The Dallas Cowboys Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones was on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday to talk about the upcoming NFL draft and the Cowboys plans for the number four overall pick heading into draft week. Jones isn't one to show his hand, but he did have some interesting things to say.
Jones was asked about the addition of free agent defensive tackle Cedric Thornton and how that might affect whether Dallas would select another interior lineman next weekend. In his answer he pointed to Tyrone Crawford's ability to switch between his normal tackle position and defensive end to help bolster the pass rush as one reason the team wouldn't hesitate to select another tackle. The Cowboys will need to find pressure somewhere and they are definitely not done trying to upgrade the defensive front. The bottom line for this team, and really for all teams, is that you can't have enough good football players, and if the highest-rated player on your board is a defensive tackle you take him.
In the wake of last week's trade between the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans which sent the number one overall pick to the Rams, Jones was asked whether the Cowboys had been contacted about their first-round pick. As of now there doesn't appear to be any action, but Jones didn't rule out something happening on draft night.
You've got to be prepared to play option quarterback and make some quick decisions because a lot will depend on who gets picked. ... Who knows if it's going to be in high demand or somebody wants to steal it from you for not what you should be getting for it. Those are all things that we'll be taking a long, hard look at deciding whether we want to stay where we are or move down, and we still haven't ruled out that we would move up if we felt like we should. Right now all options are on the table."
I don't know how likely the trade up scenario is, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cowboys trade back if given the proper amount of compensation.
If you've been following the mock drafts leading up to next Thursday, you've probably noticed more than a few experts have the Dallas Cowboys selecting Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot with the number four overall pick. We here at Blogging The Boys have had our own debate about the wisdom of using such a high pick on a position that has a traditionally short shelf life in the NFL. Jones was asked whether he thought that a running back might be worthy of taking in the top five of the draft and he had this to say:
"Yeah. I think a guy could be good enough to warrant something like that. I mean, you don't have to look far to an Adrian Peterson or if [Todd] Gurley would have been healthy last year coming out. He was obviously one that could have warranted that type of grade. So, there's backs that can certainly warrant being up there with and being eligible in our mind to have the value of being picked that high."
Does this mean that the Cowboys see Elliot as that kind of player? If the front office thinks he is they certainly aren't going to say so ahead of draft night.
The interview also covered whether the Cowboys might see one of the later-round quarterbacks as an upgrade over the current backup Kellen Moore. Jones did not shy away from saying that he felt that was possible. There are several candidates, perhaps most notably Dak Prescott, (you can check out OCC's write-up on Prescott's visit to Dallas here.) Jones also said that he wouldn't rule out bringing another veteran on board either.
Make no mistake. Stephen Jones has learned the art of saying nothing while saying something from his father. Jerry Jones is the undisputed heavyweight champ in this arena. But if you are paying close attention, the younger Jones is telling you what the Cowboys are all about. We like the young quarterback's but might not take one. The pick could be a running back, unless it isn't. And of course, we might trade back, or trade up, or stay put. Jones isn't really giving any solid clues, but at least the draft is next week. We'll know for sure then.
If you want to read the full transcript of the interview, here's a link to an article that covers it in depth: