SHELTERED IN PLACE. Texas – Alas, sports.
No more 20-year-later replays. No iRacing. No Esports. Nothing mock.
Yep, the real stuff, 7 p.m. (CT) Thursday. NFL Network. ABC. ESPN.
It's the 2020 NFL Draft, the first real sports we've had since mid-March when this COVID-19 brought the world to a near halt.
Can't wait. Bet you can't either. Seems like Christmas Eve.
And for me, this will be the first time since monitoring my second NFL Draft in 1985, watching exactly like you guys do. From home. Not from The Ranch nor The Star. Probably upstairs with two TVs going, and who knows, maybe two computer hookups, too, that is if I'm allowed to borrow one, if you know what I mean.
Thinking maybe need to get on a Zoom with one of the guys from our staff, just to have someone to talk with, like we've normally done all these years.
And the Cowboys staff? Well, this will be like going back 60 drafts ago to the Cowboys' very first for that 1961 season with two reps from each of 13 teams gathering in a hotel conferencing room making picks. No TV back then. No radio either. Just shouting your picks up front to the commissioner.
Now, this will be a tad more progressive, thanks to the internet and Wi-Fi. The NFL and the 32 teams all hooked up through streaming devices, countless phone lines, 60- and 80-inch video boards in play. Lord help us if the internet decides to go on strike.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stationed in his house. Stephen Jones in his. Mike McCarthy from where he's staying. Same with Will McClay, and all the other assistant coaches and scouts.
Sounds dicey, right? Well, MLS pulled this off for its draft in January. The WBNA just recently pulled off its streaming draft. Glitches come Thursday, Friday and Saturday? Hey, nothing is perfect. Deal with it. Be patient. But bless the IT departments.
Maybe the biggest departure from normality, since this is a favorite of Jerry Jones, the rest of us normally on site would be able to partake in the fried catfish filets and hushpuppies the caterers would cook up for the staff. Might have to go get me some takeout.
But no worries. This day before the draft, cookin' up some shots from home.
- Ready, Set: Normally, for two straight weeks leading up to the week of the draft, the Cowboys front office, coaches and scouting department will meet in the war room five days a week, twice a day, going over position by position. This time those meetings took place through streaming devices. Like all of us, you have to adapt. "I think it's been a good process and I'm very comfortable we know, as of this minute, everything we would be expected to know about every player," Jerry Jones said Tuesday during the club's pre-draft conference streaming with the media. And as for new head coach Mike McCarthy: "It's been very organized. I've been very impressed."
- Trader Jerry: Since Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989, the Cowboys have been involved in 70 draft-day trades. The very first came during that 1989 draft, when the Cowboys and the Raiders were running out of time while on the clock in the second round. So the Cowboys, with the 29th pick selected guard Steve Wisneiwski for the Raiders and then with the 39th pick in the second, the Raiders selected Daryl Johnston for the Cowboys. And for their trouble, the Cowboys also received from the Raiders a third (DE Rhondy Weston) and a fifth (LB Willis Crockett), and gave the Raiders in return a sixth. Weston never made it out of training camp and Crockett ended up playing just one season for the Cowboys. Johnston ended up becoming "The Moose" during his 11 seasons with the Cowboys and Wisneiwski was selected to seven Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pros during his 13 seasons with the Raiders.
- Vet Or Down: Of course, the Cowboys continue to be tied to the Jets' Jamal Adams in a potential trade. But far too costly, the Jets last year when there were in discussions asking for a first and a second for the safety now in the final year of his rookie contract. Can't imagine the price has gone down, and would have to go down considerably, like definitely not a first, if the Jets really want to trade the Pro Bowl safety. And when Jerry was asked about the probability of trading for an established veteran, his answer was very succinctly, "Highly unlikely." Now then, as for trading down? Well, as Stephen Jones said, that depends on what the board looks like when on the clock at 17. One of the best down trades the Cowboys ever have made came in 2013, dropping down in the first from 18 to 31 with San Francisco to continue rebuilding a highly shaky offensive line with five-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick and using the Niners third for wide receiver Terrance Williams. The Niners turned the 18th pick into Eric Reid. If you are playing the odds on a potential trade, bet the down.
- Center Of Attention: Let's not forget the center position. No more Travis Frederick. The capable Joe Looney on but a one-year deal. Nothing remotely proven behind him. Maybe Connor McGovern, a guard who has not played center since 2017. A tough transition if there's no offseason. Adam Redmond didn't play last year. Never has started a game in the NFL. Marcus Henry? Forgot they even had Henry until McCarthy mentioned him in the conference call. He spent part of 2019 on the Cowboys practice squad and has not played in the NFL since first arriving in 2016. So a center, second or third day? For sure.
- With The 17th Pick: Jerry Jones said he "likes our 17th hole." Look at it this way: By time the Cowboys are on the clock, there should be three quarterbacks taken. Possibly four offensive tackles. A defensive end, a cornerback, two defensive tackles and likely three wide receivers. That's 14 right there. And look, there always is a surprise or two to jump into the top 16. Maybe another corner. Who knows, maybe a safety or linebacker. Remember eye of the beholder is real. And if no one gets in the way, man, wouldn't you like for the Cowboys to end up with LSU defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson? I would. But whatever the Cowboys do, bet you we can justify a need at that position.
- Relevant Shots: The Cowboys now know the franchise tag for a quarterback this year is locked in at $31.4 million, the least Dak Prescott will make this season if he doesn't sign a long-term deal, but could make the majority of that, if not more if he does, which would lower his salary cap hit significantly . . . April 22 marks the 30th anniversary of the Cowboys trading up from No. 21 to 17 in the first round to land one Emmitt Smith . . . Also 40 years ago on April 21, one Tony Romo was born, and to think the Cowboys signed the guy who wasn't even invited to the scouting combine as anything more than a "thrower" for the wide receivers as a rookie free agent . . . Wonder if things get tight in that first round, would the Cowboys be willing to move up just a couple of spots if only costing them maybe a fourth? San Francisco at 13 has been looking to trade down . . . When recently-signed DT Gerald McCoy recently spoke with our Shannon Gross, the six-time Pro Bowler revealed he's already lost 20 pounds from last year's 315, saying he's down to 295 for the first time since his rookie season (2010), and when asked what's his one downfall food item, he said, "I truly believe the devil created chips." With you, brotha.
We should have fun Thursday night by Tweeting out pics of our draft night setup since we're all in the same boat this time around. That is, after we get some catfish to go.