Some Drafts Are Unforgettable, Some You Just Want to Forget

Bobby Carpenter has been shopped? Yeah, as if that’s a surprise. Carpenter has been a complete bust since Bill Parcells brought him home from the draft.

The DMN recounts Carpenter’s lackluster time with Dallas so far:

The 18th overall pick in 2006, Carpenter has been credited with just seven tackles in the last two seasons, spending most of his time at special teams, where he has made 30 tackles in the last two seasons.

Carpenter is scheduled to earn an $885,000 base salary this season. He has yet to cash in on a $1.895 million incentive based on playing time, which could make a trade more difficult if he did not re-work his contract.

It’s true, the draft isn’t always promising. But the fact that he went in the first round – 18th overall?! – man, what were they thinking?

Check this out, here is a chart of the Cowboys first round draft picks since 2002.

The truth is the Cowboys have made several steals in the draft. Where would we be without DeMarcus Ware or Terence Newman? But then again, a couple of years ago I would have said the same thing about Roy Williams.

Not even the highest rated draftee is guaranteed to be the next NFL phenomenon. You can study all the numbers, watch the tapes, compare stats, but there is no promise there is a pro bowl future until he takes the field and proves his worth. There is a huge difference between college ball and the pros.

The draft is a risky game. You win some, you lose some.

Let’s Talk O-Line

The 2008 season proved just how bad things could get without a deep O-line. With starting Left Guard Kyle Kosier out, the Cowboys relied on an often over-powered and over-matched Cory Procter to fill his shoes until he came back. The problem was, three games was all you would get from Kyle that year, leaving very little hope of the position solidifying again.

That hope returned again with the signing of 6’2″ 322 lb. Montrae Holland whom played for the Denver Broncos but never really fit their smaller, quicker O-line style. He actually started in weeks 13 and 14 against Seattle and Pittsburgh and probably would have held on to the job had it not been for the injury bug biting us once again.

By the end of the season, the coaching staff had enough of Procter’s revolving-door style Guard play and inserted Pat McQuistan against Philly in an already blow out game. I would think it’s safe to say Procter’s days as a Cowboy are over. Not so fast. The Cowboys placed the second round tender on him, all but assuring Cory to return to camp once again in ’09. I believe the reason for hanging on to him was to backup center Andre Gurode, which is his natural position and to be third string backup to the guard spot for emergency purposes only. I would think they could find better than that in this off-season and maybe they will. If Cory never plays another down as a Cowboy, in my book, that would be too soon.

I believe it’s important to point out that (Kyle and Montrae) are only signed through ’09 and if a new Collective Bargaining agreement is signed, they both become unrestricted free-agents next year. As far as the rest of the line, all positions are locked up until at least 2012, assuring continuity for another four years.

Now backups, that’s another story. Currently the Cowboys have Ryan Gibbons and Montrae Holland as backups at Guard. At Center, Cory Procter and Matt Spanos are currently ready to compete for the one spot available. At Tackle, Doug Free and Pat McQuistan have both shown flashes but no consistency to backup the two spots for ’09.

It’s time to weed out the weak and infuse some smarts and muscle into this massive O-line for depth and for the future. We all know that the way to do this is through free-agency and the draft.

In the past, I’ve posted a list of all free-agents still on the market. It makes for a really long post and a bit to much to digest for one sitting, so instead I’m going to post a link for those who are interested to go to and explore.

2009 Remaining Unrestricted Free Agents

In the draft, the O-line depth is so deep that anyone with half a brain should be able to pick up quality depth without wasting a high pick. Again, because the list is so long, I’ll post a link to my favorite draft site (not favorite mock draft site) and let you research for yourself.
(Walterfootball is my favorite resource because of the lists it compiles and the way the information is displayed. I’m not endorsing his knowledge on players or his rankings.)

Here’s the links:

Tackle:
http://www.walterfootball.com/draft2009OT.php

Guard:
http://www.walterfootball.com/draft2009OG.php

Center:
http://www.walterfootball.com/draft2009C.php

 

So there it is. I hope this sparks some good conversation about depth and future O-line prospects. This also concludes my off-season pre-draft series. I’m not doing Tight End, Running Back or Receiver because I believe we have the players on our roster already. I know some will argue about Receiver, so if you want to do an article yourself, get er done, I’m not your guy.

Poll Results: Cowboys Fans Concerned About Secondary

In a recently concluded poll on Lone Star Struck, we asked our readers what their biggest concern was about the Cowboys.

The overwhelming answer was at safety, followed by cornerback.

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I thought we would get a little bit more concern over our special teams play, especially after the last two season’s dismal performance.

Here are the results in a pie chart.

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This weeks poll asks the following question:

How confident are you in Roy Williams as the number one receiver?

Cowboys Picture of the Week

It’s a slow news day, but I did see one thing that caught my attention…

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Now there’s something you don’t see everyday…

The Dallas Morning News explains that the bronze statue of legendary Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, which has welcomed Cowboys fans to Texas Stadium since 2001, was removed from its original home in front of gate one this morning.

The statue, commissioned by the Jones Family to honor the iconic head coach, will be placed in storage until its new home at the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington is complete.

The statue is the work of Texas artist Robert Summers and is a nine-foot, two-inch full-bodied likeness of the coach standing in a classic Landry sideline pose.

On a completely different note…

What are your thoughts on our first annual Lone Star Struck Fantasy Football League?

I’m thinking a sixteen team (2 Conference, 4 Divisions) league with no cost and bragging rights as the ultimate prize. Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Lions Retire Missing Boater Smith’s No. 93 For 2009 Season

When I first heard the story of the missing boaters it was sad to read, but when it was obvious that they would not be found my heart wept for their families and I found this latest article on nfl.com and I felt it was so touching that I had to share it. May god bless the families of the boaters and may he bless the recovered boater who’s life will not be the same after being stranded for 2 days but to have lost 3 good friends during this tragic event.

The Detroit Lions will retire the number 93 for the 2009 football season in memory of player Corey Smith, one of three men lost when their fishing boat capsized off the Florida Gulf Coast three weeks ago.

Lions player development director Galen Duncan told several hundred mourners in Smith’s hometown church Saturday that Smith’s number would be retired for a year in honor of a player of extraordinary heart and competitive drive.

“I want to tell you something about Corey Smith playing with pain,” Duncan said of Smith, who played with such abandon that high school teammates called him the Tasmanian Devil.

“I’d tell the coaches, ‘You’ve got to watch Corey because he’s not going to tell you he’s hurt,'” said Duncan, whom Smith befriended in his three seasons in Detroit. “If you could see the way this man worked.”

The Coast Guard rescued one man, Nick Schuyler, who was clinging to the 21-foot boat’s overturned hull, on March 2, two days after it overturned in stormy seas. The bodies of Smith, Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, and former University of South Florida player William Bleakley have not been found.

Many of Smith’s teammates from the Lions and from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers where he played his first four NFL seasons attended the memorial service. So did former teammates and coaches from North Carolina State and from Richmond’s John Marshall High School.

His high school coach, Kevin Burden, tearfully conceded that he was never impartial about the quiet giant who was the team’s undisputed leader.

“You’re not supposed to have a favorite player when you are a coach, but he was the one who got under your skin. He was a great football player but he was an even better man,” Burden said in a faltering voice.

“Tonight, when I say my prayers, I will ask God to assign me a guardian angel and he’ll be wearing number 93,” Burden concluded, leaving many in the crowd sobbing or wiping their eyes.

Smith signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted rookie in 2002 and backed up Pro Bowl defensive linemen Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice on a Buccaneers team that won a Super Bowl.

An earlier injury sidelined Smith for the Super Bowl, but he was there with his team. His diamond-crusted Super Bowl ring was the only bling Smith wore, friends said. And for the rest of his career, he drove himself year-round to show the world he deserved it, said linebacker Ryan Nece, a teammate of Smith’s in Tampa and Detroit.

“He was never complacent. He was always striving to prove himself,” Nece said. And at 250 pounds, Smith was “an undersized defensive lineman, and some people may argue that there’s no way that they can play in the NFL. But he constantly worked on his craft, constantly tried to improve.”

To Lions rookie defensive end Landon Cohen, Smith was a mentor during last year’s agonizing 0-16 season — the worst in NFL history.

“We spent a lot of time together, and that’s the way Corey was: he didn’t say much, but he led by example,” Cohen said. “He was a blue-collar working guy.”

Lets Count Our Blessings – All Three Of Them

1224cowivr.jpegAfter reading all the blogs around the web, the newspaper articles and watching sports news shows, all I have heard is what the Dallas Cowboys are missing.  I know that is important. Believe me, I have thought about that also, but friends, what about the great things the Cowboys do have!
 
The Dallas Cowboys have the most talented running backs in the NFL! Marion Barber, goes with out saying, is one of the best (and one of the strongest) backs  when you get him in short yardage situations or in the red zone. He had 885 yards during the 2008 season with 238 carries and 7 touchdowns. 
 
Felix Jones, ok everyone knows I am his #1 fan, but that aside, he showed what he could do in the short time he did play last year.  He is so exciting to watch because you never know when he is going to break a long one.  Felix only played 5 games because of injury, but he had a amazing 266 yards with only 30 carries, which is a average of 8.9 every time he touched the ball.
 
Then we have Tashard Choice… Wow, look at what he did when he filled in last season! He played in 10 games and had a average of 5.1 yards a carry.
 
I can’t wait to see how the coaches decide to play them.
 
We know they will all step on the field in some type of roles, because their is no way those boys from Georgia, Oklahoma and Minnesota will stay on the sidelines.
How would you like to see  the coaches play all this talent?
 
Come on LSS readers, this is your chance to be a coach… Tell us, how you would play these three talented running backs…   Would you use any of them on special teams?
I am not sure about their contracts, but this could be the only season we can have all three, so I hope we take full advantage of it.

The Thin Line Between Love and Hate

As a daily reader of this fine blog and a fan of all who contribute in any way, shape or form, I have been pondering a few general thoughts based on some of the comments that I have read on many of the recent posts. Whether I will be able to accurately articulate my exact thoughts, remains to be seen…..but here it goes:

 

THUG LIFE

Quick question…..How many active Dallas Cowboys have been arrested and charged or convicted of a crime in the last 3 years, or even 5 years?? I am talking about players getting in trouble WHILE on the Cowboys roster. This is not a trick question, because I personally can’t think of any. Please feel free to enlighten me. There seems to be some type of conspiracy theory about the team and it’s “troublemakers”, and I am sure it is ALL because we signed Pac Man, or maybe it’s because Michael Irvin got in trouble 12 years ago. To me, it doesn’t really make alot of sense. 

I read and hear many people say we don’t need any players unless they have a perfect history or have never had any scrapes with the law, and I have to ask WHY? These men are not our political leaders, our school teachers or any type of religous leaders. They are football players. The main qualifications for the job are to be really strong and really fast.

Don’t get me wrong, the laws and rules of society should be applied to all in sports and life and yes, they are role models to kids, and yes, maybe it is hard for me and you to understand why some profesional athletes make the decisions they do, but they are not perfect, and very human. In my opinion, if a player or players make mistakes, they should pay for their crimes within the court system and then within the NFL player conduct system, but after that should we ban them for life? Should they never be given a second or even a third chance??

If you say that, No, they do not deserve other chances, then I would ask you Why? Is it because you and I do not make the millions or drive the cars, is it jealousy? Or is it an even darker issue at hand? Just something to ponder. And as far as the Cowboys go, last I checked we had a majority of our roster made up of very good guys, from Witten to Demarcus, and even all of the young guys like Deon Anderson (who without a second chance in college would not be in the NFL right now) and Sam Hurd. I just don’t understand why the Cowboys get slapped with the generic “made of bad guys, with no character” tag so often. We are definitely not the Cincinatti Bengals.

 

THE T.O. SHOW

It’s been cancelled. It’s over. He is gone. It really doesn’t matter anymore if you and I agree with it, like it, dislike it, can’t decide about it; because it’s done. Time to move forward. I hate to even bring this up, because of all the over-sensitive T.O. fans out there, but at the end of the day, he was a great player for us for 3 seasons, and great personality who provided alot of entertainment and, in my opinion, actually a good guy who got a pretty bad rap from the media and the average fan-on-the-street, but NOT a Cowboys legend by any stretch of the imagination. He will not be in the Ring of Honor, there will be no statues of him at the new stadium and no freeways named in his honor. He does rank up at the top of the NFL all-time recieving records, but he did most of his damage with the San Francisco 49ers. Did you hear that?? The 49ers! One of our all-time arch rivals! So, one last time….Goodbye T.O., thanks for the memories.

 

HALF GLASS EMPTY

This last thought is probably the most delicate, because I normally like to deal in facts, instead of “faith” or opinion….but, to me, there is just way too much negativity among the Cowboys nation! It is hard, due to the terrible end of the season last year culminating in the train wreck that was the Philly game, but where is the faith? The support? The optimism?

I am glad I live here in the metroplex and am able to follow the team in the local media, because sometimes it seems that some people are trying to convince me that we don’t have any able-bodied football players on this team, and we have a “general manager” that doesn’t even know how many yards long a football field is (it’s 100, Jerry). We went 9-7, and missed the playoffs, a very dissapointing season, yes, who can even begin to argue that but this is not Detroit or Oakland, and this is not even Green Bay or Denver.

We have a nucleus of players in place, on both offense and defense, that rank right at the top of the NFL. Do we have every little nickelback or 3rd receiver position covered perfectly and ideally? Well, no, but name me a team that does? The great and even quality players in the NFL don’t just grow on trees, unfortunately.

I will put my faith and my support behind Romo, Witten, Barber, Ware, Ratliff, Newman and the rest, and hope that we get a few breaks that all teams need and get to where we all want to go, to the Superbowl. It’s not going to be easy this year, next year or any year ever, but that’s football, that’s sport, that’s competition.

So, there you have it. Just a few random thoughts from TD….. you can love me or hate me, agree or disagree, that’s what it’s all about here! All I know is that it is a thin line, a razor thin line, between LOVE and HATE. Which side of the line are you on??
 

Cowboys Fan For LIFE – TD

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Several Proposals for Next Week’s NFL Annual Meetings

The NFL will look to propose changes next week during their Annual Meeting, March 22-25.

Some of the top discussion topics will include:

  • When the ball comes loose when a quarterback is throwing, replay can be used to determine if it is a fumble or an incomplete pass
  • Replay reviews for loose balls that are out of bounds when they are recovered
  • Eliminate the re-kick of an onside kick when there is a violation by the kicking team, with the receiving team taking the ball where it was recovered

Other topics aimed to protect players:

  •  Eliminating the bunch formation on onside kicks
  •  Eliminate the wedge of three men or more blocking on kick returns
  •  Eliminate any hits to the helmet of defenseless receivers
  •  Officials will be encouraged to continue making low hits on quarterbacks and horse-collar tackles

Something else for Cowboys fans to take note of, last month commissioner Roger Goodell suggested they would possibly discuss changing the Thanksgiving Day games that have traditionally been hosted by Detroit and Dallas. However, the tradition will remain the same in 2009.

Although many fans are suggestion the NFL look into changing overtime rules it doesn’t seem to be one of their priorites. In fact, the committee declared no changes would be made after research determined there was no support to defend such a change.

A Visit To Our New Home

Hey Cowboy Fans!

I had an opportunity to visit the new home of our Dallas Cowboys yesterday. We got up close, personal and INSIDE the current forbidden grounds! Yes! We went in and took a mini tour! I’m still very excited about it; not sure where to start!

First, they are not letting people near this very dangerous construction zone. We had to meet specific criteria. Security is tight and rules abound but it was worth the effort. The new stadium is spectacular, amazing, incredible, massive, beautiful, breath-taking… worthy of our Dallas Cowboys! I never thought I would say that because I was so in love with Texas Stadium but this one is… WOW! This new stadium is so big you can fit four (4) Texas Stadiums and my house inside AND STILL have room left over!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself here…

After making our way through the maze of contstruction zones nearby, passed through security, we found the location where we were instructed to wait in our car until our escort came to us. We didn’t wait long. A happy young man walked out with hard-hats, safety goggles and brightly colored vests. We discussed the rules once more then began to make our way across the parking lot to a door. When our guide opened it, my heart skipped a beat. I was THERE… three steps away! I watched as my husband and Roy stepped inside. The fact that we were in a service hallway at this point was irrelevant; we were finally in!

We made our way through hallways passing workers painting, putting down tiles and a variety of other tasks. Everyone was working hard to meet the deadlines. The sounds of hammers, saws and heavy machinery were a constant reminder of the dangers nearby. One more door opened for us. My eyes adjusted to the change in light to reveal a spectacular view of what will soon be the field, the massive screen hanging above, seats, stands and press boxes. WOW! It took my breath away.

Our guide instructed us to stay under the over-hang to avoid being hit by falling items. There are no words to describe what I could see from this view. For a person who is never at a loss for words, I find myself without the words to express how I felt to be there, what it looked like or even to describe my excitement… Nothing I can say will do it justice. I will let the video below speak for me. We made several stops along our journey inside to see the sights: club areas, a variety of views of the field from different levels. Every step, every view, every sound was amazing!

I hope you enjoy this video. You may want to turn your speakers down a notch. The song will be heavy to many. I can hardly wait to return to the new, unnamed stadium with you – my Cowboy lovin’ friends – to see the first games the Cowboys play!

By the way, if you are interested in season tickets you need to know there are not many left! You may want to make a move very soon! They are making every effort possible to help with the price of the PSL. Some seats do not require a PSL. If you are interested, I may be able to provide contact information and answer many questions.

I look forward to sharing the experience of this new stadium with you very soon! For me, it cannot come soon enough!

COWBOYS-4-LIFE,

Shelby

Mailbag: What’s This Talk About Romo for Cutler?

Question: This talk of trading Romo for Cutler is driving me nuts! I first saw it as an email to the dallascowboys.com editors and now ESPN has their take on it. Can you shed some light on why so many people are so bent on a Romo-Cutler trade?

– David Gonzalez from Edinberg, TX

Kelly Horn: Thanks for the question David. I have heard this nonsense as well. Before we even take a look at the statistics or numbers, let me just say – this is a ridiculous suggestion. Tony Romo is the face of the current Dallas Cowboys, to trade him away at this time would simply be a disastrous move. The Cowboys would have to rebuild from scratch. Despite what tabloids continue to print, Tony Romo is well loved and accepted in Dallas.

Now let’s take a look at the numbers.

 

Tony Romo was struck with the injury bug last season, so it’s not really fair to compare those numbers. But, just for the heck of it – let’s do it anyway. Romo had one more touchdown than Cutler in three less games. Now look at 2007, Cutler had 20 touchdown and 3497 yards against Romo’s 36 touchdowns and 4211 yards.

Although the numbers aren’t too far apart, I would have to give Tony Romo (biased, I know) the edge over Jay Cutler. Keep in mind, without Terrell Owens bringing in double digit touchdowns, Romo’s TDs might not be as high, but he will still have many weapons and tons of potential on his side.

Jay Cutler may come with less ‘drama’, but for how long? And, did Tony bring that attention to himself? Yeah I agree, dating a celebrity doesn’t help keep the paparazzi away – but for the most part Tony has stayed out of trouble and said all the right things.

There is a reason why Tony Romo makes $20 million dollars more than Jay Cutler. There will always be a bright spotlight on America’s Team’s quarterback, it just comes with the territory. As long as Tony is willing to give it his all and fight for this team, he has my full support.

In the famous words of a former wide receiver [wink], “That’s My Quarterback!” 

If you have a question you would like to ask our staff, feel free to contact us anytime. Please make sure to include your name, hometown, and email. 

Cowboys Secondary is a Primary Concern

We are three weeks into free agency and I have to admit am very concerned about our secondary situation.

First, we release Adam Jones, which even though he has skills was a must move. Then we trade Anthony Henry for our new backup quarterback. I still don’t understand the move with free agents like Garcia and Leftwich still out there looking for jobs.

Another questionable move was the Roy Williams release. As bad as he was in pass coverage, he is better than what we have right now.

The only addition to  the secondary is Gerald Sensabaugh, who is mediocre at best. Although Sensabaugh did have his best year in Jacksonville in 2008, he has had some trouble with the law. After being arrested three times, the latest in February, he may start the season on suspension by the NFL. This signing baffles me. He is the exact type of player the Cowboys are trying to avoid, but thats another story for a different time.

Safeties… So as of right now Ken Hamlin and Patrick Watkins are our starting safeties, with Tra Battle and Courtney Brown as backups. Sensabaugh will jump into the starting lineup whenever he is available to play. This absolutely scares me that we have no one better than him to start. Keith Davis is still on the roster but expected to sign somewhere else shortly. There is very little left out in free agency. A Darren Sharper or Mike Brown maybe, but signing Sensabaugh tells me Jerry is not looking for another safety in free agency. I have seen Patrick Chung in a lot of mock drafts being there for the Cowboys at pick 51. He is a Roy Williams type that has better speed to play the pass. He would be a nice addition to the secondary and I could even see him jumping into the starting lineup at some point in ’09. After Chung the pool of safeties is not very deep so lets hope he stays out there for the ‘Boys.

Cornerbacks… Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins are the starters right now, with Scandrick and Ball as their backups. This is the scariest position for the Cowboys in my mind. With three of the four corners having 2 years or less experience in the NFL and Newman constantly being injured, it seems like a recipe for disaster. I hear people say we need to let the younger guys develop. That’s the smart thing to do, but you don’t develop them by throwing them out into the starting lineup on a team that should be contending for the Super Bowl. Jerry needs to sign a veteran so the younger guys can learn by being out there on 3 or 4 receiver sets.

Scandrick and Jenkins have skills but I’d much rather see them learning against a 3rd or 4th receiver rather than getting torched by a one or two. Ken Lucas was released last week, I would love to see Jerry go after him. Other than that Dre Bly and Chris Mccallister are the only semi-decent corners left. Taking a corner in the draft just isn’t going to happen. The ‘Boys have three young talented guys they just need some guidance from experienced veterans. I don’t even want to think about how devastating it would be if Newman got injured, but recent history has shown us there is a good chance.

I know a lot of you are saying as long as we get pressure on the quarterback the young guys will be fine, right? Yes, we led the league in sacks last year, but (and I am not going to throw a big stat at you) the Cowboys had no consistent pressure at all! (Igor Olshansky should help.) Games like the Tampa, Seattle, and San Francisco  are a great examples. Yes we won the games and yes we stopped them in the red zone, but these three pathetic offenses moved the ball on us at will between the twenties. If those were decent teams we could just as easily lost.

Honestly, I hope I am wrong and that the young guys thrive. I just don’t see how we can contend for our sixth ring with the secondary in the shape it’s in.

 I am going to leave you with my stat of the offseason. The Cowboys only had 8 interceptions last year. Yes, that’s right, only 8! One pick was by a pass rush specialist, Greg Ellis, and four by Newman, that leaves only 3 picks by the rest of the secondary. That is pathetic! Only Detroit and Denver had less interceptions than the ‘Boys did last year. The Cowboys need to improve the secondary or we have no chance of contending for the Super Bowl in ’09.

Sorting Out The Cowboys 2009 Draft Picks

There has been some confusion as to what draft picks the Cowboys have or don’t have in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Pacman Jones ordeal and the Roy Williams trade only added to the confusion. Some may have forgotten that we also had draft picks involved when we traded down in last years Draft when Cleveland selected Brady Quinn.

The Cowboys gave up first, third and sixth round picks for Williams and got a seventh back.

The team got two picks back with the Jones suspension and sent one to Detroit.

The team will have a total of 11 picks through the first seven rounds.

Below is the team’s breakdown:

Round 1 – (0) Traded to Detroit for Roy Williams

Round 2 – (1) Our pick

Round 3 – (1) Traded our pick to Detroit for Roy Williams, Cleveland pick (Acquired in 2008 Draft Day trade)

Round 4 – (2) Our pick, Detroit pick (Acquired in 2008 Draft Day trade: for Dallas 2008 R3 pick)

Round 5 – (2) Our pick, Tennessee pick (As a result of Adam Jones 2nd suspension)

               (2) Comp picks (For loss of Julius Jones and Jacques Reeves)

Round 6 – (1) Traded our pick to Detroit for Roy Williams, Miami pick (Acquired in 2008 Ferguson Trade)

Round 7 – (2) Our pick, Detroit pick (Acquired in Roy Williams trade)