INDIANAPOLIS – This April, the Cowboys plan to stand firm with an approach that's worked well for them in the draft: selecting the best players available on their board.
It's not a unique philosophy, for sure, and it's no secret the club has question marks at certain positions on its roster at this point in the offseason. Twenty players are scheduled to be free agents when the new league year begins March 9, and despite the defense's improved quarterback sack total last season (36, ranked 13th in the league), the team has stated pass rush help as a priority.
But as coaches, executives and personnel staff arrive in Indianapolis for this week's NFL Scouting Combine, team executive vice president Stephen Jones emphasized they can't reach for a potential draft need like an edge rusher in a couple months' time.
"We try to fight that more than we ever have, and I think obviously most people have seen the influence," Jones said. "I wouldn't rule us out of that totally, either. It just seems like when you need something there tend to be more of them up there that you're focused on. But I do think that's how you make huge mistakes.
"Just as much as we need a pass rusher, I think it'd be a huge mistake to say we can't get out of the first round without a pass rusher. I think that's how you make a big mistake."
The Cowboys have seven picks in the 2017 draft, including the 28th overall pick in the first round. This week's Combine will help them further shape their evaluations.