Reporting Mike Fisher
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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – “That’s the way draft go.’’
This weekend, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones channeled Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington with a winking nod to the unpredictability of the NFL Draft. His behind-the-scenes point: Maybe the Cowboys bounced back from receiving too little in exchange for moving down from the No. 18 spot when they landed offensive lineman Travis Frederick (a predicted starter) and receiver Terrance Williams (a predicted star).
But that doesn’t explain why on Thursday the Cowboys veered from their “big board’’ and decided against using the No. 18 overall pick on Florida defensive tackle Shariff Floyd, who, as of that afternoon I’m told was:
- Ranked by the Cowboys scouting department as the seventh best player in the draft.
- Ranked by the Cowboys as the top player left on the draft board at 18.
- One of just a handful of remaining players the Cowboys had given first-round grades.
So what happened?
I’m told there was a conflict in the war room over the “fit’’ of Floyd’’ in Dallas new 4-3 defense vs. the value (cap-related and talent-related) of instead nabbing two players.
The personnel department wanted Floyd – because they’d worked 15 months on investigating him in ways that gave him that first-round grade. Jerry and Stephen Jones saw the benefits of going elsewhere.
“I think in a lot of cases, it’s kind of like a bridge,” Cowboys personnel boss Tom Ciskowski told the “G-Bag Nation’’ show on 105.3 The Fan. “We bring the players to the bridge and the coaches have to take them across. The main thing is just to communicate exactly what the coach wants.’’
It’s possible that Dallas’ recent change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense caused the change of opinion on Floyd.
“If we were still in the 3-4, we would’ve liked him as a nose (tackle),’’ Ciskowski said. “But now that we’ve transitioned back to a 4-3, he really doesn’t fit what we’re looking for.’’
Disagreement in the war room is not unique to the Cowboys. Management, coaching staff and personnel department can all have their own views.
“A lot of it,’’ Ciskowski said, “is about (coaches) educating us on what he wants at each position and it’s our job to go out and find it.”
It seems as if some of that “education’’ happened just before the Cowboys were “on the clock’’ at 18.
The decision won’t be judged immediately, though. It might take 12 months. It might take 12 years.
Because that’s also the way draft go.
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