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The NFL’s virtual draft kicks off on Thursday night, and while many teams are worried about the technology failing them at a key moment, the Dallas Cowboys have something a lot more unpredictable to be concerned with: Jerry Jones.
Jones isn’t just the owner of the Cowboys, he’s also the general manager. He will be making the team’s draft picks on Thursday night, but instead of being in a room with his staff and son, director of player personnel Stephen Jones, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Jones will be following social distancing protocols. He’ll be drafting for the Cowboys at home alone.
That should strike fear into the hearts of Cowboys fans. Jones is an independent-minded owner and GM, known to go with his gut. There’s almost certainly a plan of attack for the Cowboys on Thursday night, but will Jones decide to follow it? Jones recently joked to the Star-Telegram that the virtual draft frees him from his son’s painful reminders to stick with their plan.
“One of the things I’m not going to miss is when I came out of those draft rooms over the weekend, my old shins used to have big old bruises on them,” Jerry Jones joked recently. “That was from Stephen kicking me under the table for three straight days relative to some of our decision-making. I think I’m going to kind of miss that physical punching that goes on as we’re conducting this draft.”
We even have solid evidence that Jones sometimes needs people to talk him out of bad draft decisions. Jones wanted to draft Johnny Manziel in 2014 and had to be talked out of it by his son and other staffers. They succeeded and convinced Jones to draft Zack Martin instead, which was a much wiser decision. On Thursday night, there will be no one in Jones’s home to talk him out of making an ill-advised pick.
Jones may be independent, but he’s certainly not stupid or irrational. The Cowboys’ staff will be connected to Jones and to each other virtually, and while Jones will still have the final say on draft picks, a whole group of Cowboys people will be participating in the decision-making process.
But still ... with Jerry Jones, you never know.
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