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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Stephen Jones Says Cowboys "Are Heavily Weighted Towards Defense" In Draft

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Latest Cowboys headlines: The Cowboys are focused on finding difference makers for the defense in this year's draft; Cowboys may be closer to a re-built defensive line than many think; Cowboys busy with interviews at Combine.

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Cowboys talking mostly defense at NFL Combine | Clarence Hill, Star Telegram
Per Stephen Jones, the Cowboys are focused on finding difference makers for the defense in this year's draft.

"You never know for sure what you are going to do in the draft," Jones said. "No matter what happens, we are heavily weighted towards defense. Does that mean we don’t take offense there? If the greatest player on offense is there, you have to take value. It goes without saying we are weighted towards defense."

"We felt just as strong last year that we needed defense and we took offense," Jones sad. "We had five guys we were slated to pick ahead of Zack and they were all defense. And then they were all gone. It’s obvious to everybody that our offense was very strong last year and we spent a lot of money on our offense compared to our defense. We need help over there."

Why improving Cowboys might feel cornerback positions are more important than linebacker spots | Rainer Sabin, DMN
Sabin offers an interesting perspective on the Cowboys defense via Pat Kirwan.

"It’s a nickel game," said Pat Kirwan, a former NFL assistant coach, scout and personnel executive who is now a SiriusXM radio host. "Coach [Bill] Walsh told me, ‘When you have a good team…you have to assume you are defending the lead. Then you have to be a nickel defense. So pass rushers and nickelbacks are more important to a good football team, and Dallas is becoming a good team. You’re going to have leads more often than not and you’re going to have to play that way."

"You need two linebackers," Kirwan asserted. "When you stack up the value of the third linebacker, the Sam linebacker versus the nickel, the nickel wins most of the time….The third corner is a starter."

How Cowboys could end up with a young, rebuilt defensive line very quickly | Bob Sturm, DMN
In a recent chat with fans, the Sturminator explained why he has very high hopes for DeMarcus Lawrence and believes the Cowboys may be closer to a re-built defensive line than many think.

Question: We only saw DeMarcus Lawrence really blossom in the playoffs but what are your expectations in year 2?

Bob Sturm: Very high expectations. They paid a 2nd and 3rd to get him and he needs to emerge as a 8-10 sack guy in Year 2 to be worth that price. I hope he can really take a big jump up and the Cowboys feel that he can. If he is the real deal and Tyrone Crawford continues, then a 1st round pick means you have a very young and rebuilt DL already.

Cowboys casting an eye toward linebacker Rolando McClain | Clarence Hill, Star Telegram
Hill writes that Rolando McClain might be the Dallas Cowboys biggest in-house free agent priority not named Dez Bryant or DeMarco Murray.

According to vice president Stephen Jones, the Cowboys have no concerns about an on-going arson investigation into a fire that burned McClain's six-bedroom home in Alabama to ground on Dec. 22.

What's the right price for Rolando McClain? - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
In response to reader question about where Sean Lee would play in the Cowboys defense, Archer writes that the Cowboys may struggle finding the right price for McClain.

There's a big "if" as to McClain. I'm not sure how the Cowboys come up with what's the right price on McClain without having him test the market. You don't want to overpay even for a player who had the season McClain had.

Cowboys + Dez 'Video': 5 Steps Thru Muck - Mike Fisher, CowboysHQ
Fisher writes that Mike Florio's claim of an ‘incriminating' Dez Bryant video tape is "muck-raking, rumor-mongering horsecrap," and offers five reasons why. Here are reasons four and five:

I find it befuddling, too, that "all of the major insiders’’ have knowledge of the rumor but not until "Shan & RJ’’ quizzed Florio about it has he ever noted it. Why hasn’t ProFootballTalk.com ever mentioned this? Florio’s website has never had a problem tiptoeing or even bull-rushing into similar territory; why would Florio essentially "break the story’’ on a DFW radio station instead of on his nationally-known website or on the NBC Network that employs him?

In the week of Oct. 21, as CowboysHQ.com has reported, the Cowboys — who according to Florio and "all of the major insiders’’ knew about the supposed issue — DID offer Dez Bryant a "Cowboys For Life’’ contract, and thought they were so close that they began work inside of Valley Ranch on the ancillary paperwork.

NFL investigators in Wichita examining Joseph Randle arrest - Kake.com
NFL personell is in Wichita, looking into the recent arrest of Joseph Randle. Whether those people are investigators, damage control experts or PR spin doctors remains to be seen, but whoever they are, they are talking to Randle, witnesses, the police and "interviews reporters conducted after the incident."

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Ameer Abdullah, Jay Ajayi among running backs who have met with Dallas Cowboys | Jon Machota, DMN
Machota is earning his keep at the Combine, from where he's keeping us informed about who the Cowboys are talking to. In this article, Machota explains that a quartet of running backs have already met with the Cowboys: Auburn's Cameron Artis-Payne, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Florida State’s Karlos Williams, and Boise State’s Jay Ajayi have all interviewed with the Cowboys at the Combine.

Plenty Of Cowboys Connections Abound For Boise State Running Back Jay Ajayi | David Helman, DC.com
Ajayi, who went to high school in Frisco, Texas, wouldn't be surprised if he became the fourth player on the Cowboys' roster from Boise State (Orlando Scandrick, Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence).

"It feels good to know that teams like the Cowboys really enjoy drafting Boise State guys," he said. "They know that they’re well coached guys, guys who go into work every day that will grind for your team and will do their job. It’s cool. We talk about how so many of our Boise State guys are on the Cowboys. We talk about it."

Vic Beasley has met with Cowboys; Fowler, Dupree, Odighizuwa planning to do the same | Jon Machota, DMN
Where others spend their time rumor-mongering, Machota sticks with reporting stuff that's actually happening. In this case, he runs down a list of defensive linemen who have interviews scheduled with the Cowboys in Indianpolis: Kentucky's Bud Dupree, UCLA's Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Florida's Dante Fowler, and Clemson's Vic Beasley

Dallas Cowboys NFL Combine Interview List - Blogging The Boys
Per late afternoon on Friday, these are the players who've had or will have interviews with the Cowboys.

CBS Rank Name POS College Source
9 Dante Fowler* DE Florida Jon Machota
14 T.J. Clemmings OT Pittsburgh Jeff Cavanaugh
15 Vic Beasley DE Clemson Jon Machota
17 Bud Dupree* DE Kentucky Jon Machota
20 Malcom Brown DT Texas Charean Williams
21 Melvin Gordon* RB Wisconsin ESPN Dallas
22 Todd Gurley* RB Georgia ESPN Dallas
34 Owamagbe Odighizuwa* DE UCLA Jon Machota
47 Ameer Abdullah RB Nebraska DMN
52 Jay Ajayi RB Boise State DMN
128 Cameron Artis-Payne RB Auburn DMN
179 Karlos Williams RB Florida State DMN
216 Blake Sims QB Alabama Jon Machota
237 Connor Halliday QB Washington State CBSSports
* has not yet met with the Cowboys but interview scheduled

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The 2015 salary cap seems to be coming into focus.