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August 28, 2023

NFC East News: Jerry Jones implies the Cowboys could've drafted Jalen Hurts in 2020

After trading for Trey Lance, Jerry Jones brought up how the Cowboys could've had "the Philadelphia quarterback" twice.

The Cowboys traded for the 49ers' discarded quarterback Trey Lance late last week, then when discussing why they did on Sunday, team owner Jerry Jones brought up "the Philadelphia quarterback" – i.e. Jalen Hurts – not once but twice. 

Apparently, according to Jones, Dallas had ambitions of drafting Hurts back in 2020, but they were looking for the now franchise QB to fall further back in the draft than he did when the Eagles, at the time surprisingly, took him off the board at 53rd overall. 

Said Jones in his media scrum on Sunday (via Dallas' WFAA):

"But this boils down to how we evaluated [Lance] in the draft. It boils down to the fact that, frankly, apart from just assessing his physical condition relative to the injuries that he had, that was the first thing I wanted to make sure we were clear on. 

"But the idea of having what we had seen when he came through the draft and being able to work with it again with our quarterback room was just an opportunity that we have thought about many times to try to get to.

"If he'd hung around long enough, we might have done this on the Philadelphia quarterback (Hurts) about two years ago. But again, my point is we view this as an opportunity. We view it as an additional part of this team that could pay dividends this year, but certainly in the future will pay dividends in my mind." [WFAA]

Shoulda, coulda, woulda. 

Dallas shipped a 2024 fourth-rounder to San Francisco in exchange for Lance after the former 2021 third-overall pick, through injury and getting leapfrogged on the depth chart in a win-now window, never panned out with the 49ers. 

His athleticism and possible ceiling as a multi-threat QB was what garnered him attention coming out of North Dakota State, but he was also seen as a project that would require the right environment and plenty of patience to develop into a starter. Kyle Shanahan's offense in San Francisco had neither, and now the Cowboys are taking the relatively low-risk flier that they do, though not without the odd implication from Jones that this could've originally been Hurts instead.

Continued Jones in the scrum:

"I think had we been able to draft [Lance] with next year's [fourth-rounder], the kind of talent he was in this draft, – like I just told you two years ago we were looking at the Philadelphia quarterback, and I'm not calling names, but looking at him, had he fallen to us there, we would've drafted him – It is our plan when we can, but it very seldom happens to have someone of a high enough quality to be there at the right place with our draft pick." [WFAA]

The Cowboys did have an opportunity to take Hurts before the Eagles did at No. 53 back in 2020, but used their 51st overall pick in that year's second round to take cornerback Trevon Diggs instead. 

The pick was hardly a miss in all fairness, as Diggs has since become a key starter, First-Team All-Pro, and two-time Pro Bowler for the Cowboys. But in the long run, a definite misread on how good Hurts actually was, and all to their biggest rival's benefit in the end – even if, at the time, the Eagles didn't know it yet themselves

Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Dallas has Trey Lance now. 

Also, Jones didn't tell his current starting QB Dak Prescott nor his head coach Mike McCarthy that the trade was happening – "We didn't tell anybody until we did it," Jones said.

Dak seemed thrilled about that. 😬

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