News: Jennifer Floyd Engel-->Cowboys so needy, but risk is great

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by adbutcher, Apr 24, 2004.

  1. adbutcher

    adbutcher K9NME

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    Cowboys so needy, but risk is great

    By Jennifer Floyd Engel
    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

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    Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones would fill a need and could be there when the Cowboys draft, but will he be the best player on the board?

    IRVING - The Cowboys have a lot of needs to fill with the 2004 draft. They do not have a lot of draft picks with which to fill them.

    They have five selections, barring trading down for more, which is harder than it sounds. The Cowboys wanted to trade down last year and take Oklahoma State defensive tackle Kevin Williams, but they could not find the right deal. So they stayed at No. 5 and followed draft protocol by drafting the best player on their board, which was cornerback Terence Newman.

    If the Cowboys stay where they are this year, at No. 22 overall, things will not be nearly as neat and tidy. There is a very good chance that the best player available when the Cowboys get around to selecting will be a wide receiver. And they need another receiver like they need another baseball-player-turned-quarterback on their roster, which is to say not at all.

    So should the Cowboys draft to the board again? Or should they draft for need?

    "I think you always draft the best available player," Texans general manager Charley Casserly said. "If two players are equal or close, then you draft for need. But, if there is a clear separation on ability, you draft the best player available."

    What if the best player available is at a position where you already have Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn and Antonio Bryant? And what if you really desperately need a running back, a left guard, a right tackle and a cornerback, positions at which you have nobody, hardly anybody and players you've already determined are not good enough?

    "It still has to be the best available player," Casserly said.

    Which does not mean the Cowboys are going to have to spend the 2004 season going with an empty backfield and four wide receivers.

    Much like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the best available player is in the eye of the man making a team's draft board. Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones might be ranked as the 22nd-best player on Cowboys coach Bill Parcells' board, while Florida State defensive tackle Darnell Dockett could be in that slot on Casserly's.

    Both are very good players. Both are expected to de drafted in or around that pick. But they are probably not ranked in exactly the same spot on all 32 NFL boards.

    When people say "draft to the board," it leaves an erroneous perception that there is a great big draft board in the sky on which all of the players have been ranked by impartial observers, and the ranking has been agreed to by everyone in the NFL.

    Yeah, and Joan Rivers speaks for everybody in Hollywood when she ranks the red-carpet d├ęcolletage on Oscar night.

    "Teams adjust these boards to make it work for them. You know that. They all make sure it looks good," ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. said. "But I think if there is that big, big differential, especially in the [era] of free agency, you can't bog down with [drafting for need]."

    Everywhere in the NFL general managers were raising their right hands and solemnly swearing: "I shall not reach."

    Few were as adamant as Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who said the Cowboys would not go beyond what their draft board says for a position of need. They did it before and everybody knows how the Quincy Carter story goes.

    The key words, though, are "their board." Because while a player like Eli Manning started atop almost every team's board and stayed there, a player whose stock begins to rise as the draft draws closer can end up in any number of spots on any number of boards.

    Look no further than University of Miami guard Vernon Carey for an example in this draft.

    When the Cowboys started assembling their draft board way back when, there was a consensus that taking Carey in the first round would be a reach. There is no such consensus anymore. He is considered by most to be gone before the second round begins, and his likely draft position has risen to the point now that he could go to the Cowboys at No. 22 and nobody would blink an eye.

    Whereas Kevin Jones, who many believed early on would be gone by the time the Cowboys draft, might be waiting when they get there.

    Both players would be good picks for the slot. What the Cowboys cannot do, if such a player is not waiting for them, is reach and try to make one fit. It is hard, of course. Just ask Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens need a receiver. The fans want them to get a receiver, especially after Terrell Owens begged out of coming to the Ravens.

    Newsome, though, said the fans will have to deal with disappointment if the right player isn't available when the Ravens pick.

    "Where we made mistakes in the past, and where teams make mistakes every year, is that you go in drafting for need," Newsome said. "We realize that we need to improve at the receiver position, but we're not doing it at the expense of taking a lesser player. We'll continue to use the 'best player available' as the way we conduct the draft."

    It is a philosophy teams go against at their own risk.

    Staff Writer Charean Williams contributed to this report.

    2004 NFL Draft

    When: Today-Sunday

    Where: New York

    TV: Today (Rounds 1-3), 11 a.m.-6 p.m. ESPN and 6 p.m. until conclusion on ESPN2; Sunday (Rounds 4-7), 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN and noon until conclusion on ESPN2.

    First-round draft order

    Cowboys' picks

    Round Pick Overall
    First 22nd 22nd
    Second 20th 52nd
    Third 20th 83rd
    Fourth 25th 121st
    Fifth 24th 156th

    1. San Diego

    2. Oakland

    3. Arizona

    4. New York Giants

    5. Washington

    6. Detroit

    7. Cleveland

    8. Atlanta

    9. Jacksonville

    10. Houston

    11. Pittsburgh

    12. New York Jets

    13. Buffalo

    14. Chicago

    15. Tampa Bay

    16. San Francisco

    17. Denver (from Cincinnati)

    18. New Orleans

    19. Minnesota

    20. Miami

    21. New England (from Baltimore)

    22. Dallas

    23. Seattle

    24. Cincinnati (from Denver)

    25. Green Bay

    26. St. Louis

    27. Tennessee

    28. Philadelphia

    29. Indianapolis

    30. Kansas City

    31. Carolina

    32. New England

    Jennifer Floyd Engel, (817) 390-7760
  2. RatisBeast

    RatisBeast Chevy Guy

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    At first, I really really wanted SJ , but Jones is starting to grown on me more and more.... to the point where i wouldn't mind him instead of SJ :D Maybe it's cuz its too early but thats how i feel right now.... :eek:
  3. adbutcher

    adbutcher K9NME

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    I would be happy with either Jackson/Jones or the other Jones/Perry in a trade down. In spite of our draft position I feel surprisingly calm. Maybe it is the calm before the storm but I guess we will see in about 4 hours. :)
  4. jamez25

    jamez25 Active Member

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    The Cowboys wanted to trade down last year and take Oklahoma State defensive tackle Kevin Williams, but they could not find the right deal. So they stayed at No. 5 and followed draft protocol by drafting the best player on their board, which was cornerback Terence Newman.

    interesting ...Williams had 10.5 sacks last year with Minnesota.
  5. Tio

    Tio Armchair QB

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    I have been tweetering with both for a week....
  6. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    Newman gave us a shutdown corner and we where correct on the Williams value in the draft

    That means the scouts GM & Coach did best pratices
  7. Tio

    Tio Armchair QB

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    If only we could of got suggs....
  8. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    The thing about a trade-down for Williams is that most people were projecting him as a pick in the early teens last year. He ended up going to the Vikings in the 7th slot (although 9th overall). If we had traded down, we could very well have traded down too far and lost the player we were targeting.

    The thing about Williams is they must have been drafting him to play with LDE with Elllis moving over to RDE. He would not work as well in Dallas' scheme playing beside Glover.
  9. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    Think of what our CB position would be like today if we didn't have Newman.
  10. morasp

    morasp Well-Known Member

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    What did they end up paying him? The amount for the slot they originally had or the one they "accidentally" slid to?

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