A year after drafting rookie sensations Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott, nobody was questioning the evaluation process of the Dallas Cowboys.
But when Jerry Jones grabbed the microphone on the Ford Center stage at The Star, he told the crowd of fans that he was hoping for the intangibles of a different Cowboys player in the 2017 NFL Draft, and it wasn't the kind of thing that's easy to scout.
"As much as we studied these players, as much as we evaluate, or talk to their next door neighbors, as much as we look about what they were in school, you cannot measure what Jason Witten had inside of him when we drafted him," Jones said to cheers two hours before the Cowboys would make their pick.
Thursday night, The Star welcomed hundreds of fans to a free watching party for the draft. As the first 20 or so teams made their selections, Cowboy fans had the chance to meet and get autographs from players and Cowboys cheerleaders. There were live tapings of an NFL Draft special for TXA-21 and radio segments for 105.3 The Fan.
Alfred Morris didn't go to a lavish draft party when he was selected back in 2012, so he was excited for the chance to interact with the fans as they awaited the Cowboys selection. "I have no idea who we're going to pick," Morris said. "I'm assuming it's going to be a defensive guy, but I'm excited to find out once they go across the ticker."
The fans rushed to the stage as Elliot and Prescott addressed the crowd, urging them to bring the energy levels up as the selection neared. By 10:20 p.m. Central time, children were beginning to tire, and everyone in the building had a singular focus: Find out who the next Dallas Cowboy would be.
As "DALLAS COWBOYS ARE ON THE CLOCK" came on the screen, there was a buzz in the facility, and when Roger Goodell announced that defensive end Taco Charlton out of the University of Michigan was the Cowboys' selection, it was met with a boom of applause.
Ford Center at The Star will be hosting fans Friday and Saturday as the Cowboys select their second through seventh-round picks. The event is free to all fans.
The fans attending the draft party were certainly happy with the Cowboys' pick of Charlton. Now they'll have months to speculate on whether he'll be the next Cowboy star.
"It's what makes this such an exciting day for our team," Jones told the fans. "We are looking for that fire that's burning deep."