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Cowboys Post-Draft News & Notes: How Much Have 2014 Cowboys Improved Vs. 2013?

Latest Cowboys headlines: Jerry Jones believe "there's no question" the Cowboys are better than last year; Will McClay's success may lead him away from Dallas; Texans beat writer makes good on a bet, eats a newspaper.

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Jerry Jones: It’s not just optimism, it’s a fact that we’re better | ProFootballTalk
PFT uses a quote from a Nick Eatman article to explain why Jones believes the Cowboys’ roster is stronger than it was in 2013.

"Yes, we are better," Jones said. "There’s no question about that. Relative to where we played last year, we’ve had a very impactful draft. We actually have had an impactful offseason, relative to the way we play. We’re better. And consequentially, when I look over at the offense, we haven’t taken a step back on offense at any place and matter of fact, without being trite, we’ve gained on it in my opinion."

"For me, I feel better tonight than I did when we quit playing last year. To me that isn’t just optimism for me. I do, factually, can look down here and say we’re a better team than we were this time last year as reality would have it."

Jerry Jones gives new draft czar Will McClay high marks for his draft work: "I give him an "A" - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
Jerry Jones is very pleased with the work McClay has put in over the entire process leading up to the draft, "every phase of it, preparation, the organizing of it. From organizing the initial days, from the Senior Bowl all the way to the combine, the organization of the board, coordination with the coaches." For the Cowboys, McClay's perceived success is a double-edged sword. The more successful he's perceived to be, the sooner he could leave Dallas, Clarence Hill writes:

Now he is on the fast tract to potentially being a general manager one day - especially considering he is not only the highest ranking African American in the Cowboys organization but the highest ranking official in the player personnel department without the last name of Jones.

If he continues to have success in his new role he will certainly be sought after by other teams and is already on the short list of general manager candidates put out by the Fritz Pollard Alliance when they forward names to team to comply with the Rooney Rule.

Dallas Cowboys explain why they didn’t draft a QB | Jon Machota, DMN
What it basically boils down to is that the Cowboys like what they’ve seen from Brandon Weeden, and were happy to check out UDFA QB Dustin Vaughan from West Texas A&M.

"Obviously we think a lot of Brandon Weeden," Stephen Jones said. "He got drafted in the first round for a reason. We didn’t quite have him in the first but we had him in the second. The guy has a couple of years under his belt. We’ve kind of got to look at him over the last couple of weeks. We like what we see. That’s a work in progress."

Dallas Cowboys see Devin Street as a fifth-round steal - ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys had a third-round grade on Street, which explains why they were willing to move up in the fifth round to take 6-foot-3, 189-pound Street. It also partly explains WR coach Derek Dooley's message to Street:

"It doesn’t matter where you get picked; it only matters what you do when you get here," Dooley told Street during the phone call after the Cowboys made the pick. "Get your ass ready. You’re going to get down here quickly and we’re going to go to work, and you’re going to put it on all those teams that passed you up."

"You see all them receivers that went ahead of you? All right, don’t ever forget it, you hear me? And that needs to motivate you every day."

For Cowboys, Draft All About Numbers On Defense " CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
The Cowboys ended up with just two offensive players among their nine draft picks.

"The obvious is the obvious," Jerry Jones said. "We were trying to emphasize defense in terms of numbers."

Where do the undrafted have the best chances of making a roster? - NFP
We've been preaching it here on BTB for years, the NFP comes to the same conclusion: The Cowboys are one of the better addresses in the league for undrafted free agents. This particular study ranks all 32 teams in terms of "the best place to live" for UDFAs, and the Cowboys come in sixth overall, which ranks behind the Packers and Patriots at the top, but ahead of the Seahawks in ninth place. Incidentally, the Seahawks are the one team that has been beating its chest like a gorilla on speed about their supposed success with UDFAS. So much for that.

2014 NFL draft - Four things learned at draft - ESPN
John Clayton says this year’s draft, with defensive backs going early and players like Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix falling to the third round, shows the shift of emphasis to securing faster, rangier athletes to defend spread offenses in the NFL.

To anchor their 3-4 defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers used a first-round pick on massive nose tackle Casey Hampton in 2001. That doesn't happen anymore. The 2014 draft defined the new NFL. Given a choice between a 330-pound anchor or a 200-pound safety, teams will take the safety. The message became clear Thursday. Nine defensive backs were chosen in the first round, including four safeties. Nose tackle Louis Nix III, a projected first-round pick, had to be rescued 83 picks into the draft by the Texans because he might play only on run downs, which could be less than 35 percent of the snaps.

Video: John McClain eats his words and a Chronicle sports page - Ultimate Texans
Texans beat writer John McClain was so sure the Texans would take a quarterback in the first round that he promised to eat the Chronicle’s Draft Day front page if the team didn’t pick a QB on Day 1. McClain made good on his promise, offers this video as proof, and earns a ton of respect as a man who is true to his word and publicly owns up to his mistakes.

Top 100 Players of 2014: Jason Witten comes in at 98 -
We realize full well that the NFL's top 100 is nothing but offseason filler, constructed with a dubious methodology, and generally not worth getting worked up over. But the link has a video of Witten, which is definitely watchable.

Penn State right guard John Urschel makes NFL combine predictions - ESPN The Magazine - ESPN
John Urshel, drafted in the fifth round by the Ravens is also a prize-winning math major, and put his math skills to use in a study of 400 offensive linemen drafted since 2006 to determine what, if anything could determine future NFL success for those draft prospects. Good read if you're analytically inclined.

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