Cowboys' Jerry Jones Talks 2021 NFL Draft: 'Don't Be Stupid over Your Needs'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones walks off the field before an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

One of the great debates during any draft is whether teams should prioritize addressing major roster needs or simply select the best talent available and let the chips fall where they may.

The Dallas Cowboys are a great example ahead of Thursday's NFL draft. The Cowboys need major help on the defensive side of the ball, but it appears team owner Jerry Jones won't be beholden to filling that void at all costs:

Michael Gehlken @GehlkenNFL

With expected run on offensive players to begin draft, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said there is a “good chance to have a top defensive player — the top, one of top — be there at 10.” https://t.co/iz4SpQWhTg

Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN

Jerry Jones on whether #Cowboys would take an elite offensive player at 10 despite priority being defensive improvement: “Don’t be stupid over your needs. ... What is exciting about the 10th pick is you got a chance to do something unconventional.”

It was reported that the Cowboys and Jones were "infatuated" with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, for instance, though drafting him would likely require the Cowboys to trade up from No. 10 into the top five, a steep price to pay (the San Francisco 49ers gave up three first-round picks and a third-rounder to go from No. 12 to No. 3, for instance).

On Tuesday, Jones said his interest in Pitts has been overstated and the team wouldn't break the bank to land him:

Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN

Jerry Jones on Florida TE Kyle Pitts describes concept of his supposed infatuation is a “distortion.” Could Pitts help win Super Bowl? Yes, Jerry believes. But “we’re not going into to go in there and spend an inordinate value to go up there and get him.”

Much of Jones' comments could be posturing, of course. Cornerback is a huge need, but if teams below the Cowboys are convinced they'll select one of the top options at the position (Patrick Surtain II, Jaycee Horn), they may look to trade up to get ahead of Dallas. Keeping open the possibility that the Cowboys aren't cornerback-or-bust increases the odds, however slightly, that another team won't try to move ahead of them.

Keeping your cards close to the vest is always the play at the NFL draft. Information is a valuable commodity. 

But what if Pitts falls outside the top five? What if he's available at, say, No. 7? Suddenly, the cost to trade up wouldn't be quite so steep. In that scenario, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Cowboys at least inquire about a move up the board. 

If Dallas feels like Pitts is a potential Hall of Fame talent and none of the available cornerbacks are at that level, drafting solely for need doesn't make as much sense. That seems to be the gist of Jones' comments. If you need a bus pass but someone offers to give you a Porsche, aren't you taking the Porsche?