Jason Garrett's fingerprints were on the 2011 class in his first draft as head coach. He made a personal visit to Tyron Smith's Pro Day in early April. A few weeks later, the Cowboys took him with the ninth overall pick – the first time in Jerry Jones' ownership tenure that the club had drafted an offensive lineman in the first round.
Next month's NFL scouting combine is particularly important for measurables. Not every top prospect (i.e. underclassmen) is eligible for Mobile, but Garrett likes Senior Bowl week because the top upperclassmen are competing against each other on the field and getting NFL coaching from the North and Staff squads. Many are trying new positions in practice.
Garrett wants tough, physical, passionate guys. He also wants players with football savvy.
"There are different degrees of smart," he said this week. "You can factor in the word 'instinct' and feel and all those kinds of things. You have to be careful with how you use that word. Test scores are certainly part of that, but also a feel for how you play the game is part of that. And that varies from position to position.
"But you want guys who love to play football, who are willing to work at it and want to be part of a team."