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Cowboys News: Defense A Must, Running Back Not A Must; Trades Possible.

Lots of nuggets from the Pre-Draft Press Conference plus some last minute draft evaluations.

The big three talked draft.
The big three talked draft.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys 2015 Draft: Running Back Not A Must, Defense Is A Must According To Jerry Jones - Blogging The Boys

The annual Dallas Cowboys pre-draft obfuscation and smoke screen generator, otherwise called a "press conference", was held by Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett. Dave Halprin gave a concise summary of what happened. If you haven't read it already, do so, then dive into some other takes about what they said - and sometimes didn't say.

Jerry Jones: Cowboys’ Draft Position Increases Chance Of Trading Up Or Down | Dallas Cowboys

Given the history of the team making trades, and sitting at 27 in a draft with only about 20 or so legit first round talents, this has been something many of us have been clamoring for. An extra couple of picks in the mid rounds look very useful this year. But this article points out the possible roadblock.

It takes more than just desire to pull off a trade, however. It requires a willing trade partner. As much as the Cowboys might want to trade up or move down, they'll need a team willing to make a deal - a proposition that doesn't always play out.

"We didn't have the opportunity last year to make a trade so it takes another team showing that kind of in interest," Jones said. "All the work and hustle in the world on the phone doesn't get it done if there is nobody wanting to make a trade."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones "wouldn’t dare" talk about Adrian Peterson, but says trading draft pick for a veteran is highly unlikely | Dallas Morning News

Given the recent discussions about tampering, Jerry Jones wisely passed on making any comments that could back to haunt him. But he threw some cold water on the whole idea of trading daft picks for veteran (and thereby older and more expensive) players in general.

Asked about trading a pick for a player, Jones had this to say Tuesday.

"It's highly unlikely you would trade for a player this time of year,'' Jones said. "Players values are diminished. It's unbelievable. Draft picks are enhanced.

"Everybody wants draft picks over the next three days and the day of the draft so players have a diminished consideration in a trade.''

Jerry: Defense "A Must" In The Draft; Running Back? Not So Much | Dallas Cowboys

It looks like the owner, at least, has a lot of faith in that offensive line the team has built over the past few drafts.

How much do the Cowboys need impact defensive help from this weekend's NFL Draft?

"By hook or crook," team owner/GM Jerry Jones said Tuesday.

How much do they need another running back to offset DeMarco Murray's free-agent defection to Philadelphia?

"It's not urgent," Jones said.

Stephen Jones: Cowboys’ eyes were wide open on Greg Hardy situation, not surprised by 10-game suspension | | Dallas Morning News

Even though Stephen Jones claims otherwise, it is hard to believe that the ten games did not cause some consternation at Valley Ranch.

Jones was asked if the Cowboys found the same facts in the case that the league reported.

"Yes, I think we were very aware of the things that went on and they kept us abreast every step of the way," Jones said. "We delved into it when we brought him in here, and knew that based on what [commissioner Roger Goodell] is doing, what the league is doing, that our eyes were wide open to this. It's not a surprise to anybody."

Cowboys Not Concerned About Dez Bryant’s Absence From Offseason Program | Dallas Cowboys

The ongoing difficulty in working out a long term contract for Dez Bryant has kept him away from the voluntary workouts, but no one in the leadership seems concerned. Here is Jerry Jones' take.

"Right now, I just don't have an issue with where Dez is regarding workouts, because I know where his heart is. I know where his real efforts are," he said. "He's working somewhere, and working hard, right now - maybe closer than we think. I have a lot of confidence in that and think that he'll be available to really make a great contribution for us this coming year."

Jerry Jones: Dez Bryant has evolved because of Dallas Cowboys’ support system | Dallas Morning News

It appears that the team feels that extraordinary talent justifies some exceptional steps to help him reach his potential.

The Cowboys owner and general manager said he has spent more personal time with Bryant than any other player during his 25 years since purchasing the franchise. Jones also included that Bryant, who battled financial problems early in his career, is the only player he has co-signed for on personal checks.

Would Bryant be able to get that type of support from another team? Jones has his doubts.

Stephen Jones taking the lead as Cowboys’ decision-maker on players | Star Telegram

For several years, the theory here has been that Stephen Jones is doing more of the day-to-day general manager's job than his father Jerry. Now, after the experience with Jerry getting overruled by Stephen and Jason Garrett on passing on Johnny Manziel and taking Zack Martin, more and more people are seeing the truth.

Stephen Jones, who is the man signing the checks for the Cowboys, is the captain now.

Star_medium

Now, on to the rest of the news. The draft starts tomorrow, after all.

What to do at No. 27? Moore: Why Cowboys need to show restraint, stay put | Dallas Morning News

Jerry Jones has said that there is pressure to make a trade, but David Moore says that the recent examples of Zack Martin and Tyron Smith argue for a patient, methodical approach.

The Cowboys priorities entering this draft — pick your order — are defensive end, running back and cornerback.

But if the team's targets at defensive end, running back and cornerback are off the board at No. 27 does that mean the team should move? No. Stay and take the best linebacker on the board.

Bob Sturm: My draft plan for the Cowboys’ first three picks | Dallas Morning News

Sturm looks at the many variables that make predicting the draft so hard. It is a complex but informative read. By the time he gets to that third round pick, he is having to consider a bunch of aspects.

In the first 100 picks, I want to get a RB, DL help, and a DB most likely, but I can't marry those ideas because we just don't know what is there.  But, know that the DL players available at this point now are the red flag types, those without a true positional fit, and the low-ceiling grunts for the most part.  That doesn't mean there isn't gold, but it is harder to find.

Also, know that this is where the interior OL generally goes - explaining the feeling that it is tough to take a guard in Round 1 - and if the Cowboys found a premium guard in Round 3 or even a future tackle, we should be open to that idea.

Oh, and I need another weapon with speed who can hopefully return punts.  That is why in Rounds 3 and 4, don't be shocked if they target a player like Tyler Lockett or Jamison Crowder if those slot WR weapons fall at all.

Unexpected pass-rush help could be there for Dallas Cowboys at No. 27 - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN

Based on talent alone, both Shane Ray and Randy Gregory should be gone before Dallas goes on the clock. but off field issues may push one or both into range.

Like a lot of things in the draft, there will be some risk and reward. In the pure football evaluations, Ray and Gregory should not be available when the Cowboys pick. They are among the top-five pass-rushers available. Pass-rushers go faster than just about any position in the draft.

2015 NFL Draft: 128 FBS programs, 128 possible undrafted free agents - CBSSports.com

2015 NFL Draft: 128 FBS programs, 128 possible UDFAs (Part 2) - CBSSports.com

These lists look at one player from all of the FBS schools that might be signed in the open market after the draft is over. If you have a favorite school or conference, you might enjoy seeing who shows up.

Bob Sturm’s 2015 NFL Draft profile: What I see in Nate Orchard, DE, Utah | Dallas Morning News

Meanwhile, Sturm is still plugging away at his evaluations. Here is a look at another possibility for the Cowboys to get some pass rush help.

If I have a flaw in my evaluations, it is that I am always a sucker for a high motor.  Scouts are not looking for high motors in the 1st round, they are looking for freakish attributes first and foremost.  For that reason, he might get downgraded at the combine because I don't know if he will score extraordinarily well on those tests.  But, from a character and accomplishment standpoint, I really like the player quite a bit.  The stats are inflated from the scheme and the Cowboys will have to ask themselves if he could get all home if they are always only rushing 4.  I think his battle level is such that he fits at the right price and I would love to add him to the arsenal and hope that with 5-10 more pounds of weight training on his frame, he might even be able to be a bookend for Lawrence for years to come.

Bob Sturm’s 2015 NFL Draft profile: What I see in Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska | Dallas Morning News

This is probably a lot more relevant with the talk about Gregory slipping, but he is not Sturm's favorite possibility.

There is no doubt he has off-the-charts upside and rare physical traits that the NFL loves to value. I don't think he is a scheme fit in Dallas and while he might be a guy who develops into a monster, I am looking for a bit more polish for my projected Top 5 picks, usually. I like him, but I sure expected more. The Miami game was fantastic, but his final game - the Bowl game against USC was not very impressive as a whole.

Possible Pick: Record-Setting OSU QB Has Size, Experience, Production | Dallas Cowboys

One possible mid-round move for the Cowboys is to try to find a new backup quarterback, and Sean Mannion may be a player that can upgrade the position.

If the Cowboys are going to take a quarterback in the early-to-mid rounds, he should be able to unseat Brandon Weeden either this year or next. Mannion has ideal height with good pocket awareness. He's a smart player with 43 career starts, meaning he should be able to at least be the No. 3 quarterback right away, and settle into the backup spot before too long. He'd be an upgrade over Dustin Vaughan and should battle with Weeden.

Injury Analysis for 2015 Draft - Prospect Injuries - Rotoworld.com

This is a thought provoking read, particularly the section on running backs. It points out some problems that teams are probably taking into consideration, like this on Duke Johnson:

Injury History

Duke Johnson had a tough time in 2013 missing time with a concussion and then ultimately fracturing his ankle which ended his season and required surgery. He then went on to re-injure the same ankle in the last game of 2014 in which he had to be carted off the field.

Analysis

The injury concerns around Johnson are legitimate. The ankle injury is more than likely going to crop up this season

Punter Chris Jones Gets New Deal With Cowboys Through 2017 | Dallas Cowboys

Oh, and we mustn't forget this major development.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB