Byron Jones has been labeled a “workout warrior” after his impressive showing at the NFL Combine, setting a record in the broad jump.
He admitted that helped generate more buzz around his name going into the draft, but it’s not exactly a term most players want attached to them.
As Jones said, “You hear the term ‘workout warrior,’ but to me those people don’t matter. The people that matter are the GMs, the coaches and scouts that are looking at your film and actually evaluating you. So I’m very happy with the outcome. Very happy.”
That’s because the Dallas Cowboys were thrilled to see Jones’ name on the board when their turn came up with the 27th overall pick. The Cowboys could have traded out of the first round, but had no interest to do that.
Jones was simply too good of a prospect that helped them fill a dire need at cornerback. There were some health questions with Jones after he underwent left shoulder surgery last season, but he said he is 100 percent and cleared to be a full participant in next weekend’s rookie mini camp.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones acknowledged that the team didn’t have a “true-blue first-round” grade on Byron Jones, but certainly had him as one of the top-20 players in the draft.
“I’d say there were two more players in consideration, although this one was quite more appealing to us than the other two,” Stephen Jones said.
Byron Jones is certainly the “right kind of guy” in Jason Garrett’s mind on and off the field. He is the youngest of four brothers, two of whom serve in the military, and enters the league with minimal makeup concerns.
And on the field, he provides a tall, physical corner that thrives in press coverage. He is also versatile with the ability to play free safety should the Cowboys need him there.
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With the selection of Byron Jones, Cowboys brass fielded plenty of questions about their current cornerback corps.
Morris Claiborne continues to rehab from serious knee surgery; Orlando Scandrick is unhappy with his contract and has skipped voluntary workouts; and Brandon Carr could be asked to take a pay cut in the next few weeks.
Owner Jerry Jones said he expects Scandrick and Carr to remain on the team, and Stephen Jones sounded optimistic about Claiborne’s recovery.
“Mo can be a major contributor,” Stephen Jones said.
Todd Gurley ended up sneaking into the top 10 when the St. Louis Rams grabbed the talented Georgia back coming off an ACL injury. Five picks later, the Chargers traded up a couple picks to select Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.
Those were the two running backs projected to go in the first round, and the Cowboys were likely not going to see either when they picked at 27.
But the good news for the Cowboys is that it’s a deep running back class, and there are other options for them in the later rounds to try and fill the void left by DeMarco Murray.
The Cowboys brought in six running backs for pre-draft visits, namely Indiana’s Tevin Coleman and Boise State’s Jay Ajayi. Other quality backs available for now include Miami’s Duke Johnson, Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon and Northern Iowa’s David Johnson.
Still, the Cowboys maintain that they don’t have to add a running back. They feel good with what they’ve done so far, signing Darren McFadden to go along with returners Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams.
“We feel very comfortable with our running back core,” Stephen Jones said. “As far as I’m concerned, we can go to war with what we’ve got.”
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760