2014 DRAFT GUIDE
For Cowboys, draft all about numbers on defense

By SCHUYLER DIXON - AP Sports Writer
    2014-05-10 21:29

IRVING, Texas (AP) - For all the talk about no Johnny Manziel and yet another offensive lineman taken in the first round, the draft for the Dallas Cowboys ultimately came down to defense.

Or more specifically, a defensive line that owner and general manager Jerry Jones thought was in serious trouble at the end of a fourth straight year without a trip to the playoffs in 2013.

''This time last year, we didn't expect to have happen what we had happen with attrition and injury and one or two other things in our defensive line,'' Jones said Saturday after the Cowboys finished the draft with seven of nine players on defense. ''You all were a party to and witnessed a team that just flat was bankrupt in the defensive line last year.''

While Jones passed on Manziel to take Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin at No. 16 in the first round, the most expensive selection was Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys vacated the third round to move up 13 spots in the second, grabbing Lawrence near the top of that round at No. 34 overall.

Jones acknowledged that the Cowboys overpaid NFC East rival Washington in the trade. But after releasing franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware and believing Lawrence was the last player on their board capable of anything resembling the seven-time Pro Bowler, Dallas felt the need for a bold move.

The Cowboys ended up taking two more defensive linemen in Stanford's Ben Gardner and Ken Bishop of Northern Illinois. Both were among five defensive players taken in the seventh round.

Along with free agents Henry Melton, Terrell McClain and Jeremy Mincey, the Cowboys are flooding the front four with plenty of options after finishing last in the league in total defense last year. There are now 16 defensive linemen on the roster.

''I thought our team did a really good job dealing with the different injuries, bringing guys in,'' coach Jason Garrett said of the 2013 season. ''But that's not the way you want to operate. You don't want to bring guys in on Wednesday and they play 30 snaps on Sunday. And we did that over and over and over again.''

The Cowboys started the final day by taking Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens with the 119th overall pick in the fourth round, looking for depth behind Sean Lee after the defensive leader missed nearly half the games over the past two seasons.

Dallas moved up again in the fifth round in a trade with Detroit and took its other offensive player in this draft, Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street, at No. 146.

The other defensive players taken in the seventh round were Texas Tech linebacker Will Smith (No. 238), Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon (248) and Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell (254).

''We weren't opposed to helping the offense,'' said executive vice president Stephen Jones, noting that the Cowboys had a third-round grade on Street with the Cowboys trying to replace Miles Austin after his release. ''Obviously our bend when we came into the draft was to help the defense and obviously we took a lot of picks and did well there.''

By getting Martin, the Cowboys took an offensive lineman in the first round for the third time in four years. And Stephen Jones said they almost had a deal that would have given them the third-round pick they surrendered in the deal for Lawrence and another blocker with 34-year-old Tony Romo coming off two back surgeries.

Ultimately, the seventh round said it all - five picks, five defenders.

''The obvious is the obvious,'' Jerry Jones said. ''We were trying to emphasize defense in terms of numbers.''

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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The Arizona Cardinals have declared DL Alameda Ta'amu, OG Anthony Steen, WR Brittan Golden, SS Chris D. Clemons, QB Drew Stanton, OG Jonathan Cooper, DL Kareem Martin inactive for Week 16.

Chris MatthewsDec 21 07:32p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR Chris Matthews, DL Demarcus Dobbs, WR Kevin Norwood, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, TE Tony Moeaki, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 16.

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

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Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

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Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 20 06:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) will be a game-time decision Sunday, Dec. 21, after not practicing all week.

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