Cowboys trade up to get WR Dez Bryant

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IRVING, Texas (AP) -Once Dez Bryant was within reach, the Dallas Cowboys made sure they grabbed him.

Just three spots from taking him at No. 27, the Cowboys made a deal with New England to snag the Oklahoma State receiver with top-15 talent but questions about his character.

"I'm not disappointed at all," said Bryant, who grew up two hours away in East Texas. "Me falling to the Cowboys, that's the best thing that could ever happen to me. I'm so happy. I'm excited. I'm ready to go to work."

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Bryant gives quarterback Tony Romo another potentially dynamic receiver to go with returning Pro Bowler Miles Austin. It also likely means a lesser role for Roy Williams, who has been pretty much a bust since Dallas gave up several draft picks and a $45 million extension to get him from Detroit midway through the 2008 season.

Bryant was considered by many the best receiver in this draft, an All-American in 2008 when he turned 87 receptions into 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns.

His stock slid after his suspension for lying to the NCAA about his activities with former NFL cornerback Deion Sanders, a suspension that kept him off the field nearly all of last season.

Although the Cowboys had bigger needs at safety and offensive line, there were too many things about Bryant that team owner Jerry Jones couldn't pass up - from the value of getting a top talent late in the first round to the pizazz of adding a playmaker.

Jones is looking for immediate impact because the Super Bowl is coming to Cowboys Stadium and he's obsessed with turning his NFC East champions into NFC champions and becoming the first host to also play for the championship. He also didn't want to make the mistake he made in 1998, when he passed on Randy Moss because of character issues even though the Cowboys desperately needed a receiver.

Bryant was watching from the Dallas-area home of one of his advisers, and was thrilled to get the call from Jones. While chants of "Cowboys, Cowboys" rang out at their party, folks in the Cowboys' draft room were plenty thrilled, too.

"I'm a big fan," Bryant said. "I'm really a Dallas Cowboys now, and that's my dream."

Big and strong, fast with good hands, Bryant has the potential to be another Michael Irvin in Dallas. He also could be another Antonio Bryant, a talented but temperamental player who was dumped after throwing a sweaty jersey in the face of then-coach Bill Parcells.

In exchange for the 24th selection, Dallas gave up its 90th pick (in the third round) for New England's 119th (in the fourth round).

Bryant said there's been no talk yet of what role he'll have, but he's eager for the chance to return punts and kicks. He had two punt returns for touchdowns in 2008.

"I'm very excited to do that," he said. "That was one of the things I love to do."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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