Cowboys NFL Scouting Combine Primer: 'We're In The Talent-Acquisition Business'

Mike Fisher

Jerry Jones' "Party Bus'' is actually all business this week as it rolls into Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine, the meet-and-greet meat market that sets up the April NFL Draft.

Well, maybe not all business. But it's a centerpiece of what Jerry and Stephen and the Cowboys do annually in Indy. Scout players. Meet agents. Hold court. Eat at St. Elmo's. All of it.

Some of the drills have changed; in many cases, the essentials remain essential, as scouting guru Gil Brandt points out ...

"We're in the talent-acquisition business,'' Dallas Cowboys COO Stephen Jones will say ... and away we go ...

Here is our's Dallas Cowboys NFL Scouting Combine Primer:

1. 2019 Season in Review - A disappointment, of course, an 8-8 campaign that to many counts as an all-time failure for this franchise given the supposedly loaded roster. Head coach Jason Garrett and most of his staff lost their jobs. New boss Mike McCarthy and staff will be in Indy, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jones and with personnel chief Will McClay and his scouting staff.

2. 2020 Draft Position - The Cowboys are in the No. 17 slot in the first round and have six total picks (none in the sixth round). As always, Jerry will tell the media his thoughts on "moving up or down'' and I will include the possibility of "moving sideways,'' just to emphasize the silly unpredictable nature of it all - though in the Jerry Era this is about the most moving'est Draft Day team in the NFL.

3. Helped Wanted. Help Needed - What kind of first-round decision could they face? Will need match up with value? As we sit here today, running back (where Dallas employs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard) is the only position where using a high pick would seem wasteful. And yes, I'm including QB as a remote possibility.

4. Five Players Cowboys Fans Must Watch - LSU defensive back Grant Delpit, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, safety Xavier McKinney of Alabama, defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw of South Carolina, Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs and are all fun names.

5. Who Makes The Call and Recent Draft Hits and Misses - Cowboys critics say it's a copout when former coach Garrett or anybody else in the organization would, over the past decade, say it's a "collaborative effort.'' But it was always true.

Now? McClay builds the board. As The Great Unifier, he makes sure the coaching staff has a voice. Sometimes, that's resulted in high-pick failures along the defensive line (Randy Gregory, Taco Charlton and Trysten Hill haven't lived up to their Dallas billing). But overall, the McClay-driven board has netted star-quality players with virtually every first-round pick ... and as with any NFL team, it's imperative that happens again, a process that starts now in Indy. ... aboard Jerry's "Party Bus.''

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