IRVING – It was difficult to find an NFL Draft analyst who didn’t have safety ranked among the Dallas Cowboys’ biggest needs heading into this weekend.
The Cowboys front office didn’t share those concerns about the position.
Thirteen safeties were selected in the first five rounds of this year’s draft. Dallas didn’t choose one until the seventh round, taking Baylor’s Ahmad Dixon with the 248th selection.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said that they didn’t need to grab a safety in the first few rounds because they still consider Matt Johnson "the equivalent to one of those draft picks up there."
Johnson was drafted two years ago by the Cowboys in the fourth round, however, he has yet to play in an NFL game because of multiple injuries. Jones also noted that they have "high expectations" for J.J. Wilcox, who was drafted last year in the third round.
The Cowboys would’ve liked to have added Louisville’s Calvin Pryor, Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward, but all three were drafted among the first 30 picks.
"You can obviously upgrade [the position] if you take them [in the first round]," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "I’m not going to deny that."
But after Pryor, Clinton-Dix and Ward were gone, the rest of the group didn’t impress the Cowboys enough to warrant a pick.
"After that we kind of felt like we were getting a lot of what we had," Stephen Jones added. "We like J.J. and we like [Barry] Church. We like [Jeff] Heath. We’ll just see how these guys play out. We got a little bit on the come on Jakar [Hamilton] obviously, and see what Matt Johnson does.
"I feel pretty comfortable there. More comfortable than probably people from the outside looking in."