened that net of needs to include an offensive lineman or possibly a safety.