In a draft where the Cowboys didn’t make a pick until the third round, 12 players were selected in the second day of the draft to add tremendous depth and talent to an already stacked roster. Although most of the picks aren’t household names or especially ‘sexy’, there is certainly no absense of talent in any of the players selected by the Cowboys. And with that, here is a rundown of the draft class of 2009.
Jason Williams - Outside Linebacker, Western Illinois
Like most Cowboys fans, I scratched my head when Jason Williams’ name was announced at the podium. But the more I read about him, the more excited I became about the pick. From tiny Western Illinois, Williams has the exceptional size and speed to play linebacker in Dallas’ 3-4 scheme. The selling point for me were the outstanding statistics racked up by Williams last year. As a senior for the Leathernecks, he forced 6 fumbles and had 17 tackles for loss. Williams also ran the fastest 40-time of any linebacker, registering times in the 4.4 range. Williams has all the tools to be an outstanding linebacker for the Cowboys for years to come. Look for him to get on the field early in passing situations and especially on special teams. Cowboys fans need not worry about the opinions of ‘analysts’ like Mel Kiper of Jason Williams. If you remember, Kiper was the one who scrutinized the Cowboys for taking Demarcus Ware over Shawne Merriman. We all know how that turned out.
Robert Brewster – Offensive Tackle, Ball State
With significant depth issues last year after Kyle Kosier went down with injury, drafting an offensive lineman was a neccesity in this draft. Robert Brewster is a gargantuan specimen, standing at 6 foot 4 and weighing in at 325 pounds. Though he played primarily offensive tackle at Ball State, look for the Cowboys to slide him inside to guard due to his enormous size and his earth moving ability. One would have to think that Brewster would eventually replace Kyle Kosier at left guard in the coming years. In the mean time, look for the Cowboys to utilize Brewster’s versatility and his ability to provide depth at the guard and tackle position.
Stephen McGee – Quarterback, Texas A&M
Though the Cowboys traded for Jon Kitna earlier this year, there was reason to believe that they would pull the trigger on a quarterback prospect in the second day of the draft. The Cowboys get a terrific development project in Stephen McGee, who possesses the frame and arm strength that will certainly be effective at the NFL level. Though he may not be much more than a backup for the Cowboys in the next couple of years, he will be a definite upgrade over Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger. McGee has all the tools to step in for Tony Romo in case of injury and play effectively. McGee is a great value pick for the Cowboys in the fourth round. It will be interesting to watch him develop in the coming years.
Victor Butler – Defensive End, Oregon State
With the selection of Victor Butler, the Cowboys acquire another athlete with great size who can put pressure on the quarterback. Butler provided a significant pass rush for the Beavers, registering 22.5 sacks in the last 2 years. Butler played defensive end in college, but he will most certainly move to a linebacker spot in the 3-4 scheme. Like Jason Williams, look for Butler to play a great deal on special teams, and look for the Cowboys to utilize his pass rushing ability in passing situations.
Brandon Williams – Defensive End, Texas Tech
In Williams, the Cowboys get one more pass rushing specialist to add to their already stocked arsenal. Like Jason Williams and Victor Butler, Brandon Williams had an extremely successful senior year, recording 12.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks for the Red Raiders. At 6 foot 5, 252 pounds, Brandon Williams projects to be an outside linebacker for the Cowboys. He will provide great depth behind Demarcus Ware, Greg Ellis, and Anthony Spencer. Look for Brandon Williams to contribute mostly on special teams. But don’t be surprised to also see him contribute in pass rushing situations as well, like his fellow pass rushing counterparts from this draft.
DeAngelo Smith – Cornerback, Cincinnati
With the imminent departure of Pacman Jones at the end of last season, the Cowboys needed to add some depth at the cornerback position. Like all the defensive players selected by the Cowboys, DeAngelo Smith had an exceptional college career. He had 10 interceptions in his last two years with the Bearcats, 8 coming in one season. He will help make cornerback one of the deepest positions on the roster, and will also provide the Cowboys with some return ability on special teams.
Michael Hamlin – Safety, Clemson
It’s been no secret in recent years that safety has topped the list of needs in Dallas. Michael Hamlin was a great value pick for the Cowboys in the fifth round, as many analysts and mock drafts projected him to go as high as the second round. The Cowboys get a player with great size in Hamlin, who is of no relation to Ken Hamlin. Michael Hamlin had 6 interceptions his senior year at Clemson, and should provide some stiff competition for the starting safety spot opposite Ken Hamlin.
David Buehler – Kicker, Southern Cal
Certainly one of the most suprising picks of the draft. David Buehler possesses surprising strength and size for a kicker. Buehler amazingly benched 25 reps at the combine, more than a handful of linemen who tested out. He also ran a 4.5 40-yard dash, faster than his fellow USC teammates, Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews. Don’t expect Buehler to unseat Nick Folk as the starting kicker, but look for him to provide some competition in training camp and possibly win the kickoff specialist job. Buehler is also a great tackler, and his intriquing physical prowess will certainly be interesting to watch on special teams.
Stephen Hodge – Safety, Texas Christian
The Cowboys got a hometown product in Stephen Hodge. He is exceptionally big for a safety, but ran a decent 40-yard dash at the combine. He will join a now crowded secondary, and will likely be a backup. Hodge was terrific on special teams at TCU, so look for him to contribute very early in that aspect. He has the ability to take over the title of ‘Special Teams Ace’, a label that was left vacant by Keith Davis.
John Phillips – Tight End, Virginia
The Cowboys were obviously looking for depth behind Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett when they drafted John Phillips. Phillips is a great blocker, and has some history with Cowboys tight end coach John Garrett, who coached for Virginia prior to his arrival in Dallas. With the loss of Tony Curtis, look for John Phillips and Rodney Hannah to battle it out for the number three tight end spot in training camp.
Mike Mickens – Cornerback, Cincinnati
Having drafted his teammate DeAngelo Smith two rounds earlier, the Cowboys pulled the trigger on another talented cornerback from Cincinnati in Mike Mickens. This pick could be the steal of the entire draft in my mind. Had it not been for a knee injury during his senior year, Mickens would have gone in the second or third round without question. He had 6 interceptions during his junior year, and 4 interceptions his senior year, despite being hampered by his knee. Once he gets healthy, look for Mickens to have a significant impact in the secondary.
Manuel Johnson – Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
One has to believe that the Cowboys would have pulled the trigger on a receiver much earlier in the draft had a decent talent fallen into their laps. Manuel Johnson was overshadowed in a talented Oklahoma offense that included Juaquin Iglesias and Jermaine Gresham, but still put up decent numbers, catching 42 passes for 714 yards and 9 touchdowns. He isn’t as tall as you would like, but has exceptional hands and runs great routes. Look for him to do battle with Isaiah Stanback for the number five receiver spot in training camp, with the loser most likely getting cut or sent to the practice squad.
Is there a worse group of analysts on the planet than the ones that covered the draft on ESPN? The analysis and commentary started out terrible with the likes of Chris Berman and Keyshawn Johnson on the first day, and got exceptionally worse on the second day when Trey Wingo and Ron Jaworski took over their duties. And of course Mel Kiper was unfortunately present for both days, and Todd McShay chimed in with irrelevent analysis periodically as well.
Seriously, these guys are the most sorry cast of analysts I’ve ever seen in my life. If it wasn’t Keyshawn Johnson chiming in at every given moment about USC, then it was Ron Jaworski refusing to shut up about a no name quarterback from Central Washington. Couple all that with the fact that Trey Wingo doesn’t know a single thing about football, and it made for an extremely annoying afternoon of irrelevent, talking heads analysis.
What’s more annoying, Mel Kiper’s inaccurate analysis of every single pick, or his horrendous hair? His hair is so bad that it actually takes away your focus on his exceptionally terrible analysis. My good friend Mark compared Mel’s bush to the hair of Eddie Munster. Surprisingly accurate to say the least.
On one occasion, when the Cowboys were on the clock at #117, they traded the pick to Tampa Bay, and moved down three spots to #120. When the Bucs drafted Kyle Moore from USC, Trey Wingo reported that he was drafted by the Cowboys, rather than the Bucs, totally oblivious of the fact that they had traded the pick.
On another occasion, the Cardinals drafted Herman Johnson from LSU. After the Cardinals made the pick, these morons talked for five minutes about how big of an impact he would have for the Carolina Panthers.
Erin Andrews did a commendable job of being equally as annoying as the group of talking heads. She shoved her microphone into the face of nearly every first round pick moments after they stepped off the stage with Commissioner Goodell. And how ridiculously stupid was the reporting that she did with Quan Cosby and Bill Cosby? Not only was Bill Cosby clearly not interested in answering her irrelevent questions, but he was asleep half the time as well. If this wasn’t enough, she rudely continued her nagging questions after it was quite clear that Quan Cosby was not going to be drafted.
Equally as annoying was the horrifically stupid electronic draft board that Michael Smith fiddled with for both days. Why it was neccessary to implement such a pathetic piece of equipment is beyond me.
The worst thing of all, though, had to be the EA Sports virtual player breakdown that Tom Jackson toyed with in the studio. What is more hilariously stupid than watching a fat, former player analyzing a player’s abilities while standing amongst life-sized virtual players? I know it’s their job to promote EA Sports, but this was so outlandish that it made me never want to buy Madden ever again.
For those of you who were able to watch the draft on NFL Network, consider yourselves lucky, for this was the poorest reporting and analysis that I have ever seen in my life. It is truly unbelievable that these guys actually get paid for such horrific commentary. The self-proclaimed draft experts, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, may have given a low draft grade to the Cowboys, but they, as well as their fellow colleagues certainly get an F in my book for their God-awful coverage of the 2009 NFL Draft.