IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys valued safety Eric Reid, just not quite as high as the 49ers.
San Francisco traded up to Dallas to grab the former LSU safety with the 18th pick in the draft at a spot that was a bit too early for executive vice president Stephen Jones.
"Thought it was too rich for him," Jones said.
Jones clarified that he liked Reid, who was brought in for a pre-draft visit and a workout, but he just didn't want to spend the 18th pick on him.
"I think it's too rich for him when you consider what you can get for him," Jones said. "The 18, when you move back and you get the 74. We thought that was the best thing for us."
Jerry Jones said everyone he was around was on board with the decision to trade back for the late-first round pick and third round selection.
"We were unanimous," he said. "It was the smart thing for us to do with all the homework to trade down at that time."
When Stephen Jones said Kyle Wilber was the front-runner for the strong side linebacker spot during the NFL Owners Meetings in March, that was before the Cowboys had signed Justin Durant.
Now, according to head coach Jason Garrett, Wilber will actually be moving to defensive end in the switch to the 4-3.
"We feel like the easiest transition for him will be to put his hand on the ground and be that pass rusher as opposed to the off the ball linebacker," Garrett said. "We'll see how he adjusts."
Mighty, strong offensive linemen seem to come in bulk at Wisconsin and in the Big 10, with Peter Konz, Gabe Carimi and Joe Thomas all coming from the Badgers to the NFL in recent years.
But Garrett said the Cowboys, who took Wisconsin lineman Travis Frederick in the first round, couldn't just assume any Wisconsin linemen would be a safe pick.
"I think you certainly go case-by-case and evaluate the player," Garrett said. "There is no question that there is a tradition of offensive linemen coming out of Wisconsin. There is a long-standing tradition, but there is also a recent tradition, and what that does for you is to allow you to talk to people that know these guys well and compare them to people."
Offensive line coach Bill Callahan still has connections at Wisconsin after coaching the offensive line there from 1990-94, which allowed the Cowboys to get a better feel for their pick.
"He knows a lot of people," Garrett said. "He spent a lot of time with Travis and some other people up there to find out about him above and beyond what you see on the tape. The history of linemen at Wisconsin really helps you in a lot of different ways."
Joe Panos, Frederick's agent who played football for the Badgers while Callahan was coaching at Wisconsin in the '90s, said on 105.3 FM The Fan that there was "no chance" Frederick would have been around if the Cowboys waited for him in the second round with the 47th overall pick.
While that would be typical for a player's agent to speculate, he said the Cowboys obviously knew that as well and that most "draft experts" only make their projections to get ratings. [embedded_ad]
"When I was preparing Travis for the process, I said from what I can gather you're going to get taken in the mid to low 20s to about 42," Panos said.
Panos said he stayed in touch with Callahan throughout the draft process, and he wasn't surprised the Cowboys took him. He was just elated.
"It wasn't a surprise at all," Panos said. "Look at the teams that needed interior help and see where they're positioned in the draft, he was going to be gone pretty soon."
Panos doesn't know if Frederick will play guard or center, but he believes he can play either position at the next level.
"He's started at both and he's good at both," the agent said. "One of his best attributes is his intelligence, not just off the field, I'm talking about on the field. He can really direct traffic."