Quarterback not Cowboys' primary goal in first round of draft

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA Sports

Posted on May 6, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 6 at 6:22 PM

IRVING — NFL teams are required to hold pre-draft news conferences, but that doesn't mean they have to reveal their draft day plans.

“I'm not going to go into what we're going to draft in the first round,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

What Jones will talk about is how he hopes draft day 2014 will help improve the Cowboys' defense, which finished dead-last in the league last year.

“I would hope that we can find defensive players at the right value,” Jones said. “If we don't, that means there was some real value over on the offensive side of the ball.”

“It’s not about rebuilding; it’s about building, and building with cornerstone-type players,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “The worst mistake you can make is over-drafting for need and leaving really, really good players on the board."

"We've had a lot of attrition in our defensive front this year," Jones said. "What is obvious is, if you want to start at the need, you can start right there. We shouldn't go overboard and be influenced to the point where we pass up a great opportunity to have a great draft otherwise."

This draft means everything to the Cowboys — especially coming off three consecutive 8-8 seasons. No matter what they do in this year’s draft, there is one position that Jones feels very good about, and that's having Tony Romo at quarterback.

“In my m view, our best shot is a healthy Tony Romo,” Jones said. “I'm not that gunned up over what a rookie quarterback could do for us this year. That takes time. This isn't rebuilding time.”

That means if someone like former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel dropped into their laps at the 16th spot, odds are they would draft someone else.

“It is not our primary goal in the first round to be looking at a quarterback,” Jones said. ”We've got a good one, and really, I’m going to say better than that. There are differences of opinions I’m sure. So that's not a primary need of us."

Romo just turned 34 and is coming off a second back surgery. His last surgery was to repair a herniated disk sustained in a game against the Redskins.

Dallas still expects backup Kyle Orton to return. In case he doesn’t, the team added free agent Brandon Weeden, a first-round pick by Cleveland in 2012.

Garrett also said that Romo worked out for 45 minutes on Tuesday, a workout that included dropping back and throwing. He said Romo’s rehabilitation is on schedule.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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