What debate over Smith pick shows about Cowboys

Mike Florio and Chris Simms explore the Cowboys’ hesitation between selecting Mazi Smith or Matthew Bergeron and discuss how it indicates Jerry Jones still is calling the shots in Dallas.

Video Transcript

- You got two minutes.

- I'm just getting warmed up.

[LAUGHTER]

- Will, who would you take?

- Personally, I would go with Mazi, because I know that he helps us now with the guard. I love the guard, too. My question is, you're adding something to it where we have depth. I think the defensive linemen gives you an immediate starter and something for the future.

- Here-- I am cutthroat if we missed one of those two guys after having them both here in our hands.

- We're better on the line of scrimmage with either one of these guys. We've had offensive linemen there. We've had the opportunity to pick them. We've not had a defensive lineman-- interior defensive lineman that high in quite some time.

- You're good.

- All right.

- Let's get him on the phone.

[APPLAUSE]

[DRAMATIC MUSIC]

MIKE FLORIO: Was that real, or was that staged after the fact?

CHRIS SIMMS: It seemed like it was a little staged, right? I'm not going to lie. It seemed like there was lines there. Yeah, I'm with you there, Mike. I was thinking the same thing.

MIKE FLORIO: Because number one, you don't just put that out there unless you think it presents the team in a positive way. You think it's going to be compelling. It shows that they're trying to figure out in that moment who they're going to take after they got jumped by the Bills for tight end Dalton Kincaid. They had to come up with another plan. I saw somebody push the idea that the Chiefs wanted to trade up to get Mazi Smith.

That's the guy they took in that spot-- the defensive tackle, 26th overall. The guard they-- who is the guard they referred to?

CHRIS SIMMS: Matthew Bergeron. Bergeron.

MIKE FLORIO: Matthew Bergeron is the guard they were thinking about taking.

CHRIS SIMMS: Right. The Falcons took him in the top of the second.

MIKE FLORIO: Yeah. There's something about that that felt like it was contrived. Staged. They were aware they were going to use it. They knew the cameras were on, and that was specifically going to be selected and used. It's edited.

There's just something about that seems a little Fugazi to me.

CHRIS SIMMS: No, it did, too. I don't know why it did not feel real or natural. It seemed like it was for-- for what we were watching live on TV, it seemed like there was a little bit more of a hectic conversation when they showed in that room that night. And there, for a team that was thrown off kilter by everybody trading in front of them, because everybody knew they wanted Dalton Kincaid or other guys there-- they just seemed a little relaxed, I guess, is what it seems.

MIKE FLORIO: I mean, haven't you already gone through-- think about this. You've had all this time to prepare. You've got your board figured out. If you've got the 26th pick in the draft, you got to have 26 guys you feel good about minimum you've already ranked. Because you've already accounted for the possibility Dalton Kincaid's not going to be there.

So you've already put Mazi Smith ahead of or behind Matthew Bergeron. This isn't something that you're pulling out of the air or out of your butt with two minutes left on the clock.

CHRIS SIMMS: Well--

MIKE FLORIO: So again--

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah.

MIKE FLORIO: --this reminds me of the scene from "Hard Knocks" where Hugh Jackson and Todd Haley got into an argument over how extensively they use the veterans in training camp. And Hugh Jackson reminded everyone, "I'm in charge here." And they all thought it made them look good, and they put it in "Hard Knocks." And it made them look like nincompoops.

And this just strikes me as something-- I can scratch Stephen Jones off the post draft champ (LAUGHING) list too. But this strikes me as something that they thought it was going to look really good. And you know what it shows? You know what it shows, Chris, above all else? Jerry's still in charge. Jerry's the one who's reacting to the question that's raised.

CHRIS SIMMS: Well--

MIKE FLORIO: And Mike McCarthy chimes in, but Jerry's the one who's still in charge. He's still the captain. He's still got his hands on the wheel.

CHRIS SIMMS: Oh, of course. Of course he is. I'm not surprised by that. And hey, listen. I think you raise good questions. I think there's teams-- this happens to teams in the first round.

All of a sudden there's a run, or something happens in the draft that's a little unforeseen, and you're like, wait. Some of the guys that we an hour ago thought were going to be here are not here, and now we're down to some guys that we didn't think we were going to really even have to think about, because we had already made our pick and we had already moved on. And oh, wait, now we're at a spot where oh, wait, there's only two people left at the position we really want or fit that grade and fill the void as far as we could use an offensive lineman, we could use a D tackle.

They could have a very similar grade, right, Mike? They could have the exact same grade. So now you're going, wait, OK, wait. So how do we want to dissect this? And these are real things that do happen. This is part of the drama and the live event of the NFL draft. And the decision-- hey, that's not an easy one there. Bergeron's a really good player. And I thought he was a guy that might go into the first round. He's a guard. He could have been special and made that offensive line really special. But you look at it, too, and I think they made the right decision.

They don't have enough big people in the middle of their D line. We talked about that when they played the 49ers. We were worried about-- they're going to have to put so many people at the line of scrimmage and create chaos that it might leave them susceptible in other areas. They played great that day, but I do think it's a part of their team that need to be addressed.

MIKE FLORIO: I still believe that you have that decision made between Smith versus Bergeron before the draft. The only thing that changes it is if we go defensive tackle, how has the board gone so far if we want offensive line help that we may think we get or we don't get later? Flip side, how's the board gone with interior defensive linemen that makes us maybe err on the side of taking Bergeron now and addressing the needs later?

So regardless, I don't think that clip had the same cachet and sizzle and positivity. It just spoke to a little chaos and a little Fugazi. It just-- something about it doesn't sit right with me. I think both of us-- our spider sense says there's something about that clip that isn't all that authentic and genuine and real, but they're trying to make us think it is.