Finally! Cowboys Draft RB Julius Jones

After trading the 22nd overall selection in the first round, the Dallas Cowboys finally made their first pick of the 2004 NFL Draft Saturday, when they selected Notre Dame running back Julius Jones. Jones was taken with the 43rd overall pick in the draft.

It may not have been the most conventional way to draft a running back, but the Cowboys eventually got the man they wanted.

After passing on Oregon State running back Steven Jackson and Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones in the first round, the Dallas Cowboys selected Notre Dame running back Julius Jones in the second.

The pick was one of three extra selections obtained by the Cowboys in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. Dallas also now owns an additional fifth round pick this year, and the Bills' first round pick next year.

Jones is an underrated ground gainer with speed to burn, and size to boot. As a freshman in South Bend, he immediately burst onto the scene, registering 798 return yards, a number good enough for second-highest in school history. He also led the team in rushing as a junior in 2001 with 718 yards.

As a senior, he rushed 229 times for 1268 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The interesting part of Jones' career at Notre Dame however involves a suspension that lasted for the entire 2002 season due to poor grades.

As a senior in South Bend, Julius Jones rushed 229 times for 1268 yards and 10 touchdowns.
All that time off however seemed to do nothing for Jones but serve as motivation for him to take his game to an even higher level once he returned to the field.

"I was pretty hurt and upset," Jones said looking back in an interview with the Associated Press. "But you have to look forward and try to make the best of it. I started here, and I want to finish things I started. I came here for a reason, I came here to graduate and I didn't feel comfortable going somewhere else."

After returning to the field, all he did was rush for over 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Needless to say, NFL scouts have been watching his every move since.

For the Cowboys, Jones was near the top of the board at running back, but they obviously weren't willing to take a chance on him in the first round.

And as an interesting side note, Jones was one of the players that was scouted the hardest by the Cowboys during the week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl in January.

"There's no wonder why they (the Cowboys) were so interested in him," a source told SilverStarDigest back in February.

"He really had a great week of practice. He was doing everything asked of him. Catching the ball, running between the tackles, showing a nice burst of speed in the open field. He's a target, but only in the 2nd round at this point."

Julius Jones will arrive in Dallas with the expectation of becoming the starting running back.

Of course, the Cowboys' ground game desparately lacked a breakaway threat last year behind Troy Hambrick, who averaged just 3.5 yards a carry. Meanwhile Jones, who is one of the fastest running backs available this year, should offer the Cowboys a nice change of pace in the backfield.

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