Internet sleuths have deciphered the Cowboys’ draft board

Jerry Jones holds up the Cowboys draft board

Jerry Jones last week held up a sheet that showed a large portion of the Dallas Cowboys’ draft board to prove a point to reporters, and he may have given away more information than he intended.

Following the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, Jones spoke with the media about how thrilled the Cowboys were to land offensive lineman Tyler Smith with the 24th overall pick. Jones said Dallas had Smith ranked ahead of two other offensive linemen — Zion Johnson and Kenyon Green — who were drafted well ahead of Smith. In an attempt to prove it, Jones held up a sheet that he said was printed three days before the draft (video here). It showed 39 players ranked in order, 14 of which had first-round grades.

The internet sleuths immediately went to work. Using enhancement tools, they were able to decipher many of the names on the list. Assuming both the list and the interpretation of it are accurate, the Cowboys had Smith ranked 16th on their board.

The graphic above lists Utah as Smith’s school, which is inaccurate. However, the names match up with a more extensive list that The Athletic created using digital tools. Smith is, indeed, ranked ahead of both Green and Johnson on the Cowboys’ board. Dallas had Green listed at No. 20, and he was drafted 15th by the Houston Texans. Johnson was 22nd on Dallas’ board and drafted 17th by the Los Angeles Chargers.

Perhaps the most interesting part about the Cowboys’ board is that the two players they had ranked highest — defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive lineman Evan Neal — both ended up with the division rival New York Giants. Also, at least five players on the sheet were still available at the time Jones revealed it.

Jones is sometimes honest to a fault. Between revealing the Cowboys’ board and the shot he took at a Dallas draft bust, the 79-year-old has been in peak form this offseason.


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