Is finding an edge rusher still the biggest offseason need?
Stephen Jones: There's no question. That's why we always have to continue to be better. We haven't done a good job of that. We've tried in several different ways to make that happen. But as we sit here today, we don't have that player. We saw glimpses of that with Randy Gregory, but that's a huge question mark as to when he might be able to come back and be a football player in the NFL. Getting his life off the field in the right order is the most important thing.
But in the mean time, there's no question what our needs are. The focus is gonna be on defense. You don't ever shut your eye to a player who can help improve you on the offensive side of the ball either. We showed that last year when everybody knew how bad we needed defense and we obviously picked Zeke. Had the right rationale for it. I don't think anything could have gone more according to plan than picking Zeke.
I don't think you ever rule out anything. That's how you make huge mistakes. But I think it's obvious to anyone who watches our football team that the defensive side of the football, especially our front seven, is where we need the most improvement.
Where Stephen was a little circumspect in his answer, and was careful to leave open the possibility of drafting an offensive player, Jerry Jones was much more direct.
The Cowboys are looking for a "War Daddy" for their defense, Jones the elder told ESPN Dallas 103.3 via the Dallas Morning News.
On if he would go out and get a top pass rusher...
Jones: If I have a chance to bring one of these premiere pass rushers, one of these war daddies that takes two to block, if I have a chance to get a player like that - I would...it's not a question of that. It's a question of where is he? And who gives him up if he's a veteran, or where is he in the draft, or where is he anywhere? So, yeah we do need pressure. We're going to try to do something about it.
The Cowboys are in luck in that the 2017 draft class is widely viewed as having outstanding depth, especially at pass rusher.
“Depth-wise, it’s great,” one AFC executive told The MMQB. “What I like about it is, if we do our job and have faith in our scouts, we can get starters into the fifth round.”
“It’s a very good draft,” added a top personnel executive for an NFC team. “If you’re in a position like Cleveland is with a lot of picks—and you still gotta pick the right guys—but it’s an excellent draft. Very deep across the board.”
When looking over this class, there could be as many as 10 first-round talents at pass-rushing positions, almost an unheard of amount of depth for any position in any draft class. If you're a team in need of a player who can put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, you're going to be smiling at your draft board come April.
Of the big names in college football, the only top pass-rusher who is returning for his senior season is Boston College's Harold Landry, who recorded 16.5 sacks this past season. With so many underclassmen declaring, after so many returned last season, the 2017 draft class really is like having two seasons of prospects in terms of top pass-rushing potential.
There's no excuse for coming out of Day 1 with a massive hole at the position this year.
At the same time, this year's free agent class looks to be one of the weakest ever, and the few average pass rushers will undoubtedly command a king's ransom from desperate teams.
For the Cowboys, that means they'll have to look at the draft (and perhaps their own roster) for reinforcements. Or should they look to acquire such a player in a trade
The Cowboys have been trying for years to fortify their front seven, is this the year they finally find their "War Daddy"?