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

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

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