Cowboys expect a slow draft day

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones knows he’ll be antsy Saturday waiting through the first round and deep into the second for his chance to make a pick in the NFL draft.

“We’re going to put him in a straitjacket,” Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said Thursday, answering the question before his father could.

Jerry Jones then started to try to explain how he’d feel passing the time until the No. 51 overall pick, but stopped and smiled.

“Put me in a straitjacket,” he said.

And let him loose Sunday, when the Cowboys have 10 picks in the third through seventh rounds.

“That makes this draft very intriguing,” Jones said. “With all the picks we have, (we will) really be in a controlling position, if there is such a thing in the draft, with all that flexibility. … We viewed it as a real challenge.”

The Cowboys have gotten the likes of tight end Jason Witten, running back Marion Barber, defensive tackle Jay Ratliff in the later rounds. And they parlayed some late picks last year into extra choices this weekend.

This will be Jones’ 21st draft since buying the Cowboys. Only once has the owner-general manager had to wait longer to make a pick—in 2001, at No. 53 for Quincy Carter, the last quarterback Dallas got in a draft.

Dallas doesn’t have a first-round pick, having dealt that with third- and sixth-rounders to Detroit last season for receiver Roy Williams in a deal that Jones said he “would absolutely do” again.

There’s been widespread scrutiny, including Troy Aikman saying the deal could be “one of the biggest busts in the history of the league” if Williams doesn’t turn out to be a topflight receiver in Dallas.

“Candidly, when Troy does talk and gives his opinion, I listen, I always have,” Jones said. “We would be tremendously disappointed and should be if that trade doesn’t work out for us. But we are early in this trade. … The verdict is really still out.”

Part of the thought in that deal was to stay out of the first round, though Jones admittedly figured the Cowboys would go deep into the playoffs and be near the bottom anyway. Instead, they missed the playoffs and would have been picking 20th.

“It’s the year before going into an uncapped year, you’ve got different signing issues on picks than you had last year, and so this year is going to be a real challenge in the first round,” Jones said.

So Jones will wait until late Saturday, knowing it’s unlikely to make any significant move upward.

“The bottom line is we’ll have a little slow day Saturday,” Jones said.

It should be much different Sunday for Jones, who has made 51 draft-day trades. The Cowboys completed five deals on the second day last year before finally picking a player.

In preparing for the draft and the long wait to finally pick, the Cowboys still set up their board the same as they did last year when they had two picks in the first round. They figure a few of their projected top picks could slip to them, and for a cheaper price.

“People miss the first- and second-rounders just like they do the fourths and fifths, and it’s all teams,” Stephen Jones said. “We really look at this a great opportunity to improve our team and do it and gain a lot of value while we do.”

Stephen Jones also said it is possible the Cowboys will use all 11 picks for themselves.

“Usually, our best success has come from those players we have picked that we had on the board,” he said. “It’s going to help us because we always have players left on our board.”

Instead of having to compete in free agency with other teams to get them, the Cowboys can draft them this time.


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