I've always hated when people identify winners after the first day of an NFL draft; so clearly I'm going to have some self-loathing issues tonight. Still, I can't help myself. I was that impressed with Cowboys owner
One of the dangers of having a commissioner who wields a mighty hammer when it comes to personal conduct is that teams sometimes act as if immaturity is a crime. Case in point: Oklahoma State wideout
He was widely regarded as the best player at his position, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound blend of size, athleticism and playmaking skills. But instead of going in the top 10, where someone of his talent normally is selected, Bryant plummeted to 24, where Jones traded up three spots to get him. The reason for his fall? Character concerns.
I could understand if Bryant had killed someone while driving drunk, or allegedly assaulted a woman in a bar bathroom, or failed a drug test, or tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. But his public rap sheet consists of lying to the NCAA about his relationship with former NFL great
"Nothing bad," one scout said Thursday night.
This is not an attempt to paint Bryant as an angel and say he will never have a misstep. But for someone of his immense talents to fall for what amounts to immaturity is ridiculous. But maybe that's what it has come to in this age of the personal conduct policy, under which commissioner
I remember having a conversation with respected sociologist
No doubt, Bryant has some issues. Several scouts talked privately about his "shaky" support system at home, his anger issues as a child and his habitual tardiness. But the fact remains that there is nothing criminal or bad-natured in his background -- at least nothing that has been served up for public consumption. Clearly, Jones did not see a "character risk" when he made the trade.
Jones saw a young man (21) who still has a lot of growing to do and a wide receiver who, in his last full season, had 87 receptions for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns. Perhaps Jones recognized the tremendous value of getting a top-10 player at No. 24, or maybe he thought back to 1998, when he passed on immensely talented wideout
When the teams met later that year, Moss got his payback by burning the Cowboys for three touchdowns. I don't think Jones has forgotten that. What else to make of his decision to ignore more pressing areas of need to take a wideout, particularly when he has a lot of money already invested in receivers
"He will need multiple babysitters," says the scout. "But he's as talented as any."
Which is why the Cowboys get the highest marks on Day 1 of this year's draft. Jones will provide the support system for Bryant, and Bryant will provide the playmaking that will make other teams regret passing on him.