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Stephen Jones: We’ll “try to be better” about drafting “right character” players

DeMarcus Lawrence

File-This June 18, 2014, file photo shows Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence standing on the field up during an NFL football minicamp in Arlington, Texas.The boldest move on draft day for Dallas was moving up 13 spots to get Lawrence early in the second round. The Cowboys acknowledged they might have overpaid, and did so because they thought Lawrence was the best chance to replace Ware after dumping him in a salary cap move. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)


Word broke this week that Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Lawrence is appealing the suspension, but if it stands he will join fellow defensive end Randy Gregory on the suspended list for the start of the regular season. That’s obviously a problem for a Cowboys team that was already looking for pass rush help and executive vice president Stephen Jones said Friday that the team wants to “be better” about drafting players who stay on the field while addressing the suspensions generally.

“That’s a hard thing for people to get their hands around, it’s just hard to know when someone’s going to make the wrong turn or hit the wrong bump in terms of doing it once they get at our level,” Jones said on “G-Bag Nation” on 105.3 The Fan, via the Dallas Morning News. “It’s obviously so important to us in drafting guys with the right character but sometimes things happen that are unforeseen. Right now, I totally get that it may not look like it in terms of the mishaps we’ve had here, but it’s certainly very important to us and something we’ll continue to evaluate and try to be better.”

The Cowboys weren’t as concerned with that aspect of a player’s background when they signed Greg Hardy last year, although their experience with the defensive end should have underscored the need to find players who make most of their headlines on the field rather than off of it.

As for the need at defensive end, Jones said that Joey Bosa of Ohio State will get “strong consideration” from the team heading into Thursday’s first round. He also called Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey a “great football player” and the Cowboys could be choosing between that pair with the fourth overall pick.