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Draft Central | 2020

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Day 2 Draft Press Conference – Full Transcript


Here is the full transcript from Friday's virtual draft press conference of Day 2, including owner/GM Jerry Jones, chief operating officer Stephen Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy.

(On staying true to their board and whether that reflected their picks in the second and third rounds)

Stephen Jones: "Hats off to our whole team and our whole organization. I think it really played out in our favor. It may not have been the perfect order in terms of how we originally thought it was going to go, but if you do stay patient and you do stay true to your board, I do think things work out for you. Of course, we were just really fortunate. Obviously [Trevon] Diggs was a guy we really liked a lot. We had him in for the interviews, and he was a cornerback that we thought could really be a difference maker for us in terms of coming in and competing and helping us with the loss of Byron Jones. Then, of course, to get a talent from Oklahoma like [Neville] Gallimore, that was certainly a huge, huge win for us in terms of him being there in the third round. So yes, I think that if you are patient, and you stay true to it, and you believe in it, and you have good players that are sitting there, and you're willing to wait on it to come to you, then good things will happen."

(On what they liked about Trevon Diggs and Neville Gallimore)

Jerry Jones: "I'll go first, and I'll let Mike [McCarthy] get into some of their football characteristics that he can address. Big schools, good backgrounds. They played at high levels. The upside on both these players were a big factor. They are very capable of going up relative to all of their skills, yet what they've done shows us that they have those skills. All of them are very physical. They have physical measurables that really are prototype to their positions. They are excellent across the board - all three of these guys - are outstanding athletes, by any measure. So, that is a heck of a combination, and then they have the production. When I look at how we got here, this thing by its very nature is based on how it falls, and it fell right for us these first two days."

Mike McCarthy: "To be halfway through the draft and to be here with these three players feels great. Trevon is someone that we spent a lot of time on. We met with him both at the Combine and through video conferencing. You don't have to watch too much film to get excited about what he brings to the table. I really commend our scouting department and the coaching breakdowns. He is going to be a great fit for how we want to play on defense. If you look at his skill set; not only with his length and his smooth hips and his ability to recover, but the way he attacks the football. He has excellent hands, and he plays – when that ball goes up at the breaking point of a route, he has as good a chance as the receiver to get the ball. You see it throughout his video. Then if you look at Neville Gallimore and what he brings, just his explosiveness, I think will be a great fit for our inside positions on the defensive line. The thing that jumped out to me is his ability to fly down the line and play sideline-to-sideline. I was very impressed with his skillset, and it is exciting, as Jerry has already stated, with his upside. We feel great about the two additions today to go along with CeeDee Lamb."

(On whether Trevon Diggs brings return ability and where Gallimore will play on the defensive line)

McCarthy: "I think like anything, you dMon't have enough of them [defensive lineman]. We'll start Gallimore at the three technique, but if you look at the way the NFL is, it's been averaging about 80% sub offense and sub defense. Two-back offense is coming back into the league more the last year-and-a-half, the last two years frankly, than you had seen in the prior eight or nine years. I think that he is a great fit there. I agree with you on Diggs' ball skills and his ability to be a returner. That definitely adds more value that he brings to our football team."

(On whether they felt they had to draft defense after taking CeeDee Lamb in the first round yesterday, or you trust your board if an offensive player is there again)

STEPHEN JONES: "I think it is the latter. You have to be willing to make some hard decisions. It goes back to if you are a big believer that player acquisition is 365 days a year, then you are going to catch up to what you need to do, ultimately. I just think that if you stay true to your board and pick the best players that are available to you and you believe in your scouts and the work they've done; you believe in the work your coaches have done in evaluating these players and you take them off the way you put them up there, you are going to have successful drafts. If it is equal, if it is right there where it is really close – you know we had some discussion like this today. Truthfully, to be honest with you, it was a tough decision for us between Diggs and Gallimore [with the 51st pick]. They were right there. We had some in-depth discussions about what happens if you pass on Diggs there and the depth in the draft at corner versus the depth in the draft in the defensive line. You put so much energy and effort into your board; whether it's the scouts working all year long, whether it's the coaches grinding it out the last three months leading up to the draft, all the work that goes on from your ancillary teams – you just put so much energy into it, and if you stick with it, good things will happen to you."

(On Trevon Diggs having an interception return for a touchdown against Arkansas when he was visiting his son at Arkansas)

STEPHEN JONES: "Absolutely, [Diggs] did stick out. In general, you go watch Alabama, you go watch Auburn, you go watch LSU – you're going against grown men who are going to be playing in this league. I know Mike [McCarthy], he talks a lot about going to college games there at Wisconsin, Ohio State, some of those Big Ten schools. There is nothing like seeing these guys in person in these SEC atmospheres. You are going to really enjoy just watching these great football players live. Then to get a little feedback from [John Stephen Jones] because he is in the quarterback room looking at the defensive side of the ball and how they game planned them, you know it is pretty interesting in terms of the feedback you get from John Stephen. He's been in there with some great coaches who are trying to figure out how to move the ball on these defenses. I think it is a great deal to be able to go to these amazing places like Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida - that's some of the best football in the country. Then to get to see them on these draft boards, that's interesting."

(On what excites them about day three of the draft and what the team still needs)

JERRY JONES: "What excites me is that if it can happen to you on Day 1 and 2, I'm a dreamer, and I like to think it could happen to you on Day 3. I can't wait, if it keeps going like this. We've gotten three players here that we've seen make inordinate - I mean rare - plays. All three of them. They are capable, they've got the upside to get in the habit of that. So, that is fun to get a player with this kind of upside. It is fun to beat the value at the place you draft them, relative to what's generally considered value. That is fun. I am going to try to remember what I've done the last two days and keep it up tomorrow. I'm superstitious - I'm going to go back and do the exact same thing I did last night."

(On relying on the scouts that he didn't know that well for the Gallimore pick)

McCarthy: "Make no mistake about it, in my opinion, your scouting department is the heartbeat and foundation of this process. They're targeting these players long before the Senior Bowl and as early as they can in their careers. Everything they put together, as a coaching staff, you're really relying on them to tee it up for you so we can take a look at them and give them an honest evaluation. I know throughout this process I just can't say enough about Will McClay, our scouts and the job that they've done getting us ready. Just the conversations with the background of each prospect and really being so organized, as a coaching staff we were able to spend a bunch of time on these players and give an honest evaluation."

(On if they were surprised Diggs was there at No. 51 overall)

STEPHEN JONES: "You don't want to say everything is a surprise, but obviously when you're targeting guys and you got guys that you hope might be there, it's nice to see them show up. We've had years where you're snake bit, and you start thinking about a guy that might fall to you, and sure enough the first time you think about him he's gone. So, at the same time, we feel like we've done a really good job with our board. We had a number of players that could be there for us and make us feel good. Certainly, to have Diggs there, candidly, was a surprise to us. That's something that at the end of the day to get a player like that with that type of quality in the second round, you feel good about it."

JERRY JONES: "We have well done, in-depth studies and charts that we all were reviewing this morning before the draft. Before the draft, he was in the 25 percent chance of falling to us there. That was before we even started this morning. That's what all of the estimations of our studies shown, that he was in that percentile. Excuse me, he was in the one percent. Diggs was in the one percent chance of falling to us there. One."

(On if he thinks Diggs can become a "ball hawk" type of player)

McCarthy: "Definitely. I think you answered it in your description. He's so competitive at the breaking point of routes and does a great job of sitting on the breaking point of routes and then turns himself into a receiver. I've had the opportunity to coach the quarterback position and be part of the offense for decades in this league. When you're not as concerned about a Deion Sanders, or guys that will take the ball away from you, you play with a different mindset as a quarterback to the receivers. You're a lot more aggressive with your back shoulder throws and you just play at a different level and confidence when you don't fear the defensive coverage. Trevon brings that element to Dallas with his game, so I think he definitely has tremendous ball skills."

(On if there are still quarterbacks of interest available to the Cowboys tomorrow)

MCCARTHY: "I think the quarterback position is always a priority. I think we all understand the importance of the position in the game of football to your football team. I think as you look to improve your football team, you try to improve every position. At the end of the day, you have to really trust the weight and value of your draft board. Really, I think discipline and patience has been extraordinary, and you definitely see the result of that."

(On how he has sat there and not made trades in the 2020 NFL Draft)

JERRY JONES: "It isn't tough because so often what you don't do is the right trade, but we were very conscious of what was happening. We started the day off and went right up until we drafted working with trades and trying to decide if we wanted to trade up. That was a consideration. We spent a lot of time today thinking about trading up, so yes, that was a part of our day. But the thing of course about this trading thing now is that you have to have someone to trade with. You've got to be ready and you've got to do all the work in case someone wants to make a trade with you."

(On why the Cowboys didn't trade)

JERRY JONES: "Frankly, we really had some that we couldn't get that would have caused us to move up to get the people we got. We couldn't get those trades. Nobody wanted to trade them."

(On the value of drafting a player who played under Nick Saban at Alabama)

JERRY JONES: "Well, he just has the success and the stature to attract the best football players in college or some of the best. Fortunately for everybody else, they're just not limited to the numbers that Alabama can have. There's a lot to go around, so he doesn't get them all. But boy, he does get a high percentage of them. So Alabama says something, and it has everything to do with Nick Saban. He is a defensive secondary coach specialist. Not trying to get into his staff and I specifically don't know this year or the last year or whatever, but I do know he knows defensive backs. He really does a great job of helping the NFL understand his players. He understands what's in his players' best interest, and he understands what's in Alabama's best interest that they come up and be stars in the NFL. That helps him get better players. He's a pro, and an amateur in business."

(On the wait between Diggs and Galimore in the 2nd and 3rd rounds)

STEPHEN JONES: "It was real good. We're obviously very pleased that we're getting Diggs. We're going to get everything organized, get back situated and then you go again. It actually hasn't been that bad. The draft has had a good pace to it, and I really feel like we did have a good group of players. One of the things I've heard in our group who have done a lot of research, they're in our analytics department, this is one of the deepest second rounds in terms of the league consensus that there's been. We had one of our biggest numbers probably ever in terms of the number of players in our second round. There were quite a few players sitting there that we felt like at the end of the day would slide in to that third for us, and we could get a great second round pick with our third round pick. As it turns out, that's what happened with [Neville] Gallimore."

(On the importance of building a position room the right way to help a young player to succeed)

MCCARTHY: "The most important thing is the first step. The first question that is always asked in the process of selection is, 'How is this individual, how does this player fit into the locker room?' That's the first step. Then how they disperse into the position room. It's all part of the evaluation, because at the end of the day, this is the ultimate team sport and fit is important for each and player and with the position coaches."

(On what Neville Gallimore will add to the defensive front)

MCCARTHY: "He's exactly what you're looking for. The more you can do, the more opportunities you put yourself in position for. The fact he can play multiple techniques is something that you look for. It's about rotation. You tend to forget it's a long season. It's going to take all of your players, especially up front. The ability to have versatility pays well for us."

(On what needs to be accomplished tomorrow, and what to do on Day 3 for it to be a positive)

STEPHEN JONES: "I mentioned earlier, who knows what the order is going to be, but I must say, if I knew we were going to come out of here with a back-end player on defense, a front player on defense and a receiver, with our first three picks, that would be hard to have a problem with. From here on out, at this point right now, you stick with your board. This is when the board comes in more than ever. These scouts have done so much work on the back end of this draft. It's very difficult for the coaches to get to the front end of the draft, much less the back end. We are really going to have to count on how we ultimately put this board up. I don't want to dismiss it, but the coaches have, they've done the work on the back end as well, but we really just have to follow our board right here. We have some players up there that have some special qualities, some special traits, that if they are sitting there, they are certainly going to have our attention. Now that we have taken care of something we wanted to get done with these first three picks, you just cut and shoot, and I think it's going to be even easier now that we got done with the first three picks. We are going to be able to really stay true to where we invest all our money, which is our board."

(On Stefon Diggs' letter to his brother, Trevon, and who Trevon is as a young man)

JERRY JONES: "I had a great personal visit with Trevon. We all did. I specifically asked him about the kind of things he had to overcome, the kinds of things that made him the person he is. He was clearly, clearly appreciative of what his brother had been to him. He talked about how his brother was always so demanding and competitive and pushing him to be the best. They both like to catch the ball. Trevon spent a lot of time, still spends a lot of time, catching balls. Of course, one of the things you see immediately is how he plays the ball. He's outstanding. His brother was so much a part of what he is today. I'm paraphrasing my interview with him. I think that is part of what I like. They have exactly the same blood. They actually have some of the same influences that made them be what they are today. That's a pretty safe bet when you get a sibling in this situation, that competed in the NFL. I was very influenced by my interview with Trevon."

(On the big school guys being selected in this draft in particular, due to the pre-draft process due to COVID-19)

MCCARTHY: "I know from a coaching perspective; it's just trusting the process. We've been put through a different evaluation situation with everybody being at home, and you really just trust the information you're given. Whether it's big school or small school, I didn't pay much mind to that personally. With the extra time on video, I go back to my earlier answer on how important the scouting department is to this process. The ability to have the background and all those things in place where you can hunker in, study the tape, put an honest grade on it, start those conversations where everybody in the room has the opportunity to talk about each prospect and get a final grade and set that board."

STEPHEN JONES: "The only thing I would add is obviously Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson – they're regulars in that (College Football Playoff) Final Four, year in and year out. They're also regulars year in and year out as the top of the Draft class. The pedigrees are there. It's hard to argue. When you see these guys then go to the next level at these big-time colleges and then perform at a high level again and win week in and week out and win championships, that's hard to deny these guys. Someone mentioned when you see CeeDee (Lamb) and you see Trevon and you see Neville get off the bus, those are football players. That's who you want getting off your bus. Mike mentioned that about our offensive line, our defensive line – those are the type of players when you see guys unload and they get ready to walk on that field, those are the guys that you hope you're dressing out. Certainly we feel good about these three guys. You look at a corner who's 6-1, 205 (pounds) – that's who you're looking for because those receivers are only getting bigger, faster, stronger. We feel good about these big schools and what they're doing. Especially the guys that are performing at high levels, and obviously these three guys not only came to these schools who end up in the championship games year in and year out, but they perform at high levels."

JERRY JONES: "I look at a little different perspective this year. We really had to make our adjustments after the Combine. When I look at this league; when I look at the Cowboys; when I look at what we allocate financially to the cost of scouting, about 90 percent of it had already been worked. About 90 percent of the whole investment had been done before there were any adjustments made. So it was a process of taking all the arduous travel and time and going to all the schools and being around and all the tape that these guys have studied. For one, I value the December grade that comes in before this work is done at the headquarters of our football team, I value that because it is unfeathered. It's not homogenized by everybody's opinion. That's a different look. But boy, what a job that Will (McClay) and what a job these different regional (scouts) have done to put that together in a farm of presentation and a presentation of evaluation that can be presented under these conditions, which is everybody not in the same room. We're in rooms, but we're not in the same room. And we've done a good job. The technology has not only been there adequately, it has exceeded any expectation. I literally, detail-wise and order of presentation, this is the best that I've ever seen put together and I think we've all learned a lot from that. Adversity sometimes brings up a lot of simplicity. I think that this is the case. I think we've really got a good evaluation of this draft and these players, and I frankly think our first three players reflect that."

(On what the expectations are for the last day of the Draft and if they have any priorities)

MCCARTHY: "My priority is going to be really get back to that board and trust it. There's some positions that you're obviously looking at and you look at the numbers. But really the board has fallen favorably for us and I think we'll just continue to trust the board."

(On how he feels about the team he's building and what position he thinks they're looking for)

MCCARTHY: "We feel really good about the process and everything that's going on. We're obviously in the middle of the Draft here and we're halfway through, so the opportunity to add more players I'm excited about that. I'm excited about what we've started this past week with virtual meetings with our players. This is the time of year where you can make the biggest impact on your roster because of the numbers you can bring in and it's also the time of year your offseason programs can start and you're trying to improve there. I'm really happy and excited where we are, and more excited about where we're going."

(On the COVID-19 pandemic and the re-opening of some cities, the possible re-opening of the DFW metroplex and the possible comeback of sports and business and if it's the right decision or too soon)

JERRY JONES: "That's far reaching and a very convoluted discussion. Having said that, I think that the fact that last night we broke all records with everyone watching this exercise that we go through we call the Draft. There were over 15 million people that watched it. It was able to help when people are hurting when a time that people are wandering and at a time when people don't have the answers – no one does – I think the NFL and sports stepped up and we created a respite. We created a diversion. We created, if you will, some type of 'business as usual' approach. There is no question we're going to get back as a country. There is no question. And when we do, as we always do, we'll be better than we ever were. I'm proud that we got to last night have something that was that much interest. As we move forward and we look at the challenges other sports have; to have that opportunity to be a solace, be a respite for fans, as we look forward to it we will learn. And we'll probably have some things that we'll go forward with that we'll probably have to pull back on. But we'll learn. And make no mistake about it, what we're doing will be a big part of the future of America. I loved what one of the guys said when he said the world changes. It just changes. When we landed on the moon it changed the world. Not because landing on the moon, but because of how we got there. We got there with a box called computers. Nobody ever messed with them much in everyday life. After the moon, everybody started messing with them and it changed the world. It changed us. I think we're involved in something like that that's going to change us, and I certainly want our sport and I'd love for the NFL and football – Americans interest for instance in our football – I'd love for it to really be a plus. And I think this was a plus. And I think that yes, we'll have football. We'll have it and hopefully the effort and the work we're trying to do right here will pay off in a few weeks and months where we're having our fans see real football."

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