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With Parcells gone, Cowboys may look to move up in draft

April 24th, 2007 9:27 pm by Associated Press



IRVING, Texas - Jerry Jones may be looking to move up in the NFL draft, something the Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager never did with Bill Parcells at his side the past four years.


Parcells left the roster in good shape when he retired, even though it was the only of his four NFL coaching jobs where he never won a playoff game.


"I feel like that we could line up and play with the players that we have before the draft. ... We do not have to have a player at a position," said Jones, who is preparing for his 19th NFL draft. "That gives me a lot of flexibility in any decision that I may make as we get into the draft."


So does having 10 picks, though there is one small problem: The Cowboys, who haven't won a playoff game in 10 seasons, have the 22nd spot Saturday.


"Bill didn't do us any favors," Jones said, smiling. "He left us with a low draft pick."


Without a specifically pressing need and with a few extra picks, Jones may try to move up to get an impact player, preferably on the offensive side of the ball.


"I'm looking at the possibility of, and probably more seriously consider it than I ever have, doing some bundling up (of picks) and trading up," Jones said. "We do have our bases covered, so if there were a player we could reach - big if, big if - that could come in and make the obvious impact, then that should be a consideration."


The problem is, it would take a blockbuster deal to snag an impact player such as Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson or Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.


Not as big the October 1989 deal by Jones that sent Herschel Walker to Minnesota for five players and six draft picks, or Mike Ditka trading all six of New Orleans' picks in 1999 to get Ricky Williams. But it would have to be something significant.


And Jones is only planning to package draft picks, not current players.


"I would like to see if we could create some impact over there, do something to juice it up," Jones said. "But 31 other clubs are looking for the same guy, too."


Since Jones bought the team in 1989 - when he got Hall of Fame quarterback and three-time Super Bowl winner Troy Aikman with the first overall pick - the Cowboys have made 40 draft-day trades. There are only five years when one of those trades didn't involve a first-round pick.


The Cowboys moved up in 1990 to get NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith with the No. 17 pick. But even Jones knows the nearly impossible chances of something like that happening again that low in the round.


The Cowboys may look for a receiver - Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn both will be 33 at the start of their 12th NFL seasons - but the group behind Johnson is somewhat equal and probably not worth trading up for.


With the emergence of Tony Romo, the Cowboys may finally have a true successor to Aikman seven years after his last game, so they don't have to draft a quarterback high. Plus, they've already signed veteran Brad Johnson as insurance after Drew Bledsoe was released and retired.


The Cowboys also don't have to worry about trying to get an offensive lineman early after their offseason moves. They spent big money on free agent Leonard Davis and gave long-term contracts to keep right tackle Marc Colombo and center Andre Gurode. If the Cowboys go for defense, they'd probably have to do some dealing for LSU safety LaRon Landry or Michigan cornerback Leon Hall. However, But Texas safety Michael Griffin or his teammate, cornerback Aaron Ross, could be available at No. 22. Like Parcells, new coach Wade Phillips is defense-minded and well-versed in the 3-4 scheme, though they have different approaches. Most of the pieces are in place there because of the emphasis on defense the last two drafts: six of the eight picks in 2005, including first-rounders DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears, and first-round pick Bobby Carpenter and three more defenders last year. Parcells' final draft had a familiar formula. Dallas selected a defender in the first round, the son of one of the coach's former players, and made trades to acquire more picks.


Jones expects new coach Wade Phillips to be a little more flexible.


"Bill was a little more focused on a certain prototype that were his system guys," Jones said. "(Phillips) will take a guy that was drafted for that system and make it work in his system or attempt to work it in his system. His idea would be it's unlikely you're going to get them all that just fit."


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