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The new and improved Jerry Jones

The DFW S-T is at it again today with a couple of very interesting articles that cut into the core of the Cowboys drafting/personnel philosophy going forward. It's the new Jerry Jones, transforming himself from rich guy who knew too little, but knew too little to even realize he knew too little, into serious NFL GM that relies on the football guys. The proof will be in the pudding, but at least the talk is serious - when it comes to the draft, rely on your scouts. Not a bad idea, after all, you hired them to scout football players; you might as well get your money's worth, instead of the coaches and the GM overruling them.

The man behind the curtain is Jeff Ireland. He leads a staff of eleven other scouts that do the year-round leg work that makes it all possible come April. Mac Engel explains to us that their opinion will be valued over all others come draft day.

"There won't be that potential lobbying that you might have gotten that might have influenced that draft board that really you shouldn't do," Jones said. "You should put your highest-rated player by the guys that spend 100 percent of the time out here.

"I think this is going to be the purest scout-evaluation [draft] from the December grade."

With a new coaching staff, expect the Cowboys to stick to what chief scout Jeff Ireland and his staff suggest. Unlike previous years when Parcells was known to lobby for a player, and his voice was hard to ignore, the Cowboys plan to rank and draft according to what the scouts say. Period.

No doubt Parcells' voice was hard to ignore, and let's face it, the drafts got a lot better once Parcells arrived. He put together a system that worked for the most part and landed us some pretty good players along the way, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But Parcells was guilty of bringing in a couple of "pet cats" - players that are drafted because one of the coaches or the GM fell in love with him over the scouts objections. Now, Jerry is eliminating all pets from Valley Ranch. There will be no more "bring your pet to work" days - it's strictly business out at the Ranch.

So much so, that Jerry is setting a very high goal for success in this year's draft.

With 10 picks in this draft, Jones said he wants a success rate of 70 percent. He wants seven of the 10 on the 53-man roster and those picked on the first day challenging for starting spots. He'd love to find a fullback, too.

Hitting 70% is a lofty goal, but go ahead and shoot for the stars, Jerry. And yeah, I'd love for you to find a fullback, too.

From the unlikeliest source, Randy Galloway, the DFW has a second worthwhile article on the Cowboys player personnel philosophy. This one is all about character. Not characters, like the Cowboys had in the mid-90's and the Bengals are specializing in nowadays. But character, as explained simply in this quote from Winston Wolfe in Pulp Fiction: Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character. So true.

The Cowboys are serious about keeping a clean team. And Galloway digs up a little more on the Merriman/Ware debate and how it played out in Dallas.

There is a story from two drafts ago that Parcells wanted to take linebacker Shawne Merriman, but because of character questions, Jones nixed it. The Cowboys instead took DeMarcus Ware, leaving Merriman for the San Diego Chargers.

Ireland would not confirm that Wednesday, but others say there is "some truth" involved. One Valley Ranch voice put it this way:

"Basically, all of us misjudged how good Merriman would be as a linebacker. Character on him came up in the discussions, but we also really liked Ware and still do. Ware is good, but Merriman may be the best defensive player in the league."

This is interesting, because now we'll get to see how good Merriman is without the Phillips 34, and how good Ware can become in the Phillips 34. Of course, it's never a direct comparison, because how good a player's teammates are can reflect on the stats, but it's as close as you'll get in NFL terms.

So Jerry is going to listen to his scouts and never make a pick like Quincy Carter again. He's going to get high character guys who are talented, so I guess we can scratch a trade for Pacman Jones off the list. Now, you might say what about signing Terrell Owens, doesn't that go against the high character rule? Not exactly. While Owens is a pain in the butt who can cause team disruptions, he's not in the class of characters who are running afoul of the law nowadays. To lump him into that category would be an injustice to Owens. Sure, he can drive you to distraction with some of his escapades, but it's not the same as making it rain in Vegas.

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