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IRVING, TEXAS (AP) - The Dallas Cowboys bulked up in the NFL draft, and got a couple of all-purpose offensive players as well. All while owner Jerry Jones uncharacteristically stayed in place without any draft-day deals.
“As it turned out, we followed the board,” Jones said.
Dallas added the second offensive lineman in its first four picks, getting started on the final day Saturday by selecting 6-foot-5, 302-pound David Arkin from Missouri State with the 110th overall pick in the fourth round.
The Cowboys had already taken 6-5, 310-pound offensive tackle Tyron Smith from Southern Cal with the ninth overall pick. Smith was the first lineman they have drafted in the first round under Jones‘ ownership.
East Carolina receiver Dwayne Harris was the 176th overall pick in the sixth round. Harris and third-round pick, Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray, both had more than 6,300 all-purpose yards in college. They both returned kickoffs, and Harris also returned punts, something Murray might also do in the pros.
“We did something kind of different certainly from my perspective, and we didn’t do any trading,” Jones said. “It wasn’t that we didn’t have some real things to think about and high anxiety that comes with those kinds of decisions.”
The ongoing NFL labor situation limited how such draft-day deals could be made this year. Only picks, not players, could be swapped _ but that is something Jones had done often among the 58 draft-day trades he has made.
Dallas went into this year’s draft with eight picks, and selected in those exact spots.
The Cowboys used their fifth-round selection, the 143rd overall pick, to get Buffalo cornerback Josh Thomas before selecting Harris in the sixth round. Hard-nosed blocking fullback Shaun Chapas from Georgia was taken 220th overall in the seventh round and Dallas used a compensatory pick at 252nd overall to get Wisconsin center Bill Nagy.
That means only two fresh pieces for new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, an indication that the Cowboys must have a lot of faith in returning players for his own version of a 3-4 scheme.
It is the fewest defensive players Dallas has ever taken in a Jones-led draft.
Stephen Jones, the owner’s son and team’s director of player personnel, said the defense likely will be bolstered through unrestricted free agency or trades once the NFL labor situation is settled.
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