Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones pulled off a draft-day first. He went after a fellow Arkansas Razorback.
Jones drafted Razorbacks running back Felix Jones with the No. 22 pick of the first round. Despite his love for the Hogs, it was the first time Jones drafted a player from his school since buying the team in 1989.
The Cowboys expect Jones to be a perfect compliment to hard-running starter Marion Barber. Jerry Jones said Felix Jones offers a back who can run the perimeter and provide help on special teams as a kick returner. Jones rushed for 1,000 yards the past two seasons despite backing up fourth overall pick Darren McFadden.
Felix Jones averages 7.6 yards per carry in his career at Arkansas and had 1,162 yards and 11 touchdown last season. He also averaged 29.6 yards per kick return last season. Jerry Jones had a tough decision with Felix Jones and Illinois’ Rashard Mendenhall both available. But Jerry Jones said Mendenhall was a comparable back to Barber. The Cowboys feel Felix Jones is a better compliment but not a full-time back.
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Jerry Jones also didn’t skip the first round without his staple of busy trading. But this time Jerry Jones traded up and went after South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins with the 25th pick. The Cowboys, who gave Seattle a fifth and seventh round picks, didn’t feel he would stay available much longer.
Jenkins slipped to the Cowboys and was regarded by many draft experts as one of the top three cornerbacks expected to be taken in the top 20 spots.
"The value for him was exceptional," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "And we had to make a move."
Jenkins expects to come in and help immediately with the Cowboys lacking depth at the position. The Cowboys said the trade for suspended Titans cornerback Pacman Jones had no impact on their drafts plans and the selection of Jenkins proved it.
Jenkins was bothered by slipping as far as he did but said when the Cowboys called, "it took me off my feet."
For Felix Jones he comes to Dallas and expected to share the load with Barber, who will enter next year as the starter for the first time. It’s a role he is familiar with.
With their second-round pick (61 overall), the Cowboys selected Texas A&M tight end Martellus Bennett.
"It's a great situation for me," Bennett said. "I think I am going to be a big impact."