INDIANAPOLIS – If there is one thing Dallas can hang their hats on over the last decade, it's staying true to their draft board and taking the best player available.
Since Dallas selected Mike Jenkins in 2008, all but two first round picks have made the Pro Bowl at least one time in their career. This offseason, however, doesn't seem as clear cut as years past with the Cowboys drafting 24th overall, in what seems to be an underwhelming class of prospects.
That, paired with the multiple glaring needs on the roster entering 2022, makes this draft process a crucial one. One where chief operating officer Stephen Jones has multiple options to explore when addressing their roster, including a high-pressure situation when hitting on their draft picks again.
"We have to be efficient in the draft, in order to improve our team," Jones said. "If you set your team up and allow yourself to take the best player available. That's how you have efficient drafts."
One of the more successful picks over the forementioned period, was their most recent first rounder, Micah Parsons, who had a historic rookie season for the franchise.
"What you want to invest in during the draft is the best possible player," Jones said. "And that's what happened with Micah in spades. A lot of people were looking at 'what did you draft Micah for?' You've got Jaylon [Smith], you've got Leighton [Vander Esch], now they're both free agents and Micah is considered one of the better defensive players in the league."
According to Jones, Dallas will aim to do something similar again this season, by taking the best player available instead of drafting for need alone.
"We go through a thorough process on every player knowing that you could have a surprise and some of these players could drop to you," Jones said. "I just think it's doing your work and giving a guy the grade he deserves."
It's a process that the Cowboys front office has succeeded with in recent history, with picks like Parsons, CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. In fact, since Jenkins in 2008, the Cowboys have picked 11 players in the first round. Only Morris Claiborne (2012) and Taco Charlton (2017) failed to make a Pro Bowl.
And again, with so many questions both on the team and in the draft class, the pressure is on to fill many roles. Including those that may not be on the radar even this week.
"All things are in play," Jones said. "We're not going to address individuals, but all of that is in play when you're trying to figure out what's going to give you the best chance to win."