Weighing Risk vs. Reward In The 2nd Round

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FRISCO, Texas – It's a fair question to ask, given the Cowboys' history in the second round of the draft.

After all, it's a maneuver that's become commonly referred to as a "Blue Star Special" when the organization takes a chance on a highly talented, yet highly risk prospect that – for whatever reason – slips into the second round of the draft.

"Sometimes, late in that second round you can get tempted with some of the picks that have worked out for us in the past, some of them haven't," said Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones on Tuesday.

Jones highlighted Sean Lee as an example of a successful gamble, as the Cowboys drafted him No. 55 overall despite a history of leg injuries. They also look incredibly smart for taking a risk on Jaylon Smith, drafting him 34th despite a gruesome knee injury.

At the same time, as Jones noted, there have been misses, as well. Bruce Carter was drafted 40th overall after suffering an ACL injury during his senior season, and he was decent although not spectacular. Randy Gregory was drafted 60th overall in 2015 after facing scrutiny due to a failed drug test, and he is currently serving his fourth NFL suspension.

"Those types of things can show up late in the second round, and we'll certainly have to measure that versus what's available in terms of your normal, healthy players who are going to come in here and go to work," Jones said.

This year is obviously different because the Cowboys are without a first-round pick. Not having that opportunity to draft a difference-maker might affect their willingness to take those risks in the second round. Although, as noted, that'll probably depend on the circumstances.

"As I mentioned, you'd like to hope you're getting a starter there when you pick in the second round, and certainly with the talent on this team that's going to be difficult to do," Jones said. "But you certainly want someone who's going to really contribute and hopefully play a role in helping us win football games."

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