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NFL Draft Results: Early Reactions To Cowboys Drafting Byron Jones

The Cowboys get universally positive reviews for picking Byron Jones.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys themselves were also pretty excited by the pick. Here's defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli on the phone with Byron Jones:

Marinelli: "Hey, Stud! How are you doing?"

Jones: "I'm doing great. I'm so happy you guys picked me."

Marinelli: "Man, our place is just ecstatic. We've been on pins and needles here for the last five or six picks."

Jones: "That's awesome."

Marinelli: "This place is up a running, and man, you coming in - we couldn't be happier to have a guy like you."


2015 NFL draft: Thumbs up, thumbs down analysis for first-round picks - NFL Nation - ESPN
The Byron Jones pick gets a thumbs up from ESPN.

The Cowboys went with a need and the best player available in taking Jones. He also gives the Cowboys some position flexibility with free safety in his background. He will be a cornerback first, but the Cowboys won’t rule out using him at safety.

2015 NFL Draft: Cowboys get A- for picking CB Byron Jones at 27 -
Ryan Wilson quotes Jones' coach, Bob Diaco, who was previously Notre Dame's defensive coordinator, and how he's been singing Jones' praises since last offseason.

"I think he will be one of the best players in the country," Diaco said last summer. "Everyone will see it eventually when they put him in those compression shorts (at combines). You will see a tall, long, lean and fast and explosive and athletic player. His numbers, with our developmental process, you are going to see at the end of the day one of the best tangibly gifted cornerback players in the country."

"Then you factor in this incredible resume socially, academically, he's an ‘A' student and on all the committees. At that position, he has some intangible traits that are an incredible commodity."

Byron Jones to Dallas Cowboys: Full Draft-Pick Breakdown | Bleacher Report
John Owning can hardly contain his own excitement at the pick.

The fact that the Cowboys had multiple players on their board with first-round grades at No. 27 was a fantastic problem to have. There was no wrong choice between Jones and Gregory, and the defensive back will step right in and make a huge impact for the Cowboys.

There is always a learning curve for rookies entering the NFL, but luckily for Jones, he will go toe to toe with one of the best receivers in the game, Dez Bryant, every day in practice, which should be a huge help in getting him acclimated to the NFL.

Jones was a fantastic pick, and he and the Cowboys will prosper for years to come because of it.

Cowboys get cornerback Byron Jones from UConn in 1st round | FOX Sports
The Cowboys are pleased with the versatility and size Jones offers.

"I do believe that it's realistic for him to play corner in this league and also play free safety in this league," Jason Garrett said. "He has the ability and he has the experience."

"You see the trend moving toward bigger, stronger, more physical corners on the outside," said Byron Jones, who weighs almost 200 pounds and has been cleared medically. "I think I fit that mold pretty well. Of course whatever they want me to do ... I'll do it all."

Byron Jones, the former UConn player, is drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. - Hartford Courant
This report looks at how Jones wowed the NFL at his Pro Day.

Many NFL scouts and coaches, including Mike Zimmer of the Vikings and Chip Kelly of the Eagles, descended on Storrs March 31 to see what Jones could do at UConn's Pro Day.

With a 4.36-second 40-yard dash and 18 repetitions on the bench — proving that the shoulder was strong — Jones moved to another level of conversation, as a solid first-round pick. Beyond his jumping ability, athleticism and work ethic, he also offers versatility. He can play safety as well as cornerback.

"And he can do both in a very effective manner," said Boston College defensive coordinator and secondary coach Don Brown, who coached Jones at UConn in 2012. "Phenomenal player, talent and athlete who deserves everything he gets."

Analysis of every first-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft | USA TODAY
Nate Davis focuses on the NFC East receivers Byron Jones will have to cover.

Jones hit the radar after blowing up the scouting combine with his ridiculous athleticism, including the longest long jump ever recorded. He joins a corner corps that’s seen high-priced Brandon Carr struggle and former first rounder Morris Claiborne underperform. Stout at 6-1, 199 pounds, Jones should be able make life difficult for big-time NFC East wideouts like Pierre Garcon and Odell Beckham while allowing Dallas to comfortably move on from its disappointing incumbents.

NFL Nation: NFC East analysis - ESPN
The Cowboys think they might have discovered the next Devin McCourty in Byron Jones, writes Todd Archer.

In 2010, the New England Patriots drafted Devin McCourty with the 27th pick in the first round. He started 16 games as a rookie, had seven interceptions and was named to the Pro Bowl. In 2012, he moved to free safety and was re-signed to a five-year deal worth $47.5 million by the Patriots.

The Dallas Cowboys hope Byron Jones, whom they selected in the first round Thursday night with the 27th overall pick, can be their McCourty.

Instant reactions - Shutdown corner
This is from the play-by-play Shutdown Corner provided for each draft pick:

With Mo Claiborne a bust to date, Brandon Carr likely to be a salary dump in 2016 and Orlando Scandrick — the Cowboys’ best corner — currently asking for a new deal, this pick makes a ton of sense. Jones’ confidence and incredible athleticism are great traits, but he has looked his best in man-coverage situations. Asking him to reroute receivers and play with his eyes in the backfield might be an adjustment in the Cowboys’ cover-2 scheme, but Jones has the skill to do it.

Dallas Cowboys draft combine wonder Byron Jones -
Chris Wesseling explains that while Jones is one of the most freakishly athletic prospects in the draft class, he was already rated highly before the Combine.

Far from simply a workout warrior, Jones ranked in NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 even before the combine. After watching Jones' 2013 and 2014 tape, Jeremiah believes Jones can handle press-coverage responsibilities as a rookie.

Cowboys chose UConn corner Byron Jones - The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe quotes Mike Mayock in its take.

"I think it fits a need, and I think he’s an explosive kid," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said after the pick was announced. "He’s clean off the field, he plays hard. Like most tall corners, he’s a little bit stiff, and he’s a little bit raw. However, this kid can play corner, free safety, he can be a gunner on special teams. I think the people in Dallas, who need to rebuild the talent of that defense, were excited by this kid."

Jones is regarded as an instinctive player who has enough speed to cover and close. He’ll need to refine his footwork — a noted weakness — but showed enough skill and smarts to convince Dallas he was worth a first-round pick.

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