NFL DRAFT: Cowboys turn No. 22 into Spencer, Cleveland's No. 1 in '08 Print
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Saturday, 28 April 2007 13:47
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 IRVING, Texas (AP) -The Dallas Cowboys didn't need Bill Parcells at this draft. Jerry Jones was back in his element.
With their No. 22 pick in the first round becoming a hot commodity, Jones reverted to the riverboat-gambler mode that has long served him well, from his years in the oil business to his early days running the Cowboys. Two trades later, Dallas wound up with pass-rushing linebacker Anthony Spencer of Purdue at No. 26 and next year's first-round pick from Cleveland.
Spencer was one of the players the Cowboys were eyeing at No. 22, so they didn't lose anything there. And considering how bad the Browns have been in recent years, their top pick in 2008 could be near the top of the draft.
``Obviously, someone who needs a quarterback is someone you want to talk to about next year's No. 1,'' Jones said, smiling.
Here's how it broke down: Dallas' No. 22 went to Cleveland for No. 36 this year and a first-round pick in 2008. The Cowboys then turned No. 36, plus their own third- and fifth-rounders, to get No. 26 from Philadelphia.
So when all the moving pieces settled into place, Dallas got Cleveland's top choice next year for a third- and fifth-round pick this year.
``This is my first draft with Jerry - and he's a wheeler-dealer!'' new coach Wade Phillips said.
Jones spent the last four drafts getting Parcells' input into every pick. With Jones squarely running the show for the first time since 2002, the Cowboys' draft room was interesting from the start.
After a long, heated debate over a chance to give up an established player and move into the top five spots, the Cowboys looked up to see Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn slipping. Around the 13th or 14th picks, Dallas got serious about lining up offers from teams wanting to use the 22nd pick on him.
The Cowboys had Quinn rated among their top 10 players, so they talked about taking him for themselves. Yet they ultimately felt comfortable enough with Tony Romo not to bother creating what would certainly be a difficult situation for Romo, Quinn and Phillips.
``I think the way we feel about Tony and his potential is definitely reflected in the fact we didn't draft Quinn, since we obviously had the chance to,'' Jones said.
The chance to maximize Quinn's availability was attractive, too.
There were at least two teams Jones was convinced wanted No. 22 for Quinn. Cleveland was the only one offering next year's No. 1. Other teams also said they'd give a 2008 first-rounder, but the other picks involved didn't fit what Dallas needed.
What the Cowboys needed was a high-second rounder, because they were determined to get back into the first-round, preferably within a few picks of where they'd originally been.
``As soon as we made the trade down, we immediately started making numerous calls to the teams there in the first round that we felt like would be a good place,'' team president Stephen Jones said.
The fit was the Eagles, a surprise trading partner because they're a division rival. Philly fans will certainly remember that should the 6-foot-2, 261-pound Spencer ever sack Donovan McNabb.
Spencer is a college defensive end who will play outside linebacker in Phillips' 3-4 scheme. He could be a nice complement to DeMarcus Ware and another option in case Greg Ellis has trouble returning from a season-ending knee injury. His arrival also may complicate plans for how Dallas uses last year's top pick, Bobby Carpenter, although Phillips considers it a good problem to have.
``I think he's the right size for an outside backer who can run,'' Phillips said. ``He reminds me of a guy that's going to pressure the passer, which is certainly what we need.''
The Cowboys still had their own second-round pick, No. 53 overall.
 

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