With the draft just days away, the brain trust of the Dallas Cowboys sat down for the annual pre-draft press conference. Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garret answered questions from the media about the draft and a couple of other things. While many such events lead to little real information, this annual event has often led to some real insight into the thinking of the team, and this year was no different.
First, here is a link to the video at the mothership if you haven't seen it yet and would like to form some first hand opinions.
If you would rather read the remarks, here is a transcript courtesy of the hard-working Mark Lane. He did leave out some minor things, like the classic "C'mon, Clarence" from Stephen when a certain beat writer asked a rather loaded question about Jerry being "locked up" on draft day.
Here are some of the main points.
It doesn't look like the team is in the market for a quarterback at four (it is widely assumed that Paxton Lynch would be the best remaining one at that point), and the team is trying to avoid overdrafting one at any pick.
Jerry Jones also said it's not a high priority to draft a developmental quarterback in this particular year - "certainly not a high enough priority to make a bad decision or a forced decision."
Nobody committed the team to one path over another, but there was a definite lean to staying in place and taking the best player remaining - and with only three off the board by then, at least two of them quarterbacks that likely were not in the top three or four names for the Cowboys, it makes a ton of sense.
Although the event focused on the draft, the subject of the four game suspension for DeMarcus Lawrence did come up, and Jerry Jones acknowledged it was not good, but did not change things for the draft.
"The loss of Gregory and the loss of Lawrence is a setback and certainly that has put us on a horse so to speak to get in here and call on some guys to fill those voids," said Jones, who pointed out the draft strategy for defensive end hasn't changed. "How it would impact us in this draft? I really don't think it has. It was a setback."
Although the first thing that pops into your mind might be a question about what a good time would be, this article points out that the first four games include two division rivals. And all four games would likely be a lot easier with a solid pass rush.
Returning to the presser, this comment was taken different ways by different observers. Some felt it meant the Cowboys were not looking to take Ezekiel Elliott at four, but when taken as a whole, the sense most got was that the choice for Dallas was pretty much down to Elliott or Jalen Ramsey. Not a bad set of choices, really. Joey Bosa, by contrast, got some comparatively lukewarm comments.
Speaking of Elliott, he has gained support from two well-known figures.
There was also one other big headline regarding the Cowboys.
Although the option of cutting Brandon Carr has always been there, it appears the team did actually offer him a choice of taking a pay cut or being cut. The announcement of the reduction seemed to come out of the blue, but as Mike Fisher said in replying to a Tweet of mine, It's "a delicate dance." Of note is that there is a May 1 roster bonus of $1 million, which means the Cowboys are keeping options open depending on how the draft plays out.
Circling back to the idea of drafting a quarterback, this looks at some names that fit all over, including one that has started getting mentioned recently as a late round option, Brandon Allen.
Unlike the above-mentioned prospects, the 6-foot-1 Allen doesn't have an ideal NFL frame, which has made him more of a mid-round option in the eyes of outside draft experts. But he played in a pro-style system at Arkansas and was productive in the ultra-competitive SEC, throwing 30 touchdowns and only eight interceptions as a senior.
Looking a bit further afield, Trevone Boykin may have rendered himself undraftable with an arrest issue, but could he be a possible UDFA the Cowboys might want to consider?
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: "He might be written off as too small or a "system quarterback", but he has shown tremendous growth as a passer and leader while building an impressive resume over the last two seasons. Boykin throws with some anticipation and has the arm talent and mobility to warrant a late-round pick even if he will need extended work learning to read defenses. There is a chance that his arrest at the end of the year could prevent him from being drafted."
One of the knocks on Bosa is that he is not really great coming off the edge as a pass rusher. Noah Spence may be the best at that this year.
Spence is the only guy I've broken down so far who can win consistently around the corner and with inside moves as a pass rusher. The caveat, again, is that it was only three games, but he looked pretty dominant as a pass rusher in all three.
Meanwhile, there were two very big NFL stories outside the world of the Cowboys.
The most dismal story of the past couple of years has just reared its ugly head again with the reinstatement of the Tom Brady four-game suspension over Deflategate. it no longer is about whether it is right or wrong. It is all about the fact that the players' union signed on to this.
Debates about psi and the Ideal Gas Law are mostly academic now. The Second Circuit made it very clear in its decision that it is primarily concerned with what Goodell is allowed to do under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between players and the NFL.
The court explains that it tends to be deferential to arbitration in labor disputes. It recognizes that an arbitrator -- in this case, Goodell -- can make an imperfect decision, and that "even if an arbitrator makes mistakes of fact or law, we may not disturb an award so long as he acted within the bounds of his bargained‐for authority."
Nothing like a little Eagles Schadenfreude. Thank you again, Chip Kelly.
Sam Bradford has informed the Eagles that he wants to be traded and will no longer show up for their off-season program, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday on Twitter.
The declaration comes just days after the Eagles traded the No. 8 pick, next year's first-round selection and other draft picks to the Browns to move up to the No. 2 spot in search of one of the top two quarterback prospects, either California's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz.