Nick Eatman DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer April 24, 2004, 11:15 p.m. (CDT) IRVING, Texas - The Cowboys couldn't have drawn it up better. The two highest-rated running backs in the draft were both on the board when their turn finally arrived at No. 22 on the opening day of the NFL Draft. But while selecting Oregon State's Steven Jackson or Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones likely would have helped the Cowboys the most this season, they once again proved this draft or anything else they have done during this off-season isn't just about today, but about the future. So this rebuilding process, which began once Bill Parcells took over as head coach two Januarys ago, gained significant steam Saturday afternoon when the Cowboys parlayed their first-round pick into Notre Dame running back Julius Jones, a 2005 first-round pick and a 2004 fifth-round pick by pulling off a trade with the Buffalo Bills. Instead of just sitting there at No. 22 to take one of the top two running backs, the Cowboys completed the trade with Buffalo, moving down 21 spots to the 43rd overall pick in the draft to take Julius Jones. But the real impetus for the trade was the Bills offering the Cowboys next year's first-round pick, now giving the Cowboys a pair of coveted first-round selections for the 2005 draft. "It's never easy to trade out (of the first round)," Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells said. "But getting that No. 1 next year was big for us. I think my experience as a general manager (New York Jets), serves Jerry (Jones) and I both well. We know what that is worth with the two first-round picks. It sets us up next year to be able to maneuver around if we want to." And if that wasn't incentive enough, they ended up getting a running back they liked all along, drafting Julius Jones at No. 43 in the second round. "I thought something was going on when they had a chance to take Steven Jackson, then Kevin Jones and those guys," said Julius Jones, the younger brother of current Chicago Bears running back Thomas Jones. "So I felt something was going on in my favor. I waited and didn't get down. I finally got that phone call. They wanted to get me and I wanted to be there. This is one of my favorite teams in the leagues and I'm just excited to be here. But I've got something to prove." And the man he'll have to prove it to is Parcells, who said it's way too early to define Jones' role in the offense. "I think he's a pretty-well rounded back," Parcells said of his newest running back. "He's quick, elusive and sees it well. And he's a high-character player. That's important to me." The Cowboys addressed other needs, taking Southern Cal offensive tackle Jacob Rogers, a three-year starter for the Trojans with the 52nd pick in the second round and then the Cowboys added more depth on the offensive line in the third by selecting LSU guard Stephen Peterman. While Rogers is expected to compete for the starting right tackle position, Peterman's duties aren't quite as defined, especially since the Cowboys did not make any moves with Pro Bowl guard Larry Allen. The Cowboys had let Allen explore trade possibilities two weeks ago with Detroit and Oakland, and were hoping for nothing less than a third-round pick in return for the 10-year veteran. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys did not receive a trade proposal for Allen, adding he expects the guard to be with the team this coming season. "We're not letting him go as we sit right now," Jones said. "By not making a move today, it narrows any chance we would get anything done. I've talked with Larry last week and I can see him coming back with us this season." And the Cowboys will need Allen and a productive offensive line to see the riches of the draft's headline player. Now Julius Jones might not have been rated as high as Jackson or Kevin Jones, but the Cowboys have been high on him from the beginning. He was one of 12 rookies invited to Valley Ranch the previous week for a visit, and his running style is at least reminiscent to the player the Cowboys have been trying to replace. Now Julius Jones isn't ready to be called the next Emmitt Smith, but his 5-9, 217-pound frame and low center of gravity is at least comparable to the NFL's all-time leading rusher. "There are some things that remind me of when Emmitt was a rookie," Jerry Jones said. "He's got a lot about him that would draw the comparisons. But he might have more ability to bounce it to the outside. We like the way he can run." But Jerry Jones couldn't emphasize enough the three players the team added on Saturday was not necessarily what the team coveted most. Adding Buffalo's No. 1 pick next season gives the Cowboys the flexibility to add two high-quality players or use that ammo to leap high into the first round for an impact player if necessary. "From my experience, I know what you can do with two No. 1 picks," Jerry Jones said. "You have a lot of flexibility there and a chance to do some good things with two first-round picks. "Again, the thinking here is to get two No. 1's and still pick up the running back we wanted and an offensive lineman. It's also another way of saying we saw some things here in Julius Jones that we didn't see in the other backs. They all had certain things you can say about them. But we're excited about the back we got." And the Cowboys seem pretty enthusiastic about Rogers, who should help address another need at offensive tackle. The Cowboys had their eyes set on Arkansas' Shawn Andrews, the offensive tackle who they were hoping would fall all the way to No. 22. But the Eagles made sure he didn't, trading with San Francisco to grab the massive tackle with the 16th pick. And after that, the offensive tackle class dropped dramatically, the Cowboys having Rogers as their next highest rated tackle. "I like his size," Parcells said of the 6-6, 306-pound tackle. "Physically, he looks good. I know he's played left tackle, but I would be reluctant to move Flozell. I think we'll probably start (Rogers) out at right." Rogers also played tight end early in his collegiate career, so flipping to either side of the line of scrimmage shouldn't be a problem, Parcells said. He would be familiar with playing with either hand on the ground. As for Peterman, he is expected to add more depth across the line, as well as game experience, having starting 35 times for the Tigers during his career. "I'm just looking for guys who can come in here and compete," Parcells said. "You don't know what any of these guys are going to do. But you just hope you can get some players who can help you. And I think we've done that today." And with the trade, they got a good start on next year's draft as well.