The NFL Combine is officially underway, although Tuesday was just arrival for the first group of players. Today, things get a little more interesting with the first measurements taking place. The Dallas Cowboys were represented by VP Stephen Jones, who had a lot of interesting things to say. And of course, there are some other things of interest to cover.
This is a good overview of all the combine drills, with the addition of one take on how valuable each one is from an NFL scout. And it points out how sometimes a player will make an impression, even in a drill that is not highly regarded as a predictor of NFL success, like the broad jump.
Last year, Connecticut defensive back Byron Jones was somewhat of a forgotten prospect because he had been injured since October. However, he was the buzz of the NFL after posting a combine-record 12 feet, 3-inch broad jump, a number that also broke a 46-year-old world record. Jones was drafted 27th overall by the Dallas Cowboys and was one of the top defensive rookies in the NFL.
Just in case you wanted to check who was invited.
We should all be aware of just how big a deal it is to hold the fourth overall pick, but here is a reminder from Stephen Jones about how the team is approaching it..
"If anything it probably requires more work, because now everybody is in play," Jones said. "In the past you could probably bet that there's 10 or 12 players that you're not going to see and not going to be able to move up to get."
Sitting at fourth overall in this year's pecking order, there's no option off limits this time around. It's undeniable that one of this draft's elite talents will be available with the No. 4 pick, and the Cowboys are also within striking distance of any prospect they might covet.
Jones continued to express his displeasure about the Randy Gregory situation, and offered some remarks about how that might affect the decisions concerning finding more pass rushers, as well as other positions of need.
"I'm not a big fan of free agency, I'll be the first to admit it. Unfortunately, good players get paid like they're great players, average players get paid like they're good players and it's a domino effect," he said. "It's not a great way to put your team together, but I think sometimes there are necessities that you need to jump out and do some things."
In a "Five Wonders" piece, Todd Archer reminds us that when you see an NFL team doing something with one hand, it usually means that the important stuff is happening with the other one.
I wonder how many people will get overly excited when they hear the Cowboys are interviewing Player X. It happens every year and it doesn't mean very much in terms of actual interest. Teams are allowed 60 formal interviews (15 minutes each) with players during the combine. Informally they meet with many more. The combine is about due diligence.
There was a lot of injury news for the Cowboys.
It looks like Tony Romo is going to have some kind of surgery, but will opt for the Mumford procedure, one that puts less stress on his healing clavicle than attaching a plate.
The Mumford procedure is where a portion of the distal clavicle is shaved off or removed.
Romo, however, has yet to make a final decision on the type of surgery he will have in March as he continues to gather facts and evaluate the benefits of each procedure that he's discussed with doctors.
The team has not explained any details, but were not expecting how things turned out with the surgery for DeMarcus Lawrence.
Lawrence underwent a back surgery last month that executive vice president Stephen Jones said ended up being a little more serious than the team anticipated. Lawrence is expected to be able to participate in at least a part of the organized team activities and minicamp and should be 100 percent for training camp.
At least the doctors provided good news on Dez Bryant.
"All is good with Dez right now," Jones said Tuesday from the NFL Scouting Combine. "He's making good progress."
Jones said Bryant will remain in a walking boot for another week or so. Baring any setbacks, the two-time Pro Bowler is expected to be fully cleared for organized team activities and minicamp.
Lance Dunbar has been something of a forgotten player for many, and his future with Dallas remains up in the air.
Lance Dunbar will be a free agent when the new league year begins, so it's hard to speculate on his future with the team. But Jones also offered some insight into the running back's situation, as the Cowboys will have to determine how to handle him as he returns from a torn ACL and MCL suffered last October.
"Obviously Dunbar is a big question coming off a major surgery," Jones said. "He was having a heck of a year before he was hurt. We still don't know exactly how long that's going to be. It's real questionable as to whether he's a PUP guy or -- if we could sign him -- will he be a PUP guy or what would he be?"
There was also some news about some free agent topics. The Combine is, of course, the time when a lot of illegal tampering goes on while the league turns a blind eye.
The Dallas Morning News is running down the top five free agents the Cowboys are likely to re-sign, and Dunbar comes in at number four.
Although there are multiple reports that the Cowboys will move on from Greg Hardy, the official team stance is that no decision has been made. But things still look doubtful for his return.
Jones acknowledged that Hardy's off-field issues, tardiness to meetings and effect on the locker room will be factored into the Cowboys' decision.
With the Gregory suspension and Hardy's possible departure, the team may be taking a second look at whether to re-sign Jeremy Mincey, despite his age (32) and low production last season.
He battled through an elbow injury that required offseason surgery. Mincey was unable to straighten his arm for most of the season and as a result had difficulty shedding blockers. In 2014, he became one of the defensive leaders and that is a unit that could use help.
This was just an interesting take from Jesse Holley on what happened with Gregory, although it may not have much to do with the real issues.
"The more and more of these kids coming into the NFL , the more we'll see this stuff happen over and over until they change the rule, or they suspend enough guys that they don't have enough players to play anymore," Holley said in an interview with The Fan.
The Cowboys have been discussed as a possible landing place for Robert Griffin III, assuming he does indeed leave Washington. That may be as much because the Cowboys are linked to every well-known free agent out there, but Washington team president Bruce Allen has all but confirmed that Griffin will hit the streets.
"I see Robert getting an opportunity with another team," Allen said. "We've heard from some teams that are interested. I think he's going to have a choice of a couple teams that will let him excel in the future."
And finally, remember back when Tony Romo had to cancel a fantasy football convention when the NFL got their panties in a bunch at the last minute about it being held in Vegas? Romo filed a lawsuit, and things are happening with that.
The National Football League is asking a Dallas judge to toss Tony Romo and The Fan Expo's lawsuit over a sidelined fantasy-football convention that was supposed to happen in Las Vegas over the summer.
Romo, who's part-owner in the Fan Expo, and his partners are asking for more than $1 million from the league for the canceled National Fantasy Football Convention, originally scheduled for July at the Sands Expo, the convention center attached to the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.
Romo's side is adding breach of contract claims because NFL personnel and employees had signed up to attend before the league had a hissy fit when they realized someone was making money off the brand without giving them a cut. (That last sentence may include a little interpretation of the facts.)
And is there anything more delightful than wadding up the NFL's own hypocrisy and slamming it into their face? This is from a copy of the latest filing obtained by PFT.
"NFL player Rob Gronkowski hosted a party cruise from Miami to the Bahamas on February 19-22, 2016. The four-day party took place on Norwegian Cruise Line, where Gronkowski's fans and attendees can take full advantage of Norweigan's famed ‘Casinos at Sea.' Photos from the booze-cruise show fans gambling at the on-board casino. The NFL specifically knew about the party cruise and its ties to gambling for more than seven months leading up to the event; yet the NFL took no action to either discipline Rob Gronkowski or prevent the event from taking place."