Go back to Valley Ranch five weeks ago, and the King of the Cowboys was acting very un-Jerry-like.
Jittery, for one thing. Defensive, for another. Very defensive.
The normal Jerry is the guy who usually doesn’t allow us to see him sweat, no matter how bleak his football circumstances might be, and, gawd knows, there’s been plenty of bleak football circumstances over nearly two decades.
In this particular case, however, criticism was rolling in from all corners over the Cowboys’ latest draft.
Jerry, it seemed, was taking that criticism personally. Again, very un-Jerry-like. We watched him sweat the rip jobs over the draft. We watched him become defensive over what was being labeled a dartboard, grab-bag approach to selecting players.
Jerry was countering with a no, no, no. He was trying to tell us the Cowboys — meaning him — had made these selections by honoring the integrity of the “board.”
Instead of “going Quincy Carter” on his scouts and his coaches, Jerry wanted to convince us he was being a true football guy. He was basically following the “board” as it was laid out by the scouts and agreed upon by the coaches.
And now, evidence has surfaced that indicates — drum roll, please — Jerry was telling the truth.
Yes, the truth.
Last week, the website Blogging the Boys had information that showed the entire 2013 draft board at Valley Ranch. It’s supposed to be a team’s top-secret priority, but the same website had the same info for the 2010 draft.
No, it’s more about Jerry loving the camera, particularly the War Room camera during the draft, and on the Cowboys’ own website, the camera is repeatedly showing Jerry, standing in front of the draft board. For those with time on their hands, they do screen grabs, and over a period time came up with the entire draft board.
Keeping it brief, here’s how Jerry’s explanations five weeks ago matched up with the info provided by Blogging the Boys.
Overall, the Cowboys had first-round grades on only 18 players. This follows what most NFL teams were saying. It was not a strong draft for pure first-rounders.
The Cowboys traded out, of course, of No. 18 and went down to No. 31 in the first round, picking up only a third-rounder in the deal. They didn’t get enough, many said, but here’s what they did with the picks:
Taken at No. 31 in the first round was center Travis Frederick. The Cowboys had him at No. 22 on their board. He’s a board bargain, at least based on the team’s ranking.
Taken in the second round was tight end Gavin Escobar. The Cowboys had him at No. 25. A board bargain. The Cowboys got him at 47.
Taken in the third round with the 49ers pick was receiver Terrance Williams. A huge board bargain. The Cowboys had him at No. 23 and got him at 74.
The other third-round pick was safety J.J. Wilcox. The Cowboys had him at No. 50 and got him at No. 80.
All of this can be called “drafting to the board.” That’s what Jerry was attempting to tell us.
But, of course, it’s never exactly that simple.
On the Cowboys’ board, Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd was No. 5. He was still there at No. 18 when the Cowboys traded out. What the heck?
The info inside Valley Ranch says the two new defensive honchos, Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, didn’t think Floyd was a scheme fit. They nixed him.
Obviously, the incoming coaches didn’t relay that info to the scouting department, or Floyd would not have been that high on the board. It’s the job of the general manager to coordinate this stuff between the coaches and the scouts.
Jerry? Where the heck were you?
On Frederick, the Cowboys are immensely pleased with the selection, although most draft gurus had him as a second- or third-round pick. Based, however, on the board being released last week, it appears Frederick was the second offensive-line target, not the first.
Word from Valley Ranch says Justin Pugh, a tackle out of Syracuse, was the first priority, and yes, the Giants were ripped for “reaching” when they took Pugh at No. 19.
It also can’t be emphasized enough about how the wise guys from the 49ers wanted the Cowboys’ No. 18 pick to take LSU safety Eric Reid. Safety is a position of need for the Cowboys, who had Reid at No. 24 on their board.
Guys like Reid and Floyd will be interesting to watch in their careers, as will tight end Tyler Eifert (No. 15 on the Valley Ranch board), whom the Cowboys could have had if they stayed at 18.
But the first three players the Cowboys did take (Frederick, Escobar and Williams) were all strong board selections, and represented board bargains in a draft short on true first-rounders.
We await, of course, the verdict on these players.
But a defensive, jittery Jerry did tell us all this five weeks ago.
Based on the info of last week, he was being honest.