2015 NFL COMBINE: Diamond Dez deal deadlock | The pickin’ late debate | Goin Deep-WR draft depth | Wrap Up-OL and TE groups | Bonus MP3 audio downloads
INDIANAPOLIS – Whatever contract negotiations are to come between Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys, they aren’t happening right now, according to team owner/general manager Jerry Jones. Continue reading →
2015 NFL COMBINE: Pounding Ground–The ‘boys big on balance | The Boise State back | Loaded–10 running backs within Top-100 prospects | Bonus Audio
There are few running backs who could have done what DeMarco Murray did last season in Dallas, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones understands that. Continue reading →
2015 NFL COMBINE: Diggin Trenches – Scouting Offensive Linemen from Group 1 | Roger Goodell runs 40 for St. Jude’s | Bench Press (Offensive Linemen) | Top Ranked Offensive Linemen | Bonus Audio
INDIANAPOLIS – With the offensive linemen set to go through the first workouts of the NFL Combine schedule, it’s time to share notes from some of the guys. Continue reading →
INDIANAPOLIS — With the top 300-plus NFL Draft prospects here this week to be probed and prodded for strengths and weaknesses during the combine, those ratings by everybody with a vested interest will be on hold. Continue reading →
2015 NFL COMBINE: Ten eye-catching prospects | Top-32 Scouting Combine/Draft ranking | Making sense of the drills and tests
INDIANAPOLIS – As the NFL scouting combine is now underway, here are 10 players worth keeping an eye on this week in Indy. Continue reading →
2014 NFL COMBINE REPORT: Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones discusses team draft needs, salary cap, and contracts
INDIANAPOLIS – Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones doesn’t want to focus on just one spot in the 2014 NFL Draft.
He didn’t deny the Cowboys’ obvious wants and needs on the defensive line, but he said Wednesday that teams get in a lot of trouble by narrowing their scope to just one position when it comes time to draft.
“You start targeting something and drafting for need, we all know that’ll get you in trouble,” Jones said. “It’ll be nice to come out of the draft at some point with a defensive front guy, defensive lineman or two. But no, I don’t think we can just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to take the first two picks and it’s got to be defensive linemen.’ I think you get in trouble that way.”
Jones said he wants players to be graded based on what they deserve, and he’s talked to the scouts about not grading players a certain way based entirely off team needs. He said the team has to fight that natural urge of grading by need.
“In some cases, it can help to do deals,” Jones said. “I’d read where someone didn’t understand it, because they said, ‘How did they do (Dan) Bailey? That hurts them this year.’ Well, it didn’t hurt us, it helped us.”
Jones talked at length Wednesday about a variety of other offseason topics as well, from possible restructures to extensions to injuries and scouting. Here’s some notes from those comments.
- Anthony Spencer’s free agency leaves questions about his future with the Dallas Cowboys, but there’s also questions about his health going into 2014 coming off microfracture knee surgery. Jones said it still remains to be seen how healthy Spencer will be at the start of the year as he works the injury and goes through rehab, but he knows Spencer wants to play.
- Jones said the biggest misconception about the draft room is that owner/general manager Jerry Jones just “sits up there and out of the clear blue just grabs a guy and says we’re going to take him.” He said that’s not how it works, and generally there’s a consensus about a player.
“We spend millions of dollars in our scouting department and we spend a lot of money on our coaches and everybody has tremendous input,” Stephen Jones said. “I think it’s a good system.”
- The Dallas Cowboys got a boost earlier in the day by winning the No. 16 pick in a coin flip with the Baltimore Ravens, which Jones said can be valuable when trading back based off of trade charts.
- Jones wouldn’t go into details about specific players’ restructures this offseason, but he said every player must be looked at to see the resources being allocated. He said there are still several scenarios, but he’s comfortable with where the team’s at and knows he still has time to get everything settled.
- The fifth-year option on Tyron Smith’s contract has to be made by the spring, but Jones said that won’t take any urgency away from potentially getting a longer deal done with the left tackle.
- Jones said he thought Sharrif Floyd was graded right (2013 NFL Draft) based on his talent, but it’s debatable if he was graded the right way based on the team’s system. The Dallas Cowboys ended up trading back and grabbing Travis Frederick in the first round rather than taking Floyd, who had a first-round grade. Jones said it can be tricky when a team changes a system, and the Floyd circumstances won’t happen again. He knows the team got criticized by some for the move, but he believes they ended up making the right decision based on their defensive system.
- The Dallas Cowboys are looking at their hamstring problems and how to deal with the situation. He said no one’s happy with what occurred, and the team is looking internally to see how to improve the Dallas Cowboys injury problems. They’re also looking at how past teams have stayed healthy and are considering the age of players, their work habits and the shape they’re in.
In a matter of days, the Cowboys dramatically transformed their roster earlier this month. They added seven new veterans — most notably cornerback Brandon Carr, whom they signed to five-year, $50.1 million contract.
Before the Cowboys launched their aggressive campaign in free agency, team owner Jerry Jones said at the NFL combine that "I think this team will have talent to compete for a Super Bowl."
He couched that comment in the context that a championship-level team doesn’t have to be dominant, pointing to the fact that 2011 Giants won the title despite finishing 9-7 during the regular season.
Flash forward to Friday, and Jones is even more optimistic about his team’s outlook.
"From where were sitting at the combine," Jones said, "we’re improved. I feel we have fundamentally improved our chance to have depth and improved our competition."
Jones said he was pleased with how well the team implemented its strategy, which he said was formulated in three months. He said "the combination of how we prepared, our plan, and how aggressive we were" yielded positive results.
The individual units with the team that desperately needed to upgrades — offensive line and secondary — were fortified, Jones added.
"We pointed to those areas and thought they needed improvement and had handicapped us last year," he said. "And so, if we can be better there, then we could be better. And I feel we’re a better football team after what we’ve done in free agency."
The series of moves the Cowboys have made not only have changed the complexion of the team in its current incarnation but have also affected how the the club’s executives, scouting department and coaching staff will approach the draft.
Last month, Cowboys officials expressed hope that they would be able to address their most obvious personnel deficiencies through free agency so that the team would be in position to take the best players available during the draft.
"We have done that," Jones said emphatically.
For that reason, Jones seems satisfied with the progress the Cowboys have made in their efforts to bolster their roster.
"We had a plan and we had a wish list of specific players," he said. "I don’t know when we have ever had more success when executing our plan."
And, according to Jones, their mission to restore the Cowboys may not be over. Asked if there is a possibility the team will bring in additional players in the near future, Jones was coy.
"We have the room and we can," he said. "So I wouldn’t close the door."