I'll start here:
The jersey numbers for each of the Cowboys' draftees were announced. Here's a look who will wear what:
Byron Jones: 31
Randy Gregory: 94
Chaz Green: 79
Damian Wilson: 44
Ryan Russell: 99
Mark Nzeocha: 49
Laurence Gibson: 67
Geoff Swaim: 87
The Goose hosted a Wednesday chat, and a lot of the questions pertained to the Cowboys' draft. This was his answer to a question about the way the Cowboys conducted business:
It was a very blue collar, very methodical draft. Given the state of their depth chart, you could understand why they made each and every one of their picks. Even Nzeocha -- he brings size at a position the Cowboys needed to get bigger. he may be a year away, but I understand why they made that pick. The Cowboys did their best to address their 53-player roster. They didn't go into the draft thinking they absolutely needed a running back; that may have led to a reach. The Cowboys didn't reach at all this draft. They stuck with their board and, as Stephen Jones said, let the draft come to them. That's what the good drafting teams like Baltimore and Green Bay do.
How could we not love that?
The heir apparent made some comments on Wednesday...
In a chat with season ticket holders on Wednesday, Stephen Jones re-emphasized that running back was not the priority for the team that is has been for fans, especially when it comes to finding a "bell cow":
"At the end of the day this league, more and more, is becoming a league where teams use multiple running backs. Last year I think was inordinate, starting with the fact that DeMarco had an amazing season, an All-Pro season," he said. "It very well could be that this year you’ll see a lot more of whatever three combinations of backs that we keep – you certainly could see a lot more of the second and third running back than you did last year."
Machota cites Stephen Jones, who relays that one of Gregory’s best qualities was his transparency:
"He understood a lot of what was going on and he also understood that he needed to get better," he said. "He met not only with Jason and Jerry and myself, he met with our coaching staff. He spent a lot of time with Coach Marinelli. He was very impressive.
"Believe me, we certainly have our eyes wide open on this one. We know there’s a lot of work to be done. We feel like organizationally, we have the infrastructure in place that we can help him become a better person off the field and ultimately be the type of well-rounded man you want in your organization. I think he could really have success with the Cowboys organization both on and off the field. He seems committed to doing it and we’re certainly committed to helping him."
Jones the Younger remains optimistic the team will sign Dez Bryant to a long-term contract. The stumbling block, as I've noted before, is that the market for #1 receivers has yet to be re-calibrated.
[Stephen Jones] acknowledges that it’s a difficult process bridging the gap between the NFL’s highest-paid receiver contracts – Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald each make about $16 million per year – and the rest of the league. The Denver Broncos, in particular, are in the exact situation as the Cowboys: like Bryant, fellow All-Pro Demaryius Thomas has yet to sign his franchise tag tender and is skipping voluntary offseason workouts with no signed contract at the moment. Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green are entering the final year of their rookie deals and might have to wait for Bryant and Thomas to help re-establish the receiver market.
The Dez contract story was well-covered by our own Dawn Macelli as well.
Jones the Elder spoke to reporters on Wednesday as well:
Jerral Wayne feels good about the Cowboys, Archer writes, but doesn't want to saddle them with unfair Super Bowl expectations. Prepare yourselves for a very un-Jerry-like statement:
"Let’s don’t confuse how good we feel about our team with putting [the Super Bowl] around the neck of something that if we did know [we] could beat those kinds of odds, then life would be a lot different for all of us," Jones said after the Salvation Army’s Inspiring Hope Luncheon at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday. "That’s a statement that is real hard to live up to. No one knows it better than we do."
When it comes to the question of whether the runner or the offensive line make the running game, Archer writes, there is no doubt which way the Cowboys are leaning. Of course, the team's O-linemen are deflecting all the focus on them back to the little guys who run fast; here's Zack Martin:
"Obviously, (Murray) was a big loss," Martin said. "He was such a great player and such a great teammate. But, like Travis said, I think everyone in that organization has faith in the guys we have. And I know as offensive line, we have all the faith in the world. And getting Darren and kind of knowing his history, we know he's a big-time player. So it's exciting to go in fresh this season and kind of learn how we're going to gel together."
NFL Media analyst Bryan Baldinger disagrees with Martin, apparently. He believes the Cowboys bypassing a running back leaves a major hole on their roster:
"With a third-round pick, I was praying they would go get a running back because that running back room can't replace what they lost when DeMarco Murray left (for the Philadelphia Eagles). There were (11) running backs drafted from No. 91 on down, guys like Buck Allen and Jay Ajayi. There were a bunch of guys they could have taken and I think they're going to regret it," Baldinger said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" Tuesday. "I don't believe the Cowboys are as good as they were when they won the NFC East last year. I don't believe the Cowboys are going to make the playoffs as a result.
After Quarterbacks Coach Wade Wilson racked up so many frequent flier miles flying around the country working out various QBs, Dallas didn't draft a signal caller. Again. But that's because they saw value elsewhere. Here's coach:
"All positions are always in the mix," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said after the draft. "We evaluate guys, we put them up on the board and if it made sense for us at a particular time to take one of these quarterbacks who we liked, we'd be all in to take one. Same thing with the running back position. Same thing with the receiver position. For whatever reason, we liked guys on the board better and went ahead and pulled the trigger on them."
Although they didn't draft a QB, the Cowboys still need one, or two, just to get though this weekend's minicamp. Check it:
The Cowboys do need arms for this weekend’s rookie minicamp, however. UTEP’s Jameil Showers (rookie free agent) and South Alabama’s Brandon Bridge (tryout) have filtered out as players expected to join the Cowboys this week. The team is expected to release an official finalized list later this week.
Archer cites the soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer:
"He can play," Haley said. "The best pass-rushers are those that don't have fear and when I watch this kid play, hey, he's not afraid to stick his head in there or his nose in there. And he's not afraid to be great."
And speaking of potential steals:
In another twist in the week-long saga regarding Collins and the death of Brittney Mills and her son, Collins’ paternity test produced negative results and he is no longer considered a suspect. So, of course, he's immediately linked to the Cowboys, when almost every team in the league has contacted him.
Collins will be visiting the Cowboys first, LaCanfora reports...although he is expected to make a few more visits before coming to a decision about where he wants to play.
If he did sign in Dallas? I'd have no problem with that. No problem at all.
And, of course the biggest story in the NFL on Wednesday was the deflate-gate ruling...and it has a potential Cowboys angle...
It's up to Roger Goodell, Cowlishaw writes, to make certain that someone other than Tom Brady is "not only under center but throwing properly inflated footballs" on the night of September 10, when the Pats start their season against the Steelers. Here's Timmy:
While it seems that monkeying around with the inflation pressure of a football is no guarantee of success, the simple fact that the Patriots were bothering to do it tells us something. The fact this team has suffered fewer fumbles than the rest of the league over the last three seasons tells us even more.
The Goose writes his second news link of the day. Here, he opines that, since the Wells report concluded that neither Patriots ownership, coach Bill Belichick nor any members of his staff had any knowledge of this "violation of playing rules," the fault lies a bit lower down the chain of command:
That leaves Brady holding a bag of deflated footballs. An underinflated football allows a quarterback a better grip on the day of the AFC title game with rain in the forecast. So Wells concluded that Brady knowingly besmirched the integrity of the game. How unsportsmanlike of someone who already has his ticket punched to Canton....It took forever, but Wells finally did his job. Now it’s time for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Troy Vincent and the league’s disciplinary board to do theirs. A slap on the wrist will no longer suffice. The integrity of the game is at stake.
The Cowboys might just be monitoring the developing deflate-gate story:
That’s because Dallas will host the Patriots on Oct. 11 in AT&T Stadium. That will be the Cowboys’ fifth game of the season, but it will be New England’s fourth game. A four-game suspension for Brady would mean Dallas would avoid the four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
The Noble Drummond takes a look at which top picks Byron Jones and Randy Gregory will face each week this season. I'm particularly interested in possible rookie-on-rookie matchups. Some of the possibilities:
Weeks 1 and 7 (NY Giants): Gregory vs. Giants OT Ereck Flowers
Weeks 2 and 9 (Philadelphia): Jones vs. Eagles WR Nelson Agholor
Week 4 (New Orleans): Gregory vs. Saints OT Andrus Peat
Week 11 (Miami) Jones vs. Dolphins WR DeVante Parker
Week 15 (NY Jets): Jones vs. Jets WR Devin Smith
And we'll finish with this:
A sports cartoonist put together team names, logos, and rivalries for a version of the NFL that exists in the world of Game of Thrones. Check out the various teams in the WFL - the Westeros Football League. Recommended for nerds.