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Stephen Jones talks draft options, and possibly trading picks heading into the draft

In terms of giving details, Stephen Jones was pretty vague, but he gave enough information to read between the lines.

Minnesota Vikings v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It’s about time for more news around the NFL to slowly leak out about make moves in the draft as well as zeroing in on certain players that teams are interested in heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. Well, the same goes for the Dallas Cowboys and it looks like the majority of the information we’ve been speculating about over the last few months has started coming out. Stephen Jones gave an interview to K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 The Fan, and in true Jones fashion, talked around certain questions while still giving subtle clues as to what the Cowboys could be thinking in terms of who they like and directions they may go in the draft.

One of the big takeaways from the interview was what the Cowboys are looking to do in the draft to build their roster, and what curveballs might get them to go in a different direction. Jones during the interview in responding to the question about the first pick in the draft said:

“We think we’re going to get great opportunities because of the depth, not only because of the quarterback but the offense in general. We made no bones about it: barring something very opportunistic, we certainly want to improve our defensive football team. So, certainly, the top end of that draft helps us in terms of what we might see there defensively. As I said, you can always use help anywhere, whether it’s the offensive line or anywhere else. But certainly, this should be pushing some defensive football players our direction.”

Once again we see Jones talking pretty vaguely as to not tip his hand as to who the Cowboys are focusing on. But with the way he was talking about offensive players, it makes it seem as though he’s laying the groundwork for the Cowboys to possibly trade down in an effort to gain more picks to help this defense. We know that last season they were very opportunistic when first-round pick CeeDee Lamb fell to them. It seems like that’s the type of players that will get them off their current strategy to build this defense.

The reason we can come to this conclusion is due to what Jones would go on to say about the offensive talent in the draft, and also say about the interest from other teams in their 10th pick. Here’s Jones talking about if the Cowboys see an offensive player they like as well as a defensive player they like still on the board at 10.

“But I think defensively we have to get better. Certainly, that’s one of the goals in this draft is to improve defensively, and, as you said, if the right guy presents himself, not unlike CeeDee [Lamb] did last year, you just got to be in a situation where he’s by far the best player left on the board, then you’ve got to have confidence that you can make that selection.”

Jones would later be asked about the reports about Jerry Jones and a certain Florida Gator tight end as well.

“He’s a unique matchup player and certainly if you look at the Chiefs and the 49ers and the way New England has utilized (TE) over the years, these mismatched tight end players can certainly make a difference in offensive football.”

So looking at what Jones has said, it sounds like the Cowboys are only interested in taking an offensive player if they are a generational talent. Which to some means tight end Kyle Pitts, but you also have to throw offensive tackle Penei Sewell into the conversation. It’s not too often that you find a 20-year-old offensive tackle who’s ready to come into the league and start. Oh, wait, we have seen it before in Cowboys first-round pick Tyron Smith back in 2011, and look how well that turned out for them. So it seems more like there are two players that the Cowboys would change their draft plans, Pitts and or Sewell.

With Jones saying this, we also have to believe that there’s only one reason this team would trade down and that’s if a quarterback is pushed down to the 10th pick, but it depends on how much a team is willing to give up. The Cowboys could trade back as long as they believe a starting-caliber defensive player is still available in a range they are comfortable if the right opportunity shows itself in terms of compensation for the 10th pick. Jones spoke about this as well.

“They kind of give you the call – ‘Hey, if our guy’s there, we’d be interested in moving up to the pick,’ and they may even throw out a few things like ‘What would it take?’ and those types of things,” Jones said. “So you start to get yourself in a mode where you’re prepared that a particular team could call if their player is there – whether it’s a quarterback they’re after or an offensive lineman or a defensive player.”

It’s possible they haven’t really received any solid offers or had any in-depth talks about a trade, and Jones may be trying to manufacture more interest in the 10th pick so that the Cowboys have that option. It’s going to be very interesting to see what the Cowboys end up doing next Thursday.

You can hear the entire interview on Audacy.com