Byron Jones was a player that the Dallas Cowboys targeted and wanted.
As the draft was going on, the Cowboys waited and fretted. They need help on the secondary and Jones' athletic ability and versatility was something the Cowboys didn't want to pass up. They were tempted to go up and grab him, didn't expect him to be there, and nabbed him when the time came.
"We had him rated high on our board," Cowboys owner and president Jerry Jones said. "He was in our top 15 and 16 players on the board."
"There's an urge as you watch 26 players roll out, there is an urge (to trade up). But that is the art of the process."
"Seriously, that's the anxiety that is involved. We didn't see a lot of trading possibilities, but we were keeping our eyes open in case a real bargain came along."
What do the Cowboys see in Jones?
Well, first off, they like that he played safety early in his career. The Cowboys are in dire need of secondary help and the plan is to use Jones as a corner, and perhaps a safety depending on the health of Morris Calibourne, who had a knee injury last year.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett feels Jones can play right away and loves that versatility in the secondary.
"He has the physical traits to play safety. You see him play free safety his first two years, they had two good corners there (Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Dwayne Gratz), you see that tape, you like what you see, and I think it is a realistic projection for him to play corner in this league and to play free safety.
"We anticipate him starting out as a corner. Depending on health of secondary, moving him to safety is realistic."
The Cowboys left no stone unturned. Jones and Garrett still have a strong relationship with former UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni, who was an assistant with the Cowboys before taking the job at UConn. The organization talked with Pasqualoni about Jones and then also had a scout that knew Jones' position coaches. They also brought him to Dallas to work out and were impressed by his football ability and off the field character.
"We probably knew as much on him as anybody in the draft," Jerry Jones said. "Pasqualoni coached him and we had a scout who knew his position coaches and felt real good about our evaluation of Byron.
"He played 2 years as a safety and as well as what he can do at corner. So, that was pretty prominent in our decision to take him."
"It was hard waiting. But, it worked out for us. we were fortunate when you put in the cross hairs our team needs, type of player he is, our coaches were particularly on the table for him during our evaluation process."