Jones Headed To Dallas

Felix Jones

FAYETTEVILLE — As expected, the allure of drafting a running back from his alma mater turned out to be too hard for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to pass up.

He couldn't trade up for Darren McFadden. But he gladly settled for Felix Jones, making the Tulsa, Okla., native the No. 22 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Jerry Jones had a tough decision, as Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall — rated higher than Felix Jones by some analysts — also was available.

But he ended up taking the former Razorback, who averaged 8.7 yards per carry this past season, the highest nationally by a back with at least 100 carries. The 6-foot, 200-pounder offers more than just a Razorback connection, though, Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said late Saturday afternoon.

"He gave us that dimension we didn't have," Phillips told reporters in Dallas. "We had the same thing there with both Mendenhall and (Cowboys running back Marion) Barber. This way you, you get a little more versatility in your offense."

Jones, who recorded his second straight 1,000-yard season in 2007, was the third running back taken in Saturday's draft. McFadden was first, nabbed by Oakland at No. 4. Oregon's Jonathan Stewart went second at No. 13 to Carolina. Dallas then chose Jones at No. 22, becoming the first Arkansas player drafted by Jerry Jones since he bought the Cowboys in 1989.

ESPN's broadcast crew didn't ignore that fact after the pick was announced by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"It was just too neat," Chris Berman said. "A Jones from Arkansas picking a Jones from Arkansas."

Berman's broadcast partners praised the Cowboys' pick of Jones. Kirk Herbstreit called Jones an "electrifying home run hitter," and Keyshawn Johnson thought Jones' ability to return punts and kicks gave Dallas "two things for the price of one."

Jones reacted with similar excitement when he heard the news from his aunt and uncle's house in Tulsa.

"Oh, man, I'm excited," Jones told the Dallas Morning News. "I grew up watching this team. Now I'm going to have a chance to play with them and play with a star on my helmet.

"I'm going to make the best of it."

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