The Cowboys held their NFL-mandated pre-draft press conference today. Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett and Tom Ciskowski provided some "soft answers" (Jerry's words) to the waiting reporters. We listened in to the press conference that went on for 20 odd minutes and you'll find our summary of the highlights below:
Jason Garrett reiterated a theme he and others at Valley Ranch have been trumpeting for the last three years. The Cowboys "want to be as 'pure' and disciplined as they can be in drafting best players," Garrett answered when asked about the Cowboys plans for possibly drafting a running back.
Jerry Jones the addressed the possibility of the Cowboys engaging in some trades during the draft, saying "we will be open to improving where we are" with regard to trades. Jones continued that "there is enough depth in this draft that you sure want to keep your ears open for a trade," but also pointed out that he was more inclined towards trading down than he was towards trading up.
Jones also made a point about how he appreciates the input the new coaches are providing in setting up the draft board, but made clear that as much as he relies on his coaches for input, especially Jason Garrett, "the ones that really rule the day are the scouts. They are the meat on the bone."When prompted about Monte Kiffin and the requirements of the new defensive scheme, Jones pointed to the safeties and defensive linemen as positions the Cowboys are evaluating differently heading into the draft: "In general I'd say our new defensive scheme is influencing the kind of safeties and linemen (especially) we are looking at."
The press conference then veered off a little into a discussion about the current players and the expectations for this year's and last year's rookie classes. Jones pointed out that the Cowboys are very happy with their two starting corners and would sign Carr and draft Claiborne again in a heartbeat. "These corners that we've got will be really helpful to what Monte (Kiffin) wants to do with this defense," Jones said.
Garrett added that he felt Claiborne and Tyron Crawford had been "starters" in 2012, but also said that injuries held back Kyle Wilberforce and Matt Johnson. "We have guys from last year's draft that we feel we haven't even seen yet. Those are important additions to our team in '13," Garrett continued.
The oddly short press conference ended with a discussion of the offensive linemen in the draft and the possible impact on Doug Free. Jerry Jones said that offensive line is a very deep position in the draft and, unprompted, pointed out that "there's also cap reasons why these guys go early in the draft." Jones brushed off a flurry of questions about Doug Free and said neither the Cowboys nor Doug Free have said anything about their positions, "and that's by design."