Just how honest NFL personnel are choosing to be will become more clear a week from now after the first round of the draft. With so much on the line and the draft being so close, this is typically when people hold their cards closest to the vest.
The Dallas Cowboys have always operated a bit differently with how they choose to partake in the media. Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett (and now Mike McCarthy) have all been part of the airwaves in different capacities as news around America’s Team has never been in short order.
The Cowboys are apparently not feeling a “heightened” need for a linebacker
It was Stephen Jones who took to 105.3 The Fan on Friday afternoon, and with the draft just around the corner, the subject of the NFL Draft was obviously the center of discussion. There has been a lot of growing chatter about the Cowboys potentially taking a linebacker with their first-round pick, and whether it was truth or strategy, Stephen Jones offered his thoughts on the matter.
“That’d be news for me in terms of a heightened need for the linebacking position.”
It could be totally true that the Cowboys don’t feel a gigantic need to acquire a linebacker with their first pick... or this could be Stephen Jones posturing and trying to throw other teams off the scent.
Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith have the Cowboys’ support
It was reported this past week that Roger Goodell won’t announce whether Randy Gregory and/or Aldon Smith will be reinstated before the draft begins which is, at the very least, a point of inconvenience for the Cowboys. It’s hard to understand why this is the case.
While the Cowboys should be operating their draft process independently from the potential returns of Gregory and/or Smith, it is logical common sense that knowing for sure that they would have those pass rushers would influence their draft strategy, at least somewhat. Stephen Jones expressed nothing but support for the two.
“You certainly want to give them every opportunity to have success with their battles off the field and that they’re ultimately get to a good spot when they’re ready to take the next step and play football again. Certainly, our league, with the infrastructure they have in place, will certainly evaluate that and let us know where they stand at some point in time. We understand that it’s not the Cowboys timing, it’s when the NFL office and their resources that they have after they finish evaluating these gentlemen and the work that they’ve put in to get better off the field, that they’ll certainly let them know as well as us know if and when they’re going to be reinstated.”
There seems to be a wide-ranging level of optimism that the Cowboys will get their defensive ends on the field this season, but the difference between thinking it will happen and knowing it will happen is quite stark.
The Jalen Hurts interview doesn’t have anything to do with Dak Prescott’s contract negotiations
The Cowboys have been doing a fantastic job of giving fans a peak behind the curtain as far as how the draft process works for them. It has been fascinating to try and analyze the bread crumbs that they’ve dropped.
For the past few weeks the Cowboys have released clips of the team interviewing several draft prospects and interestingly enough the first one was with Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. It was curious to wonder why Dallas would show off even the slightest interest in a quarterback, but Stephen Jones was firm in that it had nothing to do with Dak Prescott’s pending contract.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with Dak’s contract in terms of our interest in a quarterback. We’re always looking to get better...always looking to have a good back-up situation, especially if it’s a young player who can develop...I think you’re going down the wrong path when you equate it to Dak’s situation, his contract situation. I don’t think it equates to what we’re looking at there.”
It makes sense for the Cowboys to try and get better at quarterback behind Dak Prescott as Cooper Rush is a relatively untested commodity. What’s more is that Rush did sign his restricted free agent tender this offseason, but the future of the backup position could certainly use some clarity.