No running back, no problem for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys
May 4, 2015
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So much for that.
The word all offseason for the Dallas Cowboys was that they needed a running back after the departure of DeMarco Murray to Philadelphia. Apparently the brass in Dallas, led by owner, general manager, and president Jerry Jones, felt different. Instead Jones and company opted to address arguably bigger needs for the team’s roster at defensive back and pass rusher.
In the first round, after top running backs Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon were gone, Dallas selected combine wonder Byron Jones. Jones, a defensive back from Connecticut, can play either safety or cornerback. In February at the NFL scouting combine, Jones broke the world record for the broad jump with a 12’3″ leap.
In the second round, the Cowboys took an even bigger leap of faith than Jones at the combine, by selecting highly controversial Nebraska pass rusher Randy Gregory. Gregory was widely considered the top pass rushing prospect in the draft, and a top ten player overall, fell all the way to No. 60 overall, due to character concerns. At the combine, Gregory allegedly failed a drug test for marijuana, to go along with several other issues with marijuana throughout his time with the Cornhuskers.
The Cowboys however, feel they have a positive system in place to help Gregory succeed both on and off the field.
Cowboys CEO, vice president, and director of player personnel Stephen Jones when speaking with the team’s official website, said he believes that Gregory’s talent is worth the risk posed off the field, and that he is ready to turn over a new leaf with his new team.
“I think anytime you look at somebody who has had a misstep, which he is quick to admit that he had at the combine, you never know what those ramifications are,” Jones said. “I don’t think it was to anybody’s great surprise that he fell out of the first round, but at some point you get your hands around it. That’s why we brought him in here (before the draft) – to do significant and thorough due diligence on him and really get our hands around what type of person he is, what type of character he has and what we think we’re going to be working with going forward.”
Gregory himself acknowledged that he has made mistakes in the past, and that he is ready to move on from them with an eye to the future.
“I know I made a mistake. I know there is only so much I can say – talk is cheap sometimes,” Gregory said. “I really want to show these guys what I can do and I am really serious about what I say. I gave that staff my word plenty of times and I really feel like they believe me. I can’t wait to show them.”
After the second round splash of landing Gregory, the Cowboys went for depth the rest of the way, drafting offensive tackle Chaz Green in the third round, linebacker Damien Wilson in the fourth, defensive end Ryan Russell in the fifth, and linebacker Mark Nzeocha, offensive tackle Laurence Gibson, and tight end Geoff Swaim all in the seventh round.
So, why no running back Jerry? Jones attempted to answer that question when speaking with dallascowboys.com.
“We would have liked to have drafted a running back,” Jones said, “but at the same token, we didn’t think at any given time that we should pass at the player that was there, even with the running backs available.”
Whatever happens this season, hopefully the Cowboys won’t regret passing on a running back in a draft that was heavy at the position.