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.''

---

Online:

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

---

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

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dez BryantFeb 26 09:03a

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is likely to receive the franchise tag because the team is hesitant to sign him long term due to a lack of trust off [ More ]

Peyton ManningFeb 25 09:23p

The Denver Broncos and representatives for QB Peyton Manning are working on revising the veteran's contract, according to multiple league sources. He is scheduled to draw a $19 million [ More ]

Reggie BushFeb 25 05:33p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush has been cut Wednesday, Feb. 25.

A.J. HawkFeb 25 04:43p

Green Bay Packers LB A.J. Hawk was released Wednesday, Feb. 25. The move will save them $3.5 million against the salary cap in 2015.

Jacoby JonesFeb 25 12:33p

Baltimore Ravens WR Jacoby Jones was released Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Peyton HillisFeb 25 10:43a

New York Giants RB Peyton Hillis was released Wednesday, Feb. 25. The move saves $945,000 on the 2015 salary cap.

Dez BryantFeb 24 10:33p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant's NFL career could be in jeopardy if a video he allegedly appears is as bad as it sounds. A source said the 'incriminating video [ More ]

Jake LongFeb 24 09:23p

The St. Louis Rams are likely to release OT Jake Long this offseason for savings against the salary cap, according to beat writer Nick Wagoner.

Mathias KiwanukaFeb 24 03:33p

New York Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka has been released Tuesday, Feb. 24.

DeAngelo WilliamsFeb 24 12:23p

Free-agent RB DeAngelo Williams (Panthers) said he was not upset when the Carolina Panthers told him last week that he'd be released. Williams told Charlotte's WBTV that DE Greg [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 23 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's father denied a report that Peterson no longer wants to play for Minnesota. Peterson's father said Peterson is still open to a return to [ More ]

Ted Ginn Jr.Feb 23 04:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Ted Ginn Jr. was released Monday, Feb. 23.

Adrian PetersonFeb 23 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's situation with the team worsened during the NFL scouting combine as his agent and members of Minnesota's front office had a heated verbal altercation, [ More ]

Victor CruzFeb 21 10:22a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) looks good as he continues to recover from a torn right pateller tendon in his knee, according to general manager Jerry Reese. [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIFeb 20 02:52p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will enter the 2015 season as the team's starting quarterback, and general manager Bruce Allen thinks Griffin's ceiling in the NFL remains high. [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 20 08:42a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman fits well in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'My first impression: I can feel the quickness,' Quinn said [ More ]

Victor CruzFeb 19 07:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) may commence running shortly, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz is recovering from a torn right patellar tendon in his right knee.

Andre EllingtonFeb 19 05:12p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) remains the focal point of the offense, according to Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. Ellington split the injured tendon in his left foot, [ More ]

C.J. AndersonFeb 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson finished the year as the team's No. 1 running back and made the Pro Bowl, but new head coach Gary Kubiak said Anderson must [ More ]

James CaseyFeb 19 02:22p

Philadelphia Eagles TE James Casey has been released.

Reggie WayneFeb 19 01:52p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent WR Reggie Wayne has not informed the Colts on if he wants to play again next season, according to general manager Ryan Grigson.

Marshawn LynchFeb 19 01:02p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch continues to ponder if he'll return for another season, and general manager John Schneider said he wouldn't be surprised if Lynch chose to retire. [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerFeb 19 03:13a

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger has the backing of the coaching staff, but they have not committed to him as the starter for 2015. General manager Ruston Webster said [ More ]

Jay CutlerFeb 18 02:53p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler did not receive a vote of confidence from head coach John Fox. Fox said the team is still evaluating the position. Fox said he [ More ]

Charles JohnsonFeb 18 02:53p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson is 'far and away our best receiver,' according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Johnson emerged as QB Teddy Bridgewater's No. 1 target in [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIFeb 18 01:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will go into the season as the team's starting starting quarterback, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Michael CrabtreeFeb 18 01:33a

San Francisco 49ers impending free-agent WR Michael Crabtree was frustrated with his role at the end of last season, and he recently removed any mention of the 49ers from [ More ]

Steve JohnsonFeb 18 01:33a

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson might be a clear starting candidate for the 2015 season if impending free-agents WR Anquan Boldin and/or WR Michael Crabtree are not brought [ More ]

Trent RichardsonFeb 17 10:53p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson missed the team's walkthrough and flight for the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. He was suspended two games without pay for [ More ]

Brennan WilliamsFeb 17 05:33p

Free-agent OT Brennan Williams (Texans) signed an undisclosed deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday, Feb. 17.

S. RichardsonFeb 17 03:03p

Free-agent CB Shaquille Richardson (Steelers) recently signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. JenkinsFeb 17 02:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs waived WR A.J. Jenkins Tuesday, Feb. 17.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group