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Pre-Draft Notes: Keeping Late Picks, Trade Talk, More


IRVING, Texas –It's shaping up to be a jam-packed third day of the draft for the Cowboys.

Dallas owns six seventh-round picks in this year's NFL Draft, and it doesn't sound like they're intent at this time on packaging those picks to move up.

"I see it as a great opportunity for us to pick six players that can help our football team," said executive vice president Stephen Jones.

The reason for not moving up, if the Cowboys choose to use all six picks, is that many times a player that's valued around the late sixth-round could end up falling to a team that wants him one round later.

Given the miniscule value of seventh-round picks, they're not worth packaging together to move up just a few spots for at that point in the draft, according to Jones.

"Seventh-round picks, historically, are throw-ins," Jones said. "I don't know that our league's caught up to what the value of a seventh-round pick is, in terms of the 'charts' that are out there.

Six of the Cowboys' 11 picks will be in the seventh round. They have one pick in each round prior, apart from the sixth round, where they currently have no picks.

 "If you look at what a seventh-round pick can bring you, you start to say that the player of that seventh-round pick is more valuable than boosting a bottom of the sixth to five picks, 10 picks up to the middle of the sixth, when a lot of times that player will fall to you anyway," Jones said. "A lot of times you see them as throw-ins."

Orton Absence

Kyle Orton's nowhere in sight during voluntary workouts, but head coach Jason Garrett and owner/general manager Jerry Jones still don't sound too concerned.

"We've had some good conversations I don't want to go into too much detail on right now," Garrett said. "That situation is what it is. We anticipate him being back at some point this offseason."

Garrett reiterated that the only activities and workouts Orton has missed aren't mandatory, and he expects Tony Romo's primary backup to be back with the team when required during the mandatory workouts.

Jones said Orton's presence won't affect the way the Cowboys draft, regardless.

"It just won't be a factor," Jones said. "It will not be a factor in how we draft as far as Kyle's not being here right now. I'll go into it as though he's going to be here. I wouldn't draft a backup to Orton not being here. I wouldn't do that. If we did draft a quarterback, that wouldn't be a primary factor."

Trade Talk

The phones aren't ringing just yet regarding trade possibilities.

That's likely to occur when the draft actually starts up, considering where the Cowboys are slotted to draft right in the middle of the first round, but Jerry Jones said trade talks have not yet taken place.

"We haven't heard a lot from other clubs," Jones said. "We haven't found that to be particularly productive…I would be surprised if there weren't trade opportunities by the time you get to where we're going to be picking. Again, those opportunities you don't usually create them or set them up. You use your logic. You say this club may be a candidate for a trade, if that's what you want to think about at that particular time."

The Cowboys are preparing for any and all situations to occur at or before the 16th pick, but they haven't tipped their hand as to whether or not they'll stay put.

"In general, we haven't been talking to anybody about trades," Jones said.

High Hopes

One of the Cowboys' Pro Bowlers who left Dallas this offseason left a glowing endorsement about a young defensive lineman whose 2013 season was over before it began.

Jerry Jones said he's got to count on his younger players evolving and getting better, and Jason Hatcher told him he believed Tyrone Crawford will do just that.

"One of the last things Hatcher told me before he left town, he said, 'That guy is going to be a perennial All-Pro,'" Jones said. "That's Hatcher telling me about Crawford. He said he's the real deal." [embedded_ad]

Defensive line remains an area of need, particularly with the draft soon approaching, but Jones believes at least a couple of the linemen currently on the team can become premier players.

"Certainly you'd like to think that you can have two," he said. "(Henry) Melton was named to the Pro Bowl as far as that goes, as far as that is concerned."

Not Needy

The "best player available" approach in the draft is one Jason Garrett supports.

Garrett admitted the Cowboys, along with every team in the NFL, have their needs. But in his opinion, that shouldn't stop them from taking the best player available when it's their turn to pick.

"It's been mentioned here a number of times in this press conference that we're going to look at the draft board and try to take the best players – guys that can help our football team," Garrett said. "You target guys at certain positions, but the worst mistake you can make is over-drafting for need and leaving really, really good players on the board."

Garrett realizes it can be difficult for a team to pick a player that doesn't fill an obvious need, but he doesn't want the Cowboys passing up on better players for worse ones at positions of need.

"We try to have discipline that way, just like every team in this league does," he said. "We'll do that with our defensive front, all across our defense, and throughout our team."

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