News: Eatman: Tricks Of The Trade

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Mavs Man, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    Nick Eatman Staff Writer
    April 25, 2004, 8:15 p.m. (CDT)

    IRVING, Texas - When the NFL Draft began Saturday morning, the Cowboys were sitting there with just five draft picks, one in each of the first five rounds.

    But by the draft's conclusion Sunday night, the Cowboys used those picks to bring in a total of nine new players, eight rookie draft picks and one veteran through a trade. And most importantly, the Cowboys also were hording a first-round pick from Buffalo for next season.

    Mission accomplished.

    "Our goal today was to utilize the extra pick that we went got from the trade yesterday and try to get more picks (Sunday)," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "And we were able to do that today. We wanted to get more players in here and we accomplished that."

    The Cowboys had just three picks - a fourth-round pick, and two fifth-round selections - to start the day, but through a variety of trades, they stockpiled four more picks - using three of them on cornerbacks.

    The Cowboys added Georgia's Bruce Thornton late in the fourth round (121st overall) before selecting Boston College tight end Sean Ryan in the fifth. Several trades then produced three seventh-round picks, used to draft Rutgers cornerback/kick returner Nate Jones, Northwestern Oklahoma State wide receiver Patrick Crayton and Purdue cornerback Jacques Reeves.

    The Cowboys also acquired fullback Damian Barnes, a two-year veteran, through a trade with the Buccaneers. Barnes is fullback, but considered more of a special teams player for the Bucs, who sent him to the Cowboys for the right to swap seventh-round picks. The Cowboys only moved down 10 spots in the seventh, then picked up Crayton, who like Nate Jones, is a possibility to the return game.

    In all, the Cowboys made four trades throughout the draft, none bigger than the one sending Buffalo their No. 22 pick in the first round for the Bills' second-round pick (43rd) and a fifth-round pick (144th) this year, along with the highly-coveted first-round pick in 2005.

    Although no running back had been selected through the first 21 picks, the Cowboys opted to trade out of the first round, moving down 21 spots and picking up Notre Dame running back Julius Jones and the all-important first-round pick for next year. The Cowboys didn't have Julius Jones rated much less than the top two backs, Oregon State's Steven Jackson and Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones.

    So it was an easy choice to trade down, picking up the first and a player the Cowboys were high on who filled the team's biggest need.

    "We think Julius Jones is a really good player," Jones said Sunday afternoon. "I think he can really help us at running back. He can get yards when it's not blocked."

    And speaking of blocking, the Cowboys are hoping they addressed their needs on the line by drafting a pair of first-day lineman, including second-round pick Jacob Rogers, an offensive tackle from Southern Cal.

    While Rogers played left tackle for three years at USC, protecting 2002 Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer's blind side for two seasons, he will move to the right side, with a chance to start right away. Flozell Adams enjoyed his best season of his career last year, making his first Pro Bowl trip, and likely will remain at left tackle.

    "We think Rogers has a good chance to step in here at right tackle," Jones said. "He's a big player who can improve our team right away."

    Now third-round pick Stephen Peterman might not play right away, but then that likely will hinge on the future of Larry Allen, who for now is still with the Cowboys. In fact, Jones said the Cowboys had to receive a first-day draft choice to part with Allen. Nothing happened on Saturday, and true to his word, Allen still was with the Cowboys when the draft ended on Sunday.

    When asked if he thought the Cowboys would eventually work a trade for Allen, Jones said, "As I stand here today, I see him with us. "And I don't foresee anything changing right now."

    And when asked if there was any scenario the Cowboys would just outright release Allen, Jones adamantly said, "No, no. no."

    But Allen will not be the only projected starting guard potentially feeling heat from Peterman. Right guard Andre Gurode drew the ire of Bill Parcells on a several occasions last season, particularly for his pre-snap penalties. He lost his starting spot for one game in early December, but returned to the starting lineup for the last three regular season games.

    By drafting two more, the Cowboys now have 14 offensive linemen on the roster, not counting a few rookie free agents likely to be added to the mix.

    The Cowboys aren't as full at cornerback, but they did add some depth to the position Sunday by drafting three corners, although two in the seventh round.

    Thornton, a teammate of Quincy Carter as a freshman at Georgia, started three seasons for the Bulldogs, but had just four interceptions.

    The Cowboys just didn't have much depth behind Terence Newman at cornerback, with just five-year veteran Donald Mitchell coming back from injury, and youngsters Pete Hunter, Jemeel Powell and Andrew Davison all lacking experience.

    "(Thornton) has some good size and he's a lot quicker when you watch him," Jones said of the Georgia cornerback. "He's got a chance to come in here and do some things. I wouldn't dismiss that he could come in here and compete with the players we have (at cornerback)."

    After adding three seventh-round picks, the Cowboys kept cornerback in mind, taking Jones and Reeves, although Jones is more of a kick-return specialist.

    Last year, the Cowboys reached in the sixth round to draft unheralded wide receiver Zuriel Smith as a return man. This year, adding Jones is a similar pick, considering he wasn't rated on many draft boards.

    But his statistics in the return game are impressive, averaging 28.3 yards per kick-off return in 2002, then 25.7 yards last season, along with scoring three touchdowns.

    While Jones is more of a kickoff returner, this seventh-round pick could help returning punts.

    Crayton, a local player from suburban DeSoto, Texas, led the NAIA with a 26.7-yard kick-off return average as a sophomore. He also scored three touchdowns and averaged 18.2 yards on his punt returns as a junior. At Northwestern Oklahoma, where he was a teammate of current Cowboys safety Lynn Scott for a season, Crayton played wide receiver and quarterback, along with returning kicks. While special teams will be his primary focus, the Cowboys will use him at receiver.

    And by drafting Ryan in the fifth round, the Cowboys have probably filled their needs at tight end, and should have some strong competition in training camp. It would seem unlikely now the Cowboys sign veteran tight end Marco Battaglia, brough in for a visit a couple of weeks ago

    Ryan (6-4, 266) is a solid blocker, and adds size to the tight end group, which also includes Dan Campbell, Jason Witten and four-year veteran James Whalen, one of the team's better special teams players.

    "In general, we had just five picks, but we were able to add more players," Jones said. "That's what we wanted to do. We wanted to get some guys in here that give us a chance to address some of our needs. And I'm confident we were able to do that."
  2. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    Jerry's favorite qualifier.

    "As I stand here today, I don't see us making a change at head coach."

    Boom, Campo's gone.

    "As I stand here today, I don't see us bringing in another quarterback."

    Boom, Henson arrives.
  3. guag

    guag Currently operating within established parameters

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    If that isn't a typical JJ quote, I don't know what is.
  4. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    As I stand here today, I don't see us waiting very long before we win another Super Bowl.


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