The Dallas Cowboys accomplished a great deal over the course of NFL Draft weekend. That much is not in dispute. They executed their "Taco Combo Platter'' plan by grabbing pass-rusher Taco Charlton in the first round and cornerback Chidobe Awuize in the second. Seven of their nine draftees play defense. Eight of their nine draftees are "big-school'' guys, part of scouting guru Will McClay's four-year-long mandate.
“I feel good,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "I think we are more talented. We’ve got more available talent. We are definitely better on defense than we were at the end of last year. We are in better shape to play in the playoffs than we (were) last year.''
I'm a buyer there. Where I’m less accepting regards my willingness to believe every attempt at pro-Cowboys spin, and there are three cases of this that we can have fun detailing as if we’re performing a circumcision on a mosquito. (Props, Jerry.)
Let’s start with Jones denying knowledge of the details in a report from TMZ regarding another failed drug test for suspended defensive end Randy Gregory.
“I would be very skeptical,” Jones said.
Sorry. That’s not good enough. The Cowboys don’t need to be “skeptical’’ of reports on Gregory’s status; whether he uses marijuana in a recreational way, or an addictive way, or as medication, or not at all … the Cowboys need to know.
If their suggestion that they don’t have the answers here is accurate, somebody inside “Second Chance Valley Ranch’’ has badly fumbled the ball.
On the other hand, if they are covering up for Gregory failed a seventh test? Somebody dropped the ball there, too.
“We need him on the football field,” Jones said. “We do support him absolutely.”
The Cowboys may opt to support Gregory because they are his lifeline to coping. But the organization is mistaken in thinking this is about succeeding in football.
This is about surviving in life.
Now to Dallas’ cover-up as it regards Scandrick.
This was an incredibly successful weekend, on paper, in terms of acquiring secondary talent. The Cowboys believe Colorado’s Awuzie (the 60th pick overall) and Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis (the third round with the 92nd pick) were both second-round-worthy. They had a third-round grade on Louisiana State safety Xavier Woods, and traded up to grab him in the sixth. By the time they’d drafted cornerback Marquez White from Florida State in Round 6, they’d completely revamped their secondary. Younger. Faster. Stickier.
In the midst of all of that, word leaked via NFL Network that Orlando Scandrick was on the trading block. Jerry Jones vehemently denied the story late Friday night … but was apparently unaware that I’d visited with Scandrick himself, who confirmed that he’d been made aware of his trade availability. (The Scandrick scoop is here.)
“Absolutely not,” Jones said when asked if the Cowboys were trying to trade Scandrick. “That is completely erroneous. He is a valued member of our team. There is absolutely nothing we would do with Orlando other than have him on the field.”
The truth is, a Cowboys staffer has spent the last two weeks investigating Scandrick’s value to other NFL teams. With three years left on his contract at about $5 mil a year, he’d be a value for somebody. But in exchange for a third-round pick, at NFL Network noted? That was never going to happen … and once the third round came and went, it was easy for Jerry to deny the story’s validity.
Jerry even said on Friday night that he probably ought to contact Scandrick to make sure he knows how much the Cowboys love him.
Twelve hours later, at 10:40 a.m., Scandrick told me he’d yet to receive a call.
By the afternoon, a still bothered Scandrick (who did attend workouts at The Star on Monday) issued a rare Twitter post:
And then there is the tempest in a teapot over who was the remaining first-round-graded player on the board when Dallas passed on that player to instead take Charlton. On Thursday night, I was told very specifically that it was King — sensible, because it fit exactly the Cowboys’ Taco Combo Platter sensibility.
The next morning, COO Stephen Jones appeared on 105.3 The Fan to hint that the passed-over player in question was actually a “running back.’’ … after which I was told that Jones was referring to Dalvin Cook.
Was Stephen mentioning Cook as a way to squash any Charlton-vs.-King debate? After all, nobody would fault Dallas for taking Charlton vs. a running back. But a cornerback with a better grade than the pass-rusher? We’d argue about that forever!
That controversy, and possible CYA, is nothing compared to the Gregory and Scandrick tales, though. They need to get their stories straight on Scandrick because there is no reason to needlessly lose a player.
They need to get their stories straight on Gregory because there is no reason to needlessly lose a person.