DALLAS — As people fought the crowded roads of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex local sports stations were honoring their duty Thursday morning to keep fans apprised of what might go down later tonight at the NFL Draft in regards to the Dallas Cowboys.
On The Ticket, the largest sports station in Dallas as far as listenership and deeply dedicated fans, a round table of hosts from various shows plus Cowboys insiders quickly skipped through the options before settling into a lengthy conversation involving the Arkansas Razorbacks and the draft.
The initial topic of conversation was Treylon Burks, whom they had all seen. While they all agreed the primary need for Dallas is an offensive lineman, most likely Boston College’s Zion Johnson or Texas A&M Kenyon Green, the consensus across the board was that if it comes down to receiver and that pick is Treylon Burks, they would all be good with it.
One host, Bob Sturm, said he believed in Burks enough to promise that he wouldn’t rib Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about putting on his Razorback hat and calling the Hogs.
They all said they watched Burks when he played against A&M and, George Dunham, who has a son who went to Arkansas, said he watched Burks quite a bit.
They were impressed with his size and his in-game speed and were jovial at the idea of a Deebo Samuel “starter-kit” possibly coming to Dallas, even joking about whether a receiver throw-back play they always made fun of when the Cowboys would break it out might actually work now.
However, it was after the several minutes of gushing over Burks and fantasizing how a run on receivers might get the Cowboys over-excited enough to pull the trigger on a wide receiver that a curious statement slipped out that might not have been intended for air — unless it was definitely intended for air.
It’s hard to tell with the games NFL teams play leading up the draft.
While talking about getting to watch Burks at the A&M game in AT&T Stadium, the gentleman who works most closely with the Cowboys that isn’t a host mentioned that Burks and that Arkansas defensive lineman really stood out.
He then quickly added before anyone could follow up he had been told to not dig too deep into that un-named defensive lineman for specific reasons and left it at that.
If we’re talking about Razorbacks defensive linemen who had a good game against Texas A&M, it’s not a quick leap to John Ridgeway.
There would be only two reasons this comment would be made.
The first would be that Dallas Cowboy officials were letting someone who is going to cover their draft know to not waste their time because there are either extensive character or talent flaws that make him undraftable.
The second is because they are asking a media member to please not play Ridgeway up and indicate he’s on the Cowboys’ radar because they want to take a shot at drafting him without other teams using him as leverage to get an extra pick.
Given the Cowboys have come out firmly in Kelvin Joseph’s corner following his recent association with a murder in South Dallas, character flaws aren’t an issue even if there were indications Ridgeway had them.
That doesn’t appear to be the case.
RIdgeway’s showing at the Senior Bowl and in workouts has impressed teams, which is why he has been quietly sliding up the board to the cusp of cracking the Top 150 players available.
It might be assuming too much, but the most likely scenario is that the Cowboys have spoken to people who are going to be working draft coverage and creating mock drafts in the local media, many of whom used to work with the Cowboys, to do them a solid and not make it look like RIdgeway could be a target.
However, there’s always the other angle. So many false leads “slip” right before the draft.
This can come in the way of team officials telling a reporter known for journalistic ethics something off the record that is an outright lie to mis-lead other teams should it get out, or go to other members of the media who aren’t necessarily journalists who might like a favor or access down the road in exchange for accidentally dropping a tid-bit of information that would tip the Cowboys hand.
If that’s the case, the Cowboys believe RIdgeway is someone another team highly covets and is trying to bait them into trading with them or taking Ridgeway just ahead of them so their true target is still available.
Either scenario is good for Ridgeway.
His toughness and on-field mean streak, along with his size and athleticism, has put him on NFL radars and made him a lot of money over the last several weeks.
As long as the check is long and the opportunity is right, it’s highly unlikely Ridgeway cares which end of the mind games he is on.
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