What exactly will happen in the upcoming NFL Draft is anybody's guess, but the Cowboys' front office has been preparing for Thursday night's opening round since pretty much the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft.
On Tuesday, the key decision makers---Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Mike McCarthy held a pre-draft press conference to shed some light on their preparation for the draft and answered questions about their mindset and process heading into the weekend's events. Also in attendance was Sean Lee, who recently announced his retirement from the NFL after an 11-year career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Even the Cowboys' top brass can't predict how the NFL Draft will play out, but below are some key points and takeaways for anyone who missed the live press conference.
- Sean Lee spoke of a three-year stretch of injuries late in his career, and that Jerry Jones called him and "picked him off the floor" numerous times by reiterating his confidence in him. Lee claimed that he would always eventually text Jones after each injury, promising that he would come back better than ever.
- Jerry Jones said that he anticipates that the Cowboys will have an opportunity to get a "top defensive player" in the first round, whether that be a top player at a particular position or even the top defensive player in the draft.
- Unsurprising to no one, Jones said he anticipates "the phone ringing" when the Cowboys No. 10 overall pick approaches, and that he has spent recent nights thinking about how to handle various trade offers in that scenario.
- COVID-19 restrictions have limited prospects' visits to Zoom-style meetings rather than in-person interactions, but Jerry Jones actually said that he feels that he has gotten to know the players even better under these circumstances. Mike McCarthy agreed with the positive experience of visiting with prospects virtually.
- Stephen Jones called earning the No. 10 pick "gut wrenching," but said that they believe they'll be able to get an "elite football player" with the pick.
- While Jerry Jones hinted that the Cowboys were leaning towards drafting a defensive player, he said they wouldn't "be stupid when it comes to need" and pointed to their willingness to draft CeeDee Lamb in the first round in last year's draft.
- Mike McCarthy said that new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has been "very involved" in creating a draft profile in evaluating prospects while stressing that the entire coaching staff is involved in the draft process.
- There was no NFL Combine before this year's draft, and Jerry Jones stated clearly that "medical is the number one shortcoming." He said that the organization is less confident than in other years about the medical condition and history of players they are evaluating.
- Jerry Jones said that every team is "impressed" with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, but that he was probably exaggerating if he said that he was "fascinated" by him. He said that word might imply something that is not the case.
- Cornerbacks prospects Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain are both sons of former NFL players, and Jones quickly said that he believes that is "absolutely" an advantage, claiming that he "believes in osmosis" that comes from being around an NFL player for much of a young player's life.
- Mike McCarthy said that Dak Prescott is at The Star nearly every day and that he believes his rehab process is "right on track or maybe a little ahead of schedule."
- Neither Stephen Jones nor Mike McCarthy committed to the idea that they would either draft or sign a backup quarterback, but McCarthy claimed they were interested in "adding competition" to the quarterback room.
- Jerry Jones encouraged people to get the vaccine for the COVID-19 vaccine. He said that he wanted as many people as possible to attend Cowboys games, but that he and the league "feels strongly that we should be pushing hard for everybody to get vaccinated."
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