IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) — The sports world stood still on Thursday when the Dallas Cowboys went on the clock with the 16th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel was available; Notre Dame OL Zack Martin was the pick.
But did the Cowboys legitimately consider selecting Johnny Football over the “safe” pick in Martin?
“Anytime you have a great player sitting there, you look at everybody,” said Stephen Jones on Friday with the G-Bag Nation. “That wouldn’t be responsible not to see who is left on your board and how each person fits. Our bigger issue here is, we’ve obviously made a huge investment in Tony [Romo]. We think he’s a great player, and we really think at this time, the best way for us to win is to help him — that’s either protect him or play a little better defense.”
War room footage appeared to show a frustrated Stephen Jones slamming the phone with under two minutes remaining on the draft clock. Many speculated that the Cowboys simply didn’t get the offers they wanted to move down from 16.
“Unfortunately, it was a phone malfunction. I was trying to take a call, and I picked it up and there was nobody there. We were having a little phone issue but we got right back on the phone and were able to get our last offers.”
Jones says the team entertained a couple of offers, but never felt like a strong enough offer came across to prevent them from taking Martin.
The Cowboys appeared to go “by the board” in selecting Martin (and avoiding the temptation to select Manziel), but a rumor on Friday suggested that Manziel was actually rated higher on the team’s draft board.
“We don’t get into all of that in terms of exactly how our board plays out,” said Jones. “When we look at our boards, we always make the decision based on the overall picture. I’m not going to get into who was what and where, and all that. We’ll pass on that.”
While many hoped the Cowboys would look to improve a defense that was less than stellar in 2013, Jones believes the move will strengthen a critical aspect of the team’s offense.
“Obviously it’s going to help our running game. We were starting to kind of find it in the second half of last year, and I think we can build on that and have a neat deal in terms of taking pressure off of Tony if we can establish a sound running game.”
Jones went onto say that the Cowboys wouldn’t shy away from drafting another offensive player — that is, if the board dictates it.
But again, what about the defense?
“We need to stop somebody. That’s obviously a focus moving forward in the draft.”
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