FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys didn't have a fifth-round pick in this year's draft as part of the 2015 trade for quarterback Matt Cassel. They won't have a fifth-rounder next year, either, after trading it to the New York Jets to move up for safety Xavier Woods near the top of the sixth round.
The team felt comfortable making the trade for two reasons. First, they strongly considered taking Woods as early as the fourth round (they drafted North Carolina receiver/returner Ryan Switzer instead).
And with so many departures in free agency this offseason, the Cowboys could be in line to receive multiple 2018 compensatory picks which are added to the end of rounds three through seven.
"We feel like we'll max out on that," executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "Just felt like to get a player with that kind of grade on him and give up next year's five was something we got comfortable with. We don't want to go into a draft not having a full allotment of picks, but we were able to get comfortable with that and we were able to make a trade."
Just In Time
Not long after the Cowboys saw one of their top players get picked right before them, they were able to do the same to the Panthers in the sixth round.
Jerry Jones and his crew picked the exact right spot to trade into the sixth round to get Woods.
"We were told a little bit later that the very next team was going to take him," Jones said, referring to Carolina. "We called (the Jets) when they were on the clock and made that deal. It worked out well."
The Cowboys traded next year's fifth-round pick to land the sixth to get Woods.
Back in the fourth, the Cowboys had a tough debate going on in the War Room between Donnell Pumphrey and Ryan Switzer. But when the Eagles traded up to get Pumphrey, Jones said it was more relief than frustration.
"It was like they made our decision for us," Jones said. "We had a good debate there. So they helped us out. We really liked both players."
Reaching Out To Scandrick
Rumors began to surface during the second day of the draft that the Cowboys were looking to trade cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Those rumors weren't exactly diffused by the fact that the two picks Dallas made that day both played the same position as Scandrick.
But on Friday night Jerry Jones didn't mince words with his adamant denial that they had even broached the subject of trading their most experienced cornerback.
By the time the draft had concluded, the Cowboys had drafted three cornerbacks to make up for the loss of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. At that time, Jones said he still hadn't talked to Scandrick, but that a conversation was imminent.
"I plan to [call him]," Jones said. "Not as a result of the speculation or something like that, but that's what I would do anyway, relative to our draft."
Jones cited the hectic nature of the draft for the fact that he hadn't talked to Scandrick yet, but that he naturally wants to hear from his veteran cornerback after adding four new members to the secondary.
Plans For Rico
Jason Witten is 34 years old, and while nobody doubts his reliable hands, speed isn't exactly an asset for him at this point. Given that, some thought the Cowboys might keep an eye on potential tight end prospects in this year's draft. But the draft came and went and Dallas never took a tight end to eventually fill the shoes of their future Hall of Famer.
Immediately after the draft, Jerry Jones explained why the position wasn't really on their radar. Last season they took a chance on Rico Gathers, a converted basketball player out of Baylor. Gathers spent last season on the practice squad, but the Cowboys saw him as a project and they aren't disappointed with his development.
"Rico is definitely everything the coaches thought he was," Jones said after the draft.
He also said that the Cowboys will be witnessing the next phase of that project this coming season.
"He will be a contributor this year," Jones said emphatically.