The Cowboys thought they were deep enough in the defensive line last year that they could be picky in the draft, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said.
But he admitted he didn’t anticipate the number of injuries the Cowboys would have at that position.
“We lost four of the five that we thought we were going to compete with all year long, much less initially or at periods of time, and so I didn’t anticipate that,” Jones said.
Jones said he thought DeMarcus Ware would have a strong year because he was healthy, that Anthony Spencer was getting ready to put back-to-back years together, that Jay Ratliff could regain his Pro Bowl form after battling injuries for two years and that 2012 third-round pick Tyrone Crawford was “our up-and-coming star, if you will.”
The Cowboys passed up a chance to select defensive tackle Sharif Floyd, who they had rated in their top 10, as he slid down the board and instead traded down to the end of the first round, where they selected center Travis Frederick.
“So I thought, yeah, we thought we could be pretty selective before we took a defensive lineman,” Jones said this week at the Senior Bowl. “But that just shows you, you can be long or feel pretty good about where you are as a team and a position and then very quickly get in a pretty compromised spot relative to injury.
“But injury is there for everybody and impacted everybody this year. And most clubs that I saw did a good job of handling the injury and compensating for it. I thought that we did a good job, but it was, relative to what we have to have – most teams do – but what we have to have in this scheme, this first-year scheme, when we were going in with Kiffin, we really needed a lot of pressure from that front seven and that front four, and we were compromised.”
In not selecting Floyd, Jones said on draft day that the Cowboys didn’t see “quick-twitch” in the player. Jones said this week that the Cowboys value both “quick-twitch” and size for their 4-3 scheme.
“Let’s say what is essential, and it’s more essential to be quick and have a real active mentality, have a very active motor in the vernacular of football, and that’s the biggest thing you look for in a defensive linemen for us,” he said.
-- Carlos Mendez