2009 Draft Review: No sugar, please

by - April 27, 2009 - Posted in Offseason

Well, the roller coaster has pulled into the station and it’s time to take stock of lost lunches, broken mirrors and dizzy heads.  Anyone who’s been privy to a Jerry Jones draft knows that there is no such thing as a boring draft when he is involved.  This was by no means Jerry’s most active draft, however, as there were only two trades over the weekend.  The biggest one being the trade of the team’s 2nd round pick, the 51st overall.  It is my opinion that this move was a result of Seattle jumping two spots ahead of them and selecting Max Unger, the center from Oregon – though, some may say that it was the selection of Mohamed Massaquoi by Cleveland.  Thus, the Cowboys were left without a first day pick.

Without a pick in the first two rounds, the Cowboys were put in a position where they would be very hard-pressed to come out of this draft with an impact player.  That being the case, the safest way to approach this draft would have been to simply take the best player available.  But not Jerry.  Jerry came up to the plate and swung for the fences with all of his picks in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Some may wind up being hits, but others may wind up being complete busts.  Overall, this draft was full of reaches and head-scratchers.

3 – 5 (69) – Jason Williams, OLB, Western Illinois | Scouting Report | Highlights

Williams is a small-school product who projected as a mid-rounder.  His scouting report would seem to read a lot like DeMarcus Ware’s scouting report might have read: fast, aggressive, athletic, played against lesser talent, not strong at the point of attack.  His role will likely be that of pass-rushing specialist/special teamer while he learns the ropes in the NFL.  Williams is considered a sleeper pick, so his talent may supercede the lesser competition which he played against at Western Illinois.

3 – 11 (75) – Robert Brewster, OT, Ball State | Scouting Report | Highlights

Here we have our first real head-scratcher.  Brewster also projected as a mid-rounder, yet he was selected high in the 3rd round.  With the Cowboys’ lack of ability to draft quality offensive linemen, Brewster does not instill much confidence.  A depth pick that will probably see limited playing time during the 2009 season, Brewster does not seem to pass the smell test.

4 – 1 (101) – Stephen McGee, QB, Texas A&M | Scouting Report | Highlights

After having traded away Anthony Henry to the Lions for the right to stash Jon Kitna on the bench, the selection of a college option quarterback leads one to believe that this selection has “Wildcat” written all over it.  McGee experienced marginal success at Texas A&M and is more of a project than a prospect.

4 – 10 (110) – Victor Butler, DE, Oregon State | Scouting Report | Highlights 1, 2

Two words come to mind with Butler: raw and project.  A ‘tweener who only started one season at Oregon State, Butler’s claim to fame is being named MVP of the Sun Bowl in which he dominated Pittsburgh.  He also recorded 10.5 sacks and was named first team All-Pac 10.

4 – 20 (120) – Brandon Williams, DE, Texas Tech | Scouting Report | Highlights

Williams is not strong, he’s not fast, he’s weak at the point of attack, and can’t shed a blocker.  But he recorded 11 sacks as a junior and was named first team All-Big 12.  Williams is the biggest project of the 2009 draft class.

5 – 7 (143) – DeAngelo Smith, CB, Cincinnati | Scouting Report | Highlights

This is a utility pick if I’ve ever seen one.  Smith isn’t considered a big-time prospect but he did play both cornerback and safety in college – he is also considered a decent kick returner.  By activating him on game days, he could fill the role that many believed Anthony Henry might have filled.  As long as he doesn’t have to see extended playing time, he might be OK.

5 – 30 (166) – Michael Hamlin, FS, Clemson | Scouting Report | Highlights 1, 2

Louis Delmas?  Gone.  Patrick Chung?  Gone.  Rashad Johnson?  Passed over twice by the Cowboys.  So we had to wait until the 5th round to see the Cowboys draft a much-needed safety.  His scouting report, however, doesn’t seem to paint a very rosy picture since he is considered to have limited range.  But that’s not exactly something you want out of a free safety.  So let’s hope he can play special teams and fill the role that Keith Davis has been playing in.

Fun fact: The Cowboys have now gone from having two players named Roy Williams, to now having two safeties with the last name Hamlin.

5 – 36 (172) – David Buehler, K, USC | Scouting Report

………………………………

Sorry, I am incapable of being rational about this pick yet.

6 – 24 (197) – Stephen Hodge, SS, TCU | Scouting Report | Highlights

Hodge absolutely dominated in the Poinsettia Bowl, as evidenced in the highlights link above.  A one-year starter at TCU, Hodge will likely battle it out with Courtney Brown and fellow rookie Michael Hamlin for a roster spot.

Side note: Hodge has had legal troubles in the past, having been arrested in 2007 for unlawfully carrying a weapon.

6 – 35 (208) – John Phillips, TE, Virginia | Scouting Report | Highlights

Unless Tony Curtis is jettisoned, Phillips’ likely destination will be on the practice squad.  It is highly unlikely that the Cowboys will carry four tight ends on game days, since they will now have to carry three quarterbacks.  And they may even carry two kickers ($#@!%$).

7 – 18 (227) – Mike Mickens, CB, Cincinnati | Scouting Report | Highlights 1, 2

Of all of the Cowboys’ picks over the weekend, Mickens has the best chance of being an impact player.  A four-year starter at Cincinnati, Mickens was the more highly-touted of the two Bearcats corners.  But torn cartilage in his knee during his senior season caused his draft stock to plummet as durability concerns arose.  He finished his college career with 233 tackles, 45 passes broken up and 14 interceptions.

Though he may not have the fastest 40-time (4.53), Mickens could potentially thrive in zone coverage.

7 – 20 (229) – Manuel Johnson, WR, Oklahoma | Scouting Report | Highlights 1, 2

At a position that is already chock-full of #4-5 types, Johnson has a very steep hill to climb.  He will have to compete with incumbents Sam Hurd, Miles Austin and Isaiah Stanback for the last three wide receiver spots on the roster – it’s safe to assume Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton are locks.  Due to his lack of experience (1-year starter at Oklahoma), Johnson may be best-served by going to the practice squad to become more polished.  And he will have to be a very polished route-runner, because he lacks the ideal size and speed for a wide receiver.

So there you have it.  12 picks were made and, save for the possible exception of Mickens, there is not likely a single impact player among them.  Jason Williams may, at most, become a situational pass-rusher, ala Jason Hatcher – though some are saying he might fill Kevin Burnett’s role.  But the rest of this draft class will be hard-pressed to even make the team, much less crack the starting lineup or make a major contribution as a role player.

Overall, this was probably the worst draft the Cowboys have had since 2002, the last draft before Bill Parcells arrived.  They were already hampered by not having a first round pick.  But then they made matters worse by dropping out of the 2nd round and passing up on their last real chance to draft an impact player – why not just take Andy Levitre?  In a draft that saw their fellow NFC East foes select major impact players in the first round, the Cowboys had to make sure that their draft class was nothing short of solid.  Yet, more questions than answers were created.  And in the end, we were all just left with a sour taste in our mouths; unless, of course, you’re buying all of the sugar-coating that’s coming out of Valley Ranch.

Grade: D- (could become a C- if Roy Williams proves to be worth the 1st and 3rd round picks sent to Detroit).

12 Responses to 2009 Draft Review: No sugar, please

Ryan

April 27th, 2009 at 9:10 am

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So, you're saying you're not happy how the draft turned out?

Luis

April 27th, 2009 at 9:32 am

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They drafted a kicker in the 5th round!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is by no means a worse draft than 2000-2002. But it's definitely the worst one since the 2002 draft, which now only has one man standing. It's being billed as a “special teams” draft by the sugar coaters. What a relief, because I was under the impression that this team had a ton of holes to fill. Silly me.

Jeff

April 27th, 2009 at 9:50 am

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I was also wondering why we drafted another kicker since we already have a very good kicker (one of the few things the Cowboys do well). BUT, it makes sense. Given what happened to Matt McBriar in Arizona last season, the Cowboys have decided that instead of keeping someone from running free up the middle to not only block the kick but also break your kicker, they will just have another kicker on stand-by when someone somehow completely misses a 6-6, 300 lb. lineman running up the middle and knocks off Nick Folk. Instead of fixing the hole in your roof, just keep an extra garbage can handy to catch the water next time it rains. Makes sense, huh?

Luis

April 27th, 2009 at 10:03 am

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Sure, if you have an unlimited amount of spots on the roster. But how does it make sense to carry an extra kicker on the 53-man roster at the expense of, say, a linebacker?

But that's not even why Buehler was drafted. He was drafted strictly for his ability to kick off. So now they'll have to carry four specialists: one for kickoffs, one for field goals, one for punts and one for long snaps. That's doable if you have a large amount of players who can play multiple positions. But the Cowboys don't have that.

And it's not like you'll be able to stash Buehler on the practice squad. Nor would you want to. That's not a very wise usage of your practice squad spots, either.

I still can't come up with a justifiable reason for that pick. It just makes no sense. Nice job, Mr. I-Don't-Take-Kickers-In-The-Draft.

Jeff

April 27th, 2009 at 10:18 am

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I was being sarcastic man.

Luis

April 27th, 2009 at 10:22 am

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Haha. Fair enough. I did mention that I wasn't capable of being rational about that pick. Guess I'm still not to that point yet.

Ryan

April 27th, 2009 at 10:23 am

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I think Luis is emotional… the draft really shocked his system.

Luis

April 27th, 2009 at 10:50 am

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5. Dallas freezing when Seattle took Max Unger and Cleveland chose Mohamed Massaquoi in the second round. The Cowboys wanted them. They weren't there. So they choked, passing on the pick before trading it away. We measure players by how they produce in the clutch when their options are limited and when something, anything, is demanded. [b]Maybe it's time we start measuring front offices that way, too.[/b]

We couldn't agree more. Right, guys?

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/story/11680197

Ryan

April 27th, 2009 at 10:59 am

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Good way to put it… I agree.

pop

April 27th, 2009 at 11:48 am

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Why he did it?
The video from the scene:
Jayson Williams-”suicidal”

Mike

April 27th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

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A kicker in the 5th round?

Bueller? Bueller? Save Ferris!

But seriously, nice job Luis!

Mike

April 27th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

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A kicker in the 5th round?

Bueller? Bueller? Save Ferris!

But seriously, nice job Luis!