Monday, May 19, 2008

The Dallas Cowboys' Draft

Now that quite a bit of time has passed since the draft ended, I feel that I can better evaluate the Cowboys' draft. Here's a quick thesis: I am happy with the top of the draft and a high-profile trade but pretty miffed by a bunch of other stuff.
  1. I am happy with the trade that the Cowboys made with the Titans to get Adam Jones. The Cowboys traded their fourth round pick from this year to get Pacman, a corner who was drafted in the first round with the sixth overall pick. He has shown that he can play at a high level in the NFL, both at corner and as a kick returner. However, he has had many off-the-field issues that resulted in a year-long suspension which is due to end any day now. Many people have claimed that the 'Boys took too big of a risk here, but I disagree. How many fourth-rounders pan out? Not many. And for all intents and purposes, that is what the Cowboys have here -- they used their four-round pick to get Adam Jones. The potential gain is worth the risk. Besides, if Pacman isn't reinstated by the NFL this year then the Cowboys would get the Titans' fourth-rounder next year and if he gets in significant trouble they'll get the Titans' fifth-rounder. So while there is some risk, it is mitigated by the deal the Cowboys made with the Titans.
  2. I am very pleased with the Cowboys first two picks in the draft -- RB Felix Jones from Arkansas and CB Mike Jenkins from South Florida. Both were great college players and both will fit into the Cowboys' schemes fairly easily. There has been some complaint that the Cowboys should have chosen Mendenhall from Illinois instead of Jones because Mendenhall is a more complete back. However, the Cowboys already have a complete back (Marion Barber III) who is still young and they drafted Tashard Choice from Georgia Tech, a complete back, in the fourth round. Plus, the Cowboys let Julius Jones go this offseason, so they needed to fill his role and I think that Felix Jones is a better player that Julius Jones ever was or will be. Also, Jenkins was a no-brainer because the Cowboys were in desperate need for CB help, whether they signed Pacman or not. Jenkins has good size and speed and already has rapport with Anthony Henry, one of the Cowboys' veteran CBs, because they both went to South Florida.
  3. I was not at all happy with a trade that went down prior to the draft. The Cowboys traded Anthony Fasano, a young starting-quality TE, and Akin Ayodele, a solid inside LB, to Miami for a fourth round draft pick. No, that's not a typo. The Cowboys traded two good players for a late round pick. By all accounts, this trade was a bit odd. The Cowboys must have been hearing complaining from both players, since Fasano has no chance of starting with Jason Witten in front of him and since Ayodele's starting role was usurped by newly acquired inside LB Zach Thomas. I've also heard that it might have been that the Cowboys were trying to dump salary so that they could make room for a veteran receiver to come over, which never materialized.
  4. The bad trade that I talked about in #3 left the Cowboys a bit thin at TE, with only unproven Tony Curtis serving as a backup. So what did the Cowboys do? They used their second-round pick on a big TE from Texas A&M named Martellus Bennett. So let me get this straight, they trade the backup for half of a fourth-round pick and replaced him with a guy they drafted in the second round. Hmm. That doesn't add up!
  5. The Cowboys are in need of some young receivers. If you are a mock draft junkie like I am, then you know that almost every mocker out their had the 'Boys taking a WR with one of their first three picks. The Cowboys' brass apparently saw things differently...they didn't take on WR or trade for one either. Now, you can't blame them too much since the Cowboys had such a great offensive season last year with one old possession receiver (TO), one old speedy WR that was hurt for all but one game (Terry Glenn), and one WR nearing thirty that is steady but not great (Patrick Crayton). So even if Glenn can't come back, the 'Boys should be okay at WR. Also, there were no WRs in this draft that could have done better than Crayton's 50 receptions last year. As a matter of fact, not a single WR was drafted in the first round. So the Cowboys appear to have done the right thing here, even if everyone expected them to do something else.
  6. The only other thing that I wished the Cowboys would have done was get some safety help. Roy Williams' highly publicized problems in coverage and his declining tackling skills have made him a liability in the secondary. And while Ken Hamlin is good, he's also a hard-hitting kind of safety. The Cowboys need someone that can roam the middle of the field. Pat Watkins, a young safety who used to play at FSU, may fit that bill but he hasn't yet. Let it be known loud and clear: I predict that the Cowboys' safety play will cost them this year, just like it did last year (and the year before!) in the playoffs.

No comments: