Owner Jerry Jones gave assistant director of player personnel Will McClay an "A" for his work as the leader of the Cowboys draft war room. And not just work over the last three days during the 2014 NFL Draft but every thing he has done leading up to the draft in terms of organization of the scouts and coaches, putting the draft board together and getting everybody on the same page.
"I give him an A," Jones said. "I really do _ in every phase of it, preparation, the organizing of it. From organizing the initial days, from the Senior Bowl all the way to the combine, the organization of the board, coordination with the coaches – I’m going over all that because I’ll break it down – and I couldn’t give him anything but an A in every respect. We all know how smart he is, but he’s got a unique perspective. He’s been around this game long enough. It really came to bear in that room. He made a significant, really a significant contribution to this being a success."
McClay replaced Tom Ciskowski as the team's personnel czar last summer because of his success with street free agents the past few years. This was the first time he has directed the draft and Jones was more than pleased, especially with his ability to bring everybody together and on the same page.
"That may be his best trait," Jones said. "He’s got great people skills. Everybody’s comfortable with him, but yet he’s real articulate. You understand clearly what he’s asking and what he’d like to get done. You put all that together and he did a great job. He had these coaches operating full bore as far as what they were doing, what he wanted of them. He coordinated. Here with our new coordinator as an example, Jason really wanted him to spend time working, studying, studying our offense. So he had to work in with our offensive guys and really defense, too, with Rod Marinelli actually taking more responsibility. Their scouting duties really had to be coordinated with coaching duties in the off season. He did a great job of that."
McClay, who joined the Cowboys organization as coach of the now defunct Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League, has come a long way from his indoor-game roots.
Now he is on the fast tract to potentially geing a general manager one day _ especially considering he is not only the highest ranking African American in the Cowboys organization but the highest ranking official in the player personnel department without the last name of Jones.
If he continues to have success in his new role he will certainly be sought after by other teams and is already on the short list of general manager candidates put out by the Fritz Pollard Alliance when they forward names to team to comply with the Rooney Rule.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.