Randy Gregory was considered a top-15 talent on the field, but character concerns made his stock drop significantly.
He failed a drug test at the Scouting Combine. He missed scheduled meetings with teams. Those red flags, Gregory admitted, were his fault and he expressed that to the Dallas Cowboys.
Gregory, a defensive end from Nebraska, knew he needed to land with a team with a support system in place that could help him get on track, and felt the Cowboys made the most sense after a lengthy heart-to-heart conversation with owner Jerry Jones during his pre-draft visit.
Being called out publicly by former Cowboy great Michael Irvin helps, too, and Gregory believes Irvin will become one of his mentors.
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“When he called me out and said that it kind surprised me, but I’m glad he did it,” Gregory said. “I will definitely be looking for more advice.
“This is the right spot and these are the guys that can get me to the level I need to be at to help them win a championship. That is the main thing we want to do.”
Most thought Gregory could be the Cowboys’ option with the 27th overall pick, but they opted for cornerback Byron Jones. But Gregory saw his stock continue to slide in Round 2, and fell into the waiting arms of the Cowboys with the 60th overall pick.
Gregory’s character issues aren’t anything the Cowboys don’t feel they can handle, though.
This is a team that has helped Josh Brent, convicted of intoxicated manslaughter that took the life of a teammate, and Rolando McClain, a first-round bust with plenty of issues who flourished last season.
And the list goes on.
Gregory hopes to become another success story and his mindset certainly suggests he has the makings of doing just that.
“I know I made a mistake, I know there is only so much I can say — talk is cheap sometimes,” Gregory said. “I really want to show these guys what I can do and I am really serious about what I say. I gave that staff my word plenty of times and I really feel like they believe me. I can’t wait to show them.”
Cowboys add lineman
Maybe the Cowboys weren’t bluffing when they said running back wasn’t an “urgent” need for them going into the draft.
Or maybe simply the right running back wasn’t there when they drafted in the third round.
Instead of taking a running back such as Boise State’s Jay Ajayi, the Cowboys opted to go offensive line with Florida offensive tackle Chaz Green.
Green has durability concerns, but should step into the swing tackle role for the Cowboys next season since Jermey Parnell left via free agency.
The first-round pick was greeted at the airport and whisked away to Valley Ranch in the team bus on Friday.
Byron Jones wore a hoodie getting on the plane from Chicago O’Hare to D/FW. But the former Connecticut cornerback couldn’t hide his identity for long.
His seat mate in first class quickly figured out who he was, and the flight attendants on the American Airlines flight recognized his name on the manifest.
“It was pretty cool,” Jones said. “I autographed some things.”
When he landed, the Cowboys’ team bus picked him up with team personnel greeting him at baggage claim, then taking him to the evening news conference at Valley Ranch.
That completely gave away his identity.
Fans greeted the Dallas Cowboys’ first-round pick with well-wishes, posing for photos and asking for autographs.
“It’s awesome,” Jones said. “It’s so surreal. I don’t think it’s hit me yet. I still feel kind of normal, but I think I get on the practice field I think it’ll hit me.”
Cowboys running back Joseph Randle learned earlier in the week he wouldn’t face felony charges for a domestic violence allegation against him stemming from an early February incident in Wichita, Kan., and found out Friday he won’t face misdemeanor charges either.
The Wichita city attorney’s office announced that it will not file charges against Randle and the case is considered closed.
The Wichita police department conducted a nearly three-month investigation into the incident and did not produce enough evidence to warrant pursuing the case further.
Charean Williams contributed to this report
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760