Cowboys Get Player Patriots Should Have Taken
There might be an argument to be made that the Cowboys had more pressing personnel needs. But nothing lights up the eye of owner Jerry Jones like a marquee playmaker.
In Dez Bryant, arguably the most talented offensive player in the draft, the Cowboys got just that in the first round of the 2010 draft.
Bryant would've been drafted in the top 10 overall picks if based strictly on talent. But his 2009 suspension for lying to the NCAA about his dealings with Deion Sanders and widespread questions about his maturity and professionalism knocked Bryant all the way to No. 24 overall. The Cowboys were there to scoop him up after a trade with the Patriots.
Jones said the Cowboys did their homework on Bryant and have zero concerns about his character. He said the Cowboys were able to take advantage of his situation and get him on the cheap, which makes the risk more palatable.
"Dez Bryant stands on his own," Jones said. "His production stands on his own. I didn't need an encouragement of revisiting the Randy Moss situation. I know him. I wouldn't have drafted (Bryant) if I had not felt good that he could be a significant player for the Cowboys. From a talent standpoint, he has a chance to be a game-changer."
Dallas gave New England its first-round pick (27th overall), and its third-rounder, the 90th overall, to move up three spots and also received a fourth-round pick, 119th overall.
Thomas and Iupati went too high for the Cowboys to consider. They didn't want to trade up from 27 to get them because it would've meant giving up their second-round pick.
"It heated up when it got in striking distance," Jones said. "It started getting nervous. It was a little ambitious think we could get Dez Bryant at 27."
Bryant will help the Cowboys at receiver and be the team's main kick and punt returner. Bryant vowed the Cowboys would not regret the pick.
"I'm not disappointed at all," Bryant said. "I was a top-five talent. Me falling to the Cowboys was the best thing that happened to me."
But Austin is far from proven and Williams hasn't made much of a name for himself since the Cowboys invested multiple draft picks and a mega-million dollar contract to bring him in two years ago. Austin, a restricted free agent, has shown star potential. But his Pro Bowl credentials were earned mostly in the second half of last season and the Cowboys want to see him continue down the same successful path.
While there were many talented wide receivers in this draft, Jones rated Bryant as a difference-maker. The two dined in Dallas last month and Bryant visited Valley Ranch the next day.
He'll come to rookie minicamp this month not as a starter, but looking for a new start. He hasn't played in a game since Sept. 19 of last year, when his suspension was levied. But in 2008 as a sophomore, he had 19 touchdowns and more than 1,400 receiving yards.
If Bryant directs his fury at the other teams who passed on him as Randy Moss did after he slid to the No. 21 pick in 1998, the Cowboys won't worry about why he was available toward the end of the first round. They'll just be glad they were there to catch him.
"He should say this is a new life for me," Jones said of Bryant's fresh start in Dallas. "And a new slate."
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