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Cowboys news: What Jerry and Stephen Jones are telling us about the draft strategy

The Cowboys news as the draft arrives.

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NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones Always Keeping Draft Options Open - Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com

Jerry just might do anything at the draft, and he wants you to know that.

As usual, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones isn’t ruling anything out when it comes to this week’s NFL Draft.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the club will make a splashy trade up or down in Thursday night’s first round. But Jones and the front office will keep their phone on and their options open.

“We always chum,” Jones said at Tuesday’s pre-draft press conference. “I do it away from the draft. You’re always talking about possibilities or things.

“I think flexibility, we have it here. The way to be ready for it is to literally be prepared. If you had been a fly on the wall this morning listening to our conversations, you would have heard some pretty interesting scenarios about, ‘What if this happens?’”

Cowboys prepared to make ‘unconventional’ picks in 2022 NFL Draft - Jenna Lemoncelli, New York Post

More on Jerry Jones’ draft strategy.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was cryptic in a press conference Tuesday while discussing the team’s draft strategy.

“We will be unconventional if we think it will help our team,” Jones said about Dallas’ approach in the 2022 NFL Draft, beginning Thursday night.

Dallas has nine draft picks in this week’s draft — starting with the No. 24 overall selection, followed by No. 56 in Round 2, and No. 88 in the third round, with six other picks in the 100s.

“There’s probably less risk-taking in me today than it probably was around 30-something years ago,” Jones said.

The 79-year-old explained the importance of drafting players that are readily available.

“If you’ve got a big question mark on availability, do you want to strap on millions and millions of dollars?” he said, reiterating that Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory’s market “got too high for the team.” Randy later signed with the Broncos in free agency.

Possible Pick: Best Position For BC’s Zion Johnson? - Staff, DallasCowboys.com

If it’s not Kenyon Green, it could be Zion Johnson at pick 24.

How He Helps The Cowboys:

If he can play right now on the offensive line, he’ll help the Cowboys. And that’s the thing about guys like Johnson, and maybe Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green, they should be able to be plug-and-play players from the jump. That’s one of the reasons you take a player at No. 24 in the first round, is their ability to step right and fix an issue. And right now, the Cowboys seemingly have issues at guard and center. Johnson has experience playing both and his versatility and readiness to play should help the Cowboys tremendously.

Kyle Youmans’ Report: Small college success story after playing three seasons at Davidson, Johnson made the jump to the ACC and it didn’t take long for him to become a starter. Quick to get to the second level and is always looking for work (usually he finds it). Was the perfect fit in a zone-heavy rushing scheme at Boston College and his lateral ability allowed him to take up multiple defenders at once and really move the line of scrimmage. Played at left tackle for his one season at Boston College and will most likely fit in as a stellar Zone-run scheme guard.

How Ted Williams’ mantra helps explain Cowboys’ big vs. small school draft debate - Todd Archer, ESPN

One of the Cowboys modes of operation lately has been going after big-school prospects in the draft.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, since 2014 when vice president of player personnel Will McClay took over the draft preparation, the Cowboys have made 70 draft picks with 52 coming from Power 5 schools (74%), which is right around the league average. From 2006-13, the Cowboys had 62 selections with 35 coming from Power 5 schools (56%), which ranked 30th in the league.

As the Cowboys prepare for the 2022 draft, that is a statistic that should be remembered.

“Guys in the Power 5 schools have an advantage in the evaluation process because you see them against similar level type of players and programs,” McClay said. “Smaller school players should stand out by dominating at their level or have elite physical traits for the position that can match up to players that play at the NFL level.”

Among the Cowboys’ national pre-draft visitors to The Star, 23 of the 28 players were from Power 5 schools.

“They’re the Power 5 for a reason,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “They’ve got some really good football players, but at the same time there are good players who aren’t in the Power 5 ... I don’t think it’s been a conscientious effort to say ‘Hey, we’re going to get away from smaller schools and look at Power 5 only and that’s where we’re going to pick from.’ It’s more just our evaluation process evolving to where that’s where we’ve ended up over the past four, five, six, seven years whatever time frame that is.”

Recent Cowboys’ first-round pick history almost guarantees a Pro Bowler - Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat

The Cowboys do well in the first round.

As seen in the tweet below, in the last 11 years, nine Dallas draft picks have gone on to become Pro Bowlers. The only years where the Cowboys didn’t have their first-round pick go on to be a Pro Bowler were 2017 and 2012. In 2017, the team selected Taco Charlton, a man often thought to be one of their worst draft picks in recent history. In 2012, Dallas selected linebacker Morris Claiborne.

Jori Epstein of USA Today Sports points out another interesting fact. The players on the list below run the gamut from linebacker to wide receiver to center and more. They also come from a variety of NCAA conferences.

This is a pretty impressive feat. No matter how much research and scouting you do, it’s always hard to know whether a collegiate talent is cut out for the NFL outside of the top couple of picks. Even then, we have seen highly-touted quarterbacks go on to flop in the league.

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