Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ended the draft freefall of Nebraska outside linebacker Randy Gregory by selecting him with the No. 60 overall pick of the NFL Draft on Friday. Thought of as perhaps the best pure pass-rusher in the draft despite his slender frame, Gregory slipped until late in the second round because of off-field concerns.
"You're getting a guy that hasn't even scratched the surface as a person and as a player," Gregory told the assembled media shortly after being selected. "There is a lot of tradition with this organization and I don't want to be the one to bring a bad light on that. And I won't be."
Gregory tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine, and was late to pre-draft interviews, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. NFL Media's Albert Breer and Rapoport also reported that there were concerns about Gregory's ability to handle the "mental rigors" of professional football. Gregory was the final player in the green room in Chicago to be taken.
"It was worth the wait," Gregory told NFL Network's Melissa Stark. "I'm just happy to be a Dallas Cowboy. ... We're going to do big things."
Gregory bounded down the steps of the stage in Chicago while yelling out "Super Bowl" to no one in particular. His energy and confidence are hard to miss. And it's also hard to miss Dallas' suddenly changed front seven. The team added former Carolina Panther Greg Hardy to the mix in the offseason, and then watched him get suspended 10 games by the NFL for multiple violations of league policy. Last year's second-round pick Demarcus Lawrence also came on strong late in the year.
Dallas was one of the worst teams in the league rushing the passer last year, and they have addressed that need aggressively this offseason. In first-round cornerback Byron Jones and Gregory, they have also dramatically improved the athleticism of their defense. This has been a boom-or-bust draft from a boom-or-bust franchise.