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Byron Jones happy to fly under radar

IRVING, Texas -- When the Dallas Cowboys signed La'el Collins last Thursday as an undrafted free agent, owner and general manager Jerry Jones wanted the LSU offensive lineman to have his first-round moment, complete with the news conference and holding up a jersey in front of a throng of cameras.

When the media entered the locker room after the first day of the Cowboys' rookie minicamp last Friday, most of those cameras were around the team's second-round pick, Randy Gregory, whose fall from first-round pick to No. 60 overall was compelling.

Off to the side, Byron Jones, the Cowboys' actual first-round pick, No. 27 overall, had a handful of reporters around his locker. Coach Jason Garrett fielded 16 questions before one was directed to him about Jones at last Friday's news conference.

The lack of attention is fine with Jones.

"For me it didn't really matter where I go or where anybody else goes," Jones said. "I'm just here to work, here to do my job and that's play cornerback for the Cowboys."

Jones is less than a week into his first on-field time with the Cowboys. The minicamp ended Sunday and he will be around the veterans for the conditioning program and on-field teaching sessions with the coaches.

"I don't care where you were drafted, it's a transition," Garrett said. "There's a lot of things to like about Byron Jones as a person and physically you see that. All the stuff that we liked, you see on the practice field. But he has a long way to go, like all these guys do. He's certainly willing. He works hard at it. It's important to him. You see that right away. And he's focused on getting the details right, finishing things the right way. Technically he has a long way to go. But that's where rookies are at this point in their careers."

The day after Jones was picked by the Cowboys, he flew to Dallas for a media meet-and-greet. As he stepped off the team's luxury bus, the cameras followed his every move through the hallways. That type of attention at the University of Connecticut was reserved for the men's and women's basketball programs, not football.

When he went back home he said he laid low for five days and did some fishing.

"I didn't want to have any draft parties or anything like that," Jones said. "That's not really my type of deal ... Some neighbors came over. They were genuinely happy for me. You could tell everybody was excited for me, but I had a lot of shaking hands and saying hi and hello."

The position Jones plays -- cornerback -- will generate enough notice in time. The Cowboys need him to play well right away even if he is not a starter right away.

Even though he has been on the field just three days, he has seen the urgency required from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli -- "He's a guy, I want him in my corner," Jones said. "I want him to push me." -- and secondary coach Jerome Henderson -- "Any chance he can get to coach me is great for me," Jones said. "I need feedback. I need to know what I do right and what I do wrong."

When he gets around the veterans more he will absorb their actions and words and try to do what they do. He might be a first-round pick, but he knows he doesn't know it all.

"I just want to perform and do what I've been doing in college being a good person and being a good player," Jones said. "I think I can add to the defense. They don't need much. They're a good defense already. It's not like you need to turn around and to anywhere else. They're going in the right direction. I'm just hoping to be a part of it."