Jerry Jones expects offensive linemen to go early

IRVING, Texas -- ESPN NFL draft experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. have offensive linemen going early in this week's draft.

McShay has three of the top five picks going to the offensive line and Kiper has seven going in the first round.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones agrees.

"But there’s also cap reasons why these offensive linemen are going to be going early in this draft," Jones said during a news conference Monday. "Because they fit in a free agent (spot) that could play to that level. And figure what it might cost you to have one of those guys that are that, relative to what that first-or-second-round pick makes. So you forgo the idea of getting the big skill players early. You forgo that idea to actually go in there and get guys that are going to be doing the blocking for them, which traditionally have been lesser guys relative to where they’re taken in the draft."

The Cowboys normally don't take offensive linemen in the first round.

Tyron Smith was the ninth overall selection in 2011 and the first offensive lineman drafted in the first round since Jones purchased the team in 1989. Before then, the last offensive lineman taken by the Cowboys in the first round was in 1981 when tackle Howard Richards was the 26th overall selection.