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Cowboys draft 2018: What did we learn from the pre-draft press conference?

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A few interesting hints typically come out of the annual pre-draft presser.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The annual Cowboys pre-draft presser with Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett is usually must-watch online TV. They’re not going to tip their hand exactly but there are little nuggets of information that can be precursors to what happens on draft day. So, what were the important parts that we need to keep in mind for this week?

One common thought that has been floated by national media is that having the Draft in AT&T Stadium means that Jerry Jones is going for the splash move but the owner called foul:

Stephen Jones was asked about their approach to free agency and he was happy with the moves they made. With that said, he reiterated his strong belief in the draft and took a shot at teams that don’t draft well:

With rampant speculation about the Cowboys possibly trading for a certain veteran free safety from the northwest, Stephen’s comments suggest that Dallas will only do so if they get to negotiate a new deal for him:

The absolute most hilarious moment was when questions turned to the head coach about his use of profanity in the “All or Nothing” series. Jason Garrett did his best to tip-toe around that but Jerry Jones intentionally used Garrett’s favorite word, causing the room to erupt in laughter:

When it comes to trading, nobody does it better than Jerry Jones. Most scenarios this offseason with trades were moving back, not too much talk about moving up. However, if the opportunity presents itself, the Cowboys are certainly ready to work the phones:

Which would most likely be in the event one of the top talents like Roquan Smith, Derwin James, Minkah Fitzpatrick, or Denzel Ward find themselves in striking distance.

Moving on to discussion about offensive linemen, the Cowboys want to keep the options open which is why they looked at tackles, too. They definitely seem to believe in that “best five” mentality:

The Cowboys are pressing the reset button at receiver, Jerry was very clear when he closed the door on any reunion with Dez Bryant, they’re moving on:

Also mentionable at receiver, the Cowboys showed interest in SMU’s Courtland Sutton, who is built in the same vein of Dez, in that ‘X’ mold. Jerry Jones said that they don’t believe finding a pure ‘X’ receiver will be an option with this class:

Linebacker has a been a position of thought lately due to a combination of Anthony Hitchens’ departure, Sean Lee’s injury history, and an unset plan with Jaylon Smith. They also just have an apparent lack of depth at the position. There are some that have advocated getting a linebacker in the first round, Stephen Jones seemed much more comfortable where they are at:

The Cowboys have plenty of picks to go after linebackers even though they hardly would pass if one of the top guys came to them. It begs the question though if Stephen is part of the camp that believes they need more value early and linebacker can wait.

So, to recap, here’s the gist of the Cowboys line of thinking with this draft:

  • Certainly not forcing a move up but will pounce on opportunities if within reach of a top talent
  • They’ll be looking at ‘Z’ receivers which means Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, Anthony Miller, and others are all still in consideration and that they don’t view Courtland Sutton as a clone to what they lost.
  • Linebacker is a priority but will most likely be addressed after the first round
  • They’re playing the five best offensive linemen which means La’el Collins at right tackle is written in lead not ink.
  • Trading for a veteran during the draft won’t happen unless the Cowboys get control of the negotiation process. They’re not interested in trading for a guy and letting him play out his one-year contract.