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DMN: Jones insists Cowboys 'won't reach' in draft


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Jones insists Cowboys 'won't reach' in draft

Postions of need won't force team's hand; talent will dictate


By JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR / The Dallas Morning News

IRVING – Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones knows his club has glaring holes at running back, right tackle and cornerback.

But Jones insisted the Cowboys won't take lesser players in this weekend's NFL draft simply to fill needs.

After all, Dallas has tried that approach before without success.

"The assumption is that we're going to be prudent and won't reach," Jones said recently. "We're not going beyond what our draft board says for a position of need.

"We don't put up a NFL draft board. We put up a Dallas Cowboys draft board that reflects not only our talent evaluation, but the character we're looking for in players."

The Cowboys, who traded their sixth- (Terry Glenn) and seventh-round (Kenyon Coleman) picks last year, have only five draft picks.

Jones said they would like to acquire more.

To do so, the Cowboys will probably have to move down from the No. 22 spot they currently hold. The Cowboys could also secure an additional draft choice if they trade Pro Bowl guard Larry Allen, who has met with front-office officials in Oakland and Detroit.

Trading down, however, is easier said than done.

This draft is deep with receivers. In some mock drafts, as many as seven have been selected in the first round.

The best chance for the Cowboys to trade down will probably occur if several high-caliber receivers are available when it's their time to pick. Then a team such as Kansas City, Carolina or New England, which covets a receiver, might decide to move up and get the player of their choice.

But the Cowboys won't trade down unless there are four or five players they like at No. 22 and they're assured of getting at least one of those players.

Jones said the Cowboys are looking for starters.

That's why they won't be looking for draft picks at positions in which they have depth, like receiver or defensive end, unless they project those selections as starters.

And that's also why they could remain at No. 22 if a player like Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones was available.

"I can't say what we're going to do," Jones said. "I can name a handful of players who would be good if they fell to us and I wouldn't want to trade down. I'd want to stay right there and take them.

"I feel pretty comfortable that we're going to maximize our opportunity in the draft. We know where the value is. If we trade down, we will get good value."

Briefly: Tight end James Whalen, a restricted free agent, signed a one-year contract for $628,000.

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