The Cowboys have always conducted a pre-draft press conference that includes both front-office personnel and the head coach. But never has it been done in this virtual format as nearly 30 media members were conferenced in via webcast to chat with Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and Mike McCarthy on Tuesday, just a couple of days before the NFL Draft.
Here were some of the highlights that came out of the press conference.
- Jerry Jones won't rule out anything in regards to trades, given his history in dealing picks on draft day. But he said it's "highly unlikely" the Cowboys would trade the No. 17 overall pick for a high-profile player, which has been suggested in various reports lately.
- Asked to specifically comment on Dak Prescott's availability for this week's virtual offseason, head coach Mike McCarthy reiterated he is not "taking roll" on his players, given the meetings are still voluntary. He added that Prescott has been in communication with the coaching staff during the process, without getting into specifics.
- For 30 years, Stephen and Jerry Jones have been arm in arm during draft weekend but that might change this week with both of them using virtual conferences to communicate with the rest of the staff, scouts and coaches. Jerry Jones jokingly said he's not going to miss "the kicks under the table" that Stephen would often give him to calm him down during a discussion or a trade.
- When asked to address the status of both Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory, Jerry Jones playfully tried to divert the question to Stephen, knowing that both cases are rather sensitive to the NFL and still unsettled as the two players have yet to be reinstated. "I wouldn't dare get into where the league is and how they will go about this process for both of those players," Jerry Jones said. "I will say this, as a league, we really are bent toward the medical aspect of many of these problems or many of these things that have been in consideration when a player has to have some type of suspension. We've made it more medically oriented to where you can have good grades from doctors, and that weighs into being a player in the NFL. Those guys are certainly adhering to those tests in their rehab efforts."
- McCarthy said he met with Aldon Smith back in December, long before either person was associated with the Cowboys. "I was up there on a personal nature," he said of his visit with Smith in California. "I was very impressed with everything that he's done and his path. I've always admired him from afar. Very impressive young man and I'm looking forward to working with him."
- Asked specifically on what type of defense he will play, McCarthy finally said "we're a 4-3 defense." But he added the Cowboys "may have the ability to have some variation there." All along, McCarthy has put the focus on acquiring good players over the specific scheme. Depending on what happens in the draft, the Cowboys could use more of a 3-man front, but for now, it appears the Cowboys are sticking with the four-man base defense.
- Neither Jerry or Stephen Jones commented much about Dak Prescott's contract or the negotiations. When asked if the contract situation affects the draft, Stephen said the team's strategy at the position is unchanged. "The philosophy we have, as to Dak's contract, is to what it's always been. We like to develop a young quarterback. It's always great. We would like to have one to the develop to the level you could trade and build assets that way. Mike can speak to it; he wants a certain number of quarterbacks in the building ideally to be working with. Mike brings a really good background in developing quarterbacks."
- In his 13 years with the Packers, McCarthy's two starting quarterbacks were both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Yet, that didn't stop Green Bay from drafting five quarterbacks in that span, including one in the second round. So with Prescott not having a contract, and Cooper Rush still rather unproven as the backup, it's likely the Cowboys could address the position in the draft.