INDIANAPOLIS -- In an effort to avoid the miscommunication that led the Dallas Cowboys to pass on the fifth-ranked player on their board while holding the 18th pick in the first round in last year's draft, the defensive coaches spent the last two weeks discussing with the scouts the characteristics of the players they want in their 4-3 scheme.
Last year the Cowboys passed on Sharrif Floyd in part because he was not a fit for what Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli wanted in a defensive lineman. During last year's draft owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Floyd did not have the "quick twitch" the Cowboys needed at defensive tackle.
If that was the case, then Floyd should not have been rated so highly.
"That was unfortunate with Sharrif," executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "I don't want to single a guy out, but I think that can happen when you change a system. You move from what we were doing and we were so into that, and then all of a sudden you move to a 4-3 and you've got new coaches in the room and what they're trying to accomplish and that kind of slipped through the cracks a bit on us. It won't happen again."
The Minnesota Vikings drafted Floyd with the No. 23 overall pick and he had 2.5 sacks as a rookie. Jones felt the Cowboys evaluated the player correctly but not when it related to the Cowboys' scheme.
"You have some players that you have issues with because they don't fit your system necessarily," Jones said. "Even though Sharrif may have been a first-round type player in our old system, he might not have been a first-round player for what we want in our system as an under tackle. I mean, we think in our system we can find nose tackles later in the draft that do a good job. I think under tackles are hard to find, great ones are."