FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys sit just outside the top half of the first round in this year's NFL Draft, but Jerry Jones thinks the No. 17 pick could offer a lot of possibilities Thursday night.
"I like our 17th hole. I like the spot we're in at 17," the Cowboys' owner/general manager said during Tuesday's virtual pre-draft press conference.
Jones believes "without question" that quality players will be available when they go on the clock. But he also didn't seem to rule out a potential trade back, depending on how the first round shakes out.
"On the other hand, there's quality enough players there that could excite a trade and that would be someone coming to you to give you more value," he said.
Jones' reference point is 2013, the last time the Cowboys traded out of their first-round pick. That year they started at No. 18 and moved back 13 spots to take future five-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick at 31. They picked up an extra third-rounder in the process: wide receiver Terrance Williams, who became a five-year starter for them.
A caveat to the possibility of trading down: The Cowboys would have to be confident that a prospect they like would still be on the board later. But, it did work out six years ago.
"We didn't have someone right there (at No. 18) that we thought justified the pick. We traded down, picked up enough to get Williams the receiver, netted that out of the deal and got Frederick," Jones said. "That circumstance is possible if you can in any way look at the makeup of the draft and predict that, which you really can't. But there's enough here to work with."
One possibility Jones seemed to rule out: the idea, generally speaking, that the Cowboys could trade the 17th pick for an established veteran on another team.
Asked about that as a hypothetical, Jones said, "At this time of the year, draft pick values are heightened because all of the teams in the NFL want to pick and want to use that pick to pick up a player for now and in the future and one that's salary cap friendly. So the idea of trading a very valuable No. 1 for an existing player that more than likely is going to cost you a lot more is unlikely."
As for needs, most draft observers believe secondary and pass rush help should top the Cowboys' wish list. But team brass doesn't feel they need to reach for any position this week, citing the additions they've already made in free agency.
"I've always said player acquisition is 365 days a year. It's a lot more than just the draft," Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said. "We just don't feel the pressure to have to take a certain position early."