DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH POST DRAFT: Dallas Cowboys scramble to sign priority undrafted free agents | 2014 NFL Draft Prospects

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH POST DRAFT - Dallas Cowboys scramble to sign priority undrafted free agents - Jerry Jones Jason Garrett war room 2014

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys added more pieces in the hours and minutes following the conclusion of the 2014 NFL Draft than they did in the three days of the actual event.

No time can be wasted as teams attempt to sign priority undrafted prospects, and the quicker all the players can arrive, the better.

“It’s really pretty interesting logistically…we didn’t know who we drafted until two hours ago,” head coach Jason Garrett said immediately after the draft. “Now we go through the process, what’re the rules of the school, have you finished your exam, have you graduated, you guys on trimester system…We just felt like it’s important to get those guys in here, if we can, to have three bonus days with them before we go into that minicamp next weekend.”

First-round pick Zack Martin and fifth-round pick Devin Street were both at Valley Ranch on Monday. Garrett said fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens had exams Monday and Tuesday and would arrive after those, while he expected second-round pick Demarcus Lawrence today (Thursday).

“The benefit is simply getting in a meeting room,” Garrett said. “We start there, introduce stuff to them, then on Tuesday and Thursday, they’ll go out with our veteran players on the field, they’ll get an orientation to our strength and conditioning program. These days are valuable. If you have time with them, 45 minutes in the morning, an hour and a half in the afternoon, a couple-three days, you can really learn a lot of football in a short period of time, and we feel like our rookie minicamp will be so much better as a result of that.”

Garrett said with a week in between the draft and the rookie minicamp, players arriving early can be three or four days ahead of where they would be otherwise before taking the field. Coaches also get a better idea of where the player is at physically.

The conditioning of rookies generally pales in comparison to the veterans, who’ve been in the Dallas Cowboys offseason program.

“That’s something we’ve got to be really careful about, really on Tuesday when they go out with our veteran players,” Garrett said. “Our veteran players have been here, and they’re working out and they’re in shape and they’re in our program, so we feel like it’s important to acclimate them to that, but we have to do it very carefully to make sure they’re ready to handle the work.”

The days leading into the rookie minicamp can be valuable. And while it may be unfair, coaches and personnel evaluators may be less inclined to bring in undrafted players with extenuating circumstances forcing them to arrive late.

“I think it impacts that, because it’s always so tight,” Garrett said. “There’s usually a couple guys you’re thinking about, and if the logistics are right with one guy and everything else is even, you’ll probably take that guy. But for the most part, you’re trying to take the best guys, and you can kind of work your way through some of those situations.”

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4 responses

  1. I don’t see any true cowboy fan having much hope this upcoming season. I have been a die hard cowboy fan for 38 years and I have been with them through their high points and low points and two things I know have to happen for us to get back to the boys we were, the boys we are. One is if Jerry Jones stays in his owner box and let the COACH BE THE COACH. I like Jerry, but either coach the team or stay in your box have faith in your coach to know what the team needs, what players we need, and how to get the best out of those players. Oh yeah, the second thing we need if we are going to win? Dallas needs a NEW COACH, IN FACT WE NEED ALL NEW COACHES. You can get different players, change game plans, but until Dallas gets better coaches face it we are going to be dead last in our division this year forget the superbowl. Keeping the same bad coaching year after year will get the same results year after year.

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    1. Hello Debbie. Let me be the first to welcome you to The Boys Are Back website. While I’m going to disagree with some of the things you’ve said, I want to personally thank you for your comments. They are always appreciated and I hope you’ll become a regular reader and contributor to this site. Jerry Jones has owned the Dallas Cowboys for 25 of your 38 years now. Time does fly, right? I think we would both agree that he’s changed (tamed) some over the course of time, especially recently. There is a fading misconception that Jerry Jones is heavily involved in the ‘coaching’ aspects of the team. That simply isn’t true. He does meet regularly with the head coach and he is very aware of the direction and philosophy of his teams coaching staff. Jerry Jones has an exorbitant amount of faith and trust in Jason Garrett. Jones wants Jason Garrett to succeed. I believe there is overwhelming proof that Jones is willing to anything possible (within the NFL rules and salary cap limits) to put a contending team on the field for his coaches to coach. As the general manager and owner/president he is able to avoid the ‘middle man’, so to speak, and make decisions (and take risks) that most GMs dream of!!! Jason Garrett is much more involved in key decisions than the general media give him credit for. The 8-8 results we’ve experienced (during the past two seasons) are more a result of significant injuries to key players than coaching deficiencies. The fact that Dallas was in position to win the NFC East (and make a playoff appearance) on the last game of the season is a testament to this, especially when you take NFL parity into account. If 2 or 3 of the starters were able to play, the outcome would have been different. The coaches are able to get most out of inferior players (couch potatoes), which is a credit to them. It’s taken Garrett (and Jones) 3 1/2 years to assemble this coaching staff and it’s currently among the best in the NFL … including three former head coaches, one of the NFL’s top defensive coordinators and a highly respected offensive coordinator. I assure you, there is a lot of collaboration that takes place between Jones and Garrett. Coaching isn’t the problem in Dallas. The Cowboys need (a few) better athletes that fit into Marinelli’s 4-3 defensive scheme and they need to find a way to overcome the ever-present injury concerns. Some of these young players added during the offseason will go a long way towards that desire. I will say this … most of the coaches are on their last year of their contracts and if the team implodes, you’ll likely get your coaching change.

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    2. As far as Jerry Jones goes, well i was always in his corner for the most part. What hes done with the team as far as marketing relevance , sales, recognition is all brilliant. Let alone what his business savvy has done for the overall worth of our team. On the direct football side lets not blow over those three superbowl victories. Count the franchises with three or less. Those three are in the bank. Its history. Pride. Generations of fans who saw any of those wins will carry that their entire life. Jerry has always done everything he can to win. That is really the only relevant qualification a deserving owner must meet in my view. Try thinking of a cowboys team owned by a slew of other men in this league….it gives me nausea! Theres ONE area that i agree with and its his ways of giving up on some coaches too early. Chan for one. Theresa value in a team who stays with a scheme and system. They need that stability. I believe Jerry Jones has llearned that lesson and is moving forward now in the right way. Ive had criticism for Jason Garrett at times, but slowly he wipes those away each season. I believe in JG and his system. Each draft that comes he loads up to fortify that system with the right guys. Remember, he has had a lot to do in personell to reach where were trying to go. Give him till the end of this year and ask yourself if we can win in his hands.

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      1. You make a lot of good points, including the fact that there are very few teams with multiple Super Bowl wins (or appearances, for that matter). I guess the criticism comes because it’s been 20 years since the Cowboys have been in the big game. I attribute that to the salary cap and a few roster risks that didn’t work out. The fact that Jerry Jones took (and continues to take) risks speaks volumes to me. Think of all of the NFL cities that have owners unwilling to put their necks out and spend money to get playmakers. At least Jones is committed to spending his salary cap and open to make moves when other teams simply let the cash roll in and take whatever happens to the bank. Excellent point about Chan. That’s the ‘one that got away’ in Jones’ mind. i think that plays into his dedication to Jason Garrett. People can say what they want about JG, but he’s the right kind of person for the job. He’s been groomed by some of the best minds in football and is without question capable of taking this team to pinnacle of pro sports. He’s one of a very few that have been able to grow into a collaborative and persuasive partner with Jerry Jones’ inner circle. It’s taken time, but I believe they have the staff in place and the determination to field a young, motivated cast of players to pair with the veterans for a run. Should be a fun year for Cowboys fans.

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