With the NFL draft coming up in just under three weeks, it’s time to start taking a look at what will happen for the Cowboys on April 25-26. Before we do that, however, it’s important to note that this year’s draft holds a unique set of circumstances for the Cowboys. For the first time in eight years, the Cowboys do not hold a first round pick, having traded that pick (along with this year’s third and sixth round picks) to the Detroit Lions in exchange for the “services” of Roy Williams in 2008. Yet, despite this, the Cowboys are owners of 11 picks in this year’s draft. This is the first time that they have held 11 or more picks since the 1992 draft – the Cowboys had 15 picks in that year’s 12-round draft.
This unique set of circumstances will provide for a very active draft weekend for the Cowboys; for we all know that Jerry is not afraid to make deals with his draft picks. Five of the picks that the Cowboys possess are due to trades that Jerry made in last year’s draft. They are: #69, 101, 166, 197 and 210. Two picks are compensatory picks due to the free agency departures of Julius Jones and Jacques Reeves (#s 172 and 208, respectively). This means that only four of the 11 picks are the Cowboys’ own picks; with three having gone to the Lions in the trade for Roy Williams. Jerry giveth and Jerry taketh away.
With all that said, let’s take a quick peek at the last draft in which the Cowboys did not have a first round pick going into the draft (we’ll discount the 2004 draft, since they had a first round pick, but traded it away to Buffalo). Oh yes, we’re going to look at the infamous Quincy Carter draft, which, incidentally was also lacking a first round pick because of a trade for a wide receiver. Everyone grab your binkies, because we’re going to take a trip down nightmare lane:
53 – Quincy Carter
56 – Tony Dixon
93 – Willie Blade
122 – Markus Steele
137 – Matt Lehr
171 – Daleroy Stewart
207 – Colston Weatherington
240 – John Nix
242 – Char-Ron Dorsey
Of those nine picks, only Matt Lehr has had what could be considered a decent NFL career. That is simply unacceptable. If it weren’t for the absolutely putrid 2000 draft (relax, we’re not going there), this draft would be head and shoulders above all others on Jerry’s list of his worst drafts. So why has Jerry been allowed to continue as GM? The 2000 and 2001 drafts alone would have been enough to have any other GM fired, tarred and feathered, then fed to the dogs. But the Cowboys’ GM has a pretty influential friend in the Owner’s box: himself.
Now, let’s give Jerry his credit. The past few drafts have provided some young talent that has made the Cowboys what they are now. This shows that the Cowboys’ War Room is no longer something out of a Benny Hill skit. But everyone can agree that the Cowboys’ biggest problem is not lack of talent, whether it’s acquired through the draft or free agency. This means that Cowboys fans should not dread the upcoming draft. Rather, we should be looking forward to seeing what deals Jerry will make and what fresh new faces we’ll be seeing come mini-camps.
Next week, we’ll take a look at who some of those faces might be.