NFL Exec: There Was No Need for Jerry Jones to Flash Cowboys' Big Board to Reporters

Adam WellsMay 6, 2022

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 16: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is seen on the field prior to a game between the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Jerry Jones has always done things in his own unique way, so it wasn't a surprise when the Dallas Cowboys owner decided to show the world the top of his team's draft board during a press conference this week. 

Speaking to The Athletic's Mike Sando, an executive from an opposing team questioned why Jones felt compelled to show everyone how the Cowboys had players ranked in the 2022 draft class. 

"You don’t walk around with a printout—I’ve never heard of that,” the executive said. "You just look at your board. You don’t bring it to a press conference. What good is that going to do? And there is no need for Jerry to show off their board. Their draft results speak for themselves, and if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt purely from a personnel standpoint, it’s them."

Mike Leslie @MikeLeslieWFAA

Lol not for lack of trying… I legit went home and screencast our video of the presser from my laptop to my TV… this was all I got <a href="https://t.co/rjVG093qAT">pic.twitter.com/rjVG093qAT</a>

After Jones showed his big board to the media, internet sleuths attempted to decode the names that showed up blurry on most of the pictures taken. 

One Twitter user put together a list that had Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux as the No. 1 player on the Cowboys' board, followed by Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal and Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. 

The Cowboys' first-round pick at No. 24 overall was Tulsa offensive tackle Tyler Smith. If the Twitter user's detective work is an accurate representation of what Jones showed the media, Smith was the No. 16 player on Dallas' board. 

Despite the executive's apparent annoyance that Jones carries around a copy of his big board, this is nothing new for the Cowboys. 

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports noted this is at least the fourth time since 2010 that a portion of Dallas' draft board has been leaked online.

Those past incidents appeared to be simple mistakes from the team's in-house media taking a photo of Jones with the board in the background. 

There was a moment with the Jacksonville Jaguars last year that isn't exactly the same as what has happened to the Cowboys, but it's in a similar ballpark. 

Per Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports, the Jaguars produced a video series called The Hunt about the 2021 draft and its aftermath.

There's one moment in the video where you can see the Jaguars putting up name plates with grades of players drafted. Trevor Lawrence, who was the team's pick at No. 1 overall, and Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (No. 6 to the Miami Dolphins) had the same grade at 8.0. 

Even though there is no harm in Jones showing off the Cowboys' draft board to the public, it's not a custom that any other team intentionally does. Most organizations keep their draft rankings a tightly guarded secret, even after the event is over.