Vice president Stephen Jones joked that he had to hold a gun to the head of his father and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at times on Friday to keep him from making a deal to get back in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys gave up the pick on Thursday when they moved from 14th to sixth in the first round to take standout LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, resulting in the ansty Jones having to wait for 48 players to be selected before their third-round pick.
The wait ended when they took Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford in the third round with the 81st overall pick.
The last time the Cowboys had to wait that long to make a pick in 2000, when they didn’t have picks in the first or third rounds and their second selection wasn’t until the 109th overall in the fourth round.
“Long day, long day,” joked owner Jerry Jones. “We wanted to resist the temptations of loading up because it would have been too heavy of a price to move back in there.”
Considering what they got in Claiborne and what they ended up with in Crawford, the Cowboys believe the wait was well worth it because of his motor and potential, a combination that reminds them of Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff.
Jones said Crawford was the top player on their board in the third round.
“We are really excited to have Tyrone,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We like his potential and the motor in which he plays. He is a high energy guy. The vision we have for him as an early down rush guy and then grow into a first and second down player at the five technique.”
A native of Winsdor, Ontario, Canada, Crawford attended to Bakersfield Junior College to hone his football skills in the United States before transferring to Boise State. He is still somewhat of a project but he has excellent pass rushing skills, recording 13.5 sacks in two seasons at Boise State.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Crawford admits he is still raw and learning the game but is familiar with the Cowboys and its America’s Team image from his childhood.
“I’m super excited,” Crawford said. “My perception of the Cowboys was hearing my mom screaming in the background. That’s my mom’s favorite team. She was crying.”
Crawford said he was surprised to be picked by the Cowboys because he didn’t have many conversations with them since talking with defensive line coach Joe Baker at the combine.
It was Baker who talked to him on the phone Friday night and told him to come in and be ready to be coached.
“I definitely consider myself a student of the game and I try to get better every day,” Crawford said. “I know they got a beastly defense. I’m ready to be part of it.”
The Cowboys have five picks left on Saturday’s final day of the draft -- two fourths, one fifth, one sixth and one seventh.
Jones said the team is open to picking a player from at any position except for cornerback, unless he has the ability to convert to safety.
He also said the Cowboys hope to continue the trend from the first two picks and get players from big school programs who have a reputation for working hard. Jones admits the Cowboys have been burned the past few years by taking chances on small school players like Western Illinois linebacker Jason Williams in 2009 and Indiana (Pa.) safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah in 2010.
“We will be right in thick of things with a couple of fours,” Jones said. “We are glad to get this big school high competition guy right here and would like to carry it on out. I think it’s fair [to say that we learned from our mistakes]. You have to look at what you are going to get right now.”