Cowboys Drafted Based on Talent, Not Need

Two words come to mind when I think about how the 2010 NFL Draft played out for the Cowboys.

The first word is predictability.

It turns out that the best barometer for predicting Dallas’ draft picks was not the numerous mock drafts put out by quacks like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, but the pre-draft visits conducted by the Cowboys prior to the draft.

If you paid attention to the players that were brought in to Valley Ranch for pre-draft visits, you could have penciled in the first three players the Cowboys drafted, as well as half of their picks.

Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah were all brought in for pre-draft visits.

Taking a peak at the pre-draft visit list turned out to be much more accurate than any mock draft put out by either professionals or amateurs.

Mel Kiper’s mock draft had Dallas taking USC offensive tackle Charles Brown in the first round. Brown ended up being chosen at the end of the second round, having been passed up by the Cowboys twice.

Other mock drafts had the Cowboys taking players like Rodger Saffold, Bruce Campbell, and Damien Williams in the first round. None of the three went in the first round, and Campbell ended up plummeting to the fourth round.

Let that be a lesson to all of you who follow mock drafts like a sacred text. Everyone, including myself, loves to look at them. But as we saw this year, they are wildly inaccurate outside the top ten picks.

The second word is value.

With very few position needs, Dallas came into this draft with the best player available mentality.

Would it have been nice to add a future Pro Bowl offensive lineman? Sure.

Would it have been nice to add a ball-hawking free safety? No doubt.

But who was sitting on the board at #24 that had as much or more talent than Dez Bryant? Charles Brown? Bruce Campbell? Rodger Saffold? Taylor Mays?

As the Cowboys said after round one, and as I said in an article before the draft, the only two players the Cowboys believed had as much talent as Dez Bryant were Earl Thomas and Mike Iupati, both off the board before pick #20.

Instead of trading their first round pick and the kitchen sink to move up to #14 to pick Earl Thomas, the Cowboys held tight and threw a laughable trade at the New England Patriots to move up three spots to land one of the most talented players in the draft.

Not bad at all.

What about the second round? Who was on the board at #55 that you would have rather had than Sean Lee? Charles Brown still? Bruce Campbell still? Morgan Burnett? Chad Jones?

The moral of this story is do not draft based on need. When teams draft based on need, they start reaching for players and busts are more likely to litter the roster after a few seasons.

See players like James Marten in 2007, Jacob Rogers and Stephen Peterman in 2004, Al Johnson in 2003, and Tony Dixon in 2001 to find out what happens historically when Dallas reaches for players based on need.

The Drafted, The Undrafted And Trading?

With the draft ending after three days I can honestly say that I enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it being on Prime-time, but it ended up being a good idea by the NFL. I think what made it exciting was of course chatting with all my fellow LSS friends as well as being able to watch what was going on in the Cowboys war room. Every time someone in the room picked up a phone or got out of their seat I thought something was happening. Oh, I almost forgot, the Cowboys drafted some guy named Dez Bryant. I hear he is supposed to be a pretty good receiver. Of course I’m kidding. I was jumping out of my chair as the Cowboys traded up and then the commissioner announced Bryant’s name as the next Dallas Cowboy. I can tell all of you this. As much as the Giants fans that I know tried to cover it up, I know they were not happy that the Cowboys were able to get Bryant.

As far as our other picks are concerned I can honestly say I don’t know much about them. So many people have their opinions of how teams did or how players are going to work out. The Cowboys can only hope that they picked some players that will contribute to the team this year and years to come. Let’s not forgot that many players from last years draft class either never made it to the field or barely made it to the field. Players like Robert Brewster, Mike Hamlin, Jason Williams, Brandon Williams, Stephen Hodge and Victor Butler.

After the draft the Cowboys started to sign some undrafted free agents per

Chris Gronkowski, fullback/tight end, Arizona

Phil Costa, center, Maryland

Matt Nichols, quarterback, Eastern Washington

Chet Teofilo, guard, Cal

Lonyae Miller, running back, Fresno State

Barry Church, safety, Toledo

Terrell Hudgins, wide receiver, Elon

Will Barker, tackle, Virginia

Now we have been hearing that Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd, Martellus Bennett and possibly Tashard Choice are available to be traded. I’m not overly happy with the trade talk about Choice. I don’t want him traded and I think it would hurt the Cowboys down the road. Hurd would not be a big loss and as far as Crayton, I don’t blame him for wanting to go somewhere because he wants to play more. I guess we just have to wait and see how things play out.

FMC’s Offseason Rant: NFL Draft

Hey all you LSS fans out there!

It’s me, Full Metal Cowboy, bringing you another installment of my latest thoughts on the “Silver & Blue”. It was a wild and productive NFL Draft for our Dallas Cowboys this weekend, and I want to tell you all about it Full Metal style!

So go grab a drink, sit your butts down for ten minutes, hit play, and most of all enjoy.

On behalf of me and everyone at Lone Star Struck, thanks for all your support, and until my next installment, peace out!

“WOW” What A Weekend

Although I am VERY excited the NFL draft is over and all the analysts saying over and over and over and over (you get what I mean) and over again about who goes where, who is number one, who should pick who, one word says it all. WOW!!!!!!! This has got to be one of the most active NFL drafts I have ever seen. There were trades galore and picks that shocked everyone. Top prospects going before during and after what they were projected to go. In a nut shell, a GREAT football weekend in the middle of the off-season.

First off Kelly did a good job on breaking down who we drafted this year. Although we got a great WR in the first round I kind of wish we would have gone with a little more focus on O-line to start the draft and other positions after that was solidified since we did lose Flozell Adams. But I do think we had a great daft and I am looking forward to an OUTSTANDING “championship” season. With that said, this draft to me seemed much more “emotional” than drafts in the past. As a writer for NFL.COM says, it was the “year of the hug”. There were more players hugging Commissioner Roger Goodell as they came on stage than in years past. Tears flowed, emotions ran high and dreams were fulfilled.

As we all know, Sam Bradford, QB for Oklahoma went number one to the Rams, the best defensive player in the draft, Suh went 2nd to the lions and from then on, it was GAME ON. Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, the draft was pretty well split down the middle between offensive and defensive players. 17 defensive players taken vs. 15 offensive players taken. What really came into play this year was the trades. Before the draft, the Eagles officially became the most ignorant franchise in NFL history trading a top 10 QB to a DIVISION opponent, the Washington Redskins. “BIG BEN” did what he does best and rubbed his name in the dirt just a little more showing his off the field behavior deserves NO respect, causing trade talks. In the end, the Steelers decided they were going to keep him and let his play on the field overlook his pathetic decisions off the field. With the Bears grabbing the best free agency out there in Peppers, they continued to focus on their defense drafting 3 more defensive players and 2 offensive players.

Seattle’s new head coach and former USC head coach Pete Carrol brought back familiar faces in acquiring RB LenDale White from the Titans and traded with the jets getting all pro RB Leon Washington to compliment that backfield. The Raiders decided that the Skins no longer needed Jason Cambell and took them off of their hands. We all know, just like in past drafts, the Patriots were going to be wheeling and dealing. Well coach Bill Belichick boosted up their defense and stealing veteran DT Gerad Warren from the Raiders. This acquisition, along with free agents WR Tory Holt and Defensive Lineman Amon Gordon and their TWELVE (12) picks in this year’s draft improved their team dramatically.

As I research the trades that went on this weekend, I realize I have taken on a task that would take me much more precious time than I thought, and besides, my blog would be 5 pages long. I found a link here that shows all the trades that happened during the draft this year.

With just the information that I’ve shared, you can easily see that this off-season is one of the most active ever. Free agents, trades, and a draft that in my opinion lasted WAY too long. Finally the draft is over, and the training camps can get underway. The newest “Boys” can start to show us what they have. Before we know it pre-season hits us and then, LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!

Cowboys 2010 Draft Summary

I present to you the Dallas Cowboys Class of 2010. Some of you will make the team, some of you may not.

But for today you are Dallas Cowboys! Congratulations!

Rd PkPlayer POS Ht Wt College
124 (24)Dez BryantWR6-2220Oklahoma St.
223 (55)Sean LeeLB6-2236Penn St.
428 (126)Akwasi Owusu-AnsahCB6-1190Indiana (PA)
610 (179)Sam YoungT6-8320Notre Dame
627 (196)Jamar WallCB5-10203Texas Tech
727 (234)Sean LissemoreDT6-4298William & Mary

Boys Nab Flozell’s Replacement in Round One of Mock 1.0

With round one of the 2010 mock draft a little more than two weeks away, I feel like it’s time to throw a mock draft out there along with Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. No worries though, unlike Kiper and McShay, my mock draft comes free of charge. Here is how I see it all panning out.

27. Anthony DavisOffensive Tackle, Rutgers

With the recent release of Flozell Adams, Dallas nabs Anthony Davis, the best true tackle in the draft behind Russell Okung and Trent Williams. In Davis, Dallas will add instant competition to the fast-dwindling depth along the offensive line. Unlike Bruce Campbell, who many mock drafts have Dallas taking at #27, Davis can contribute immediately if needed or sit for a year if Dallas goes the Doug Free route. Dallas could also be very tempted to take Earl Thomas or Taylor Mays if one of them was to drop into their laps.


59. Nate Allen – Safety, South Florida

After missing out on the top three premier safeties in the draft, Dallas nabs one of the top second-tier safeties in Nate Allen. Like Davis, Allen will add immediate depth to a safety position that is now diminished with the release of Ken Hamlin. Allen will be able to step in and compete with Alan Ball, Pat Watkins, and Mike Hamlin for the starting job.


90. Jordan Shipley – Wide Receiver, Texas

Instantly my favorite pick of the draft, Dallas takes a homegrown Texas prospect in Shipley. He will add another dimension to the offense in the slot, and give Dallas an effective return weapon on special teams. Jerry is well aware of the success that has taken place down in Austin, and cannot pass up a college star from the Lone Star State.


125. John Jerry – Guard, Ole Miss

In another move to add depth and competition to the offensive line, Dallas grabs John Jerry with their 4th round pick. My fellow writer Nate also has Dallas drafting Jerry in the 3rd round, but I think he could still be on the board here. He has the huge earth-moving frame that the Cowboys like on their interior linemen, and can sit and learn for a year with Kyle Kosier entering the last year of his deal. He will also push Robert Brewster, who I am not completely sold on, for supremacy on the depth chart.


196. Clifton Geathers – Defensive End, South Carolina

With question marks surrounding Marcus Spears’s future with the Cowboys, Dallas drafts some insurance in Clifton Geathers. At 6’7″, 299 pounds, Geathers has a freakishly enormous frame that reminds the Cowboys of Chris Canty. Could slide into the defensive line rotation immediately and fill a role similar to what Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen have. Geathers also comes from football bloodlines. His father and uncle played in the NFL as well as his brother, Robert, who plays for the Bengals.


234. John Conner – Fullback, Kentucky

With tightly crossed fingers, Dallas lands the fullback they coveted in John Conner. The Cowboys have shown too much interest in Conner to not draft him with their last pick. Jerry Jones is tired of dealing with problem child players. With the selection of Conner, Deon Anderson can pack his bags.

Don’t Gamble On Romo’s Backside

In a scenario where Jerry is not completely convinced that Doug Free will hold up the blind side and value his ability to back-up either tackle spot, this could be an option:

27. TRADE to Baltimore for Jared Gaither

There WILL be a projected first round tackle that falls to the Cowboys at 27. Could be any one of these   three; Anthony Davis, Charles Brown or Bruce Campbell. They could also reach for a tweener such as Roger Saffold from Indiana or U-Mass’ Vladimir Ducasse. Davis is the only one I’d take for sure. Unfortunately, he is gone. The Cowboys could also look for safety help here, where Taylor Mays might have fallen to. The thing with Mays though, is his square hips and weak reputation as a bawl-hawk, which is our primary concern for our new free-safety. No matter how you would use him in Wade’s 3-4 (safety or linebacker) there would be a learning curve and that simply can’t happen with this pick. Either trade up or get max value. Don’t reach or take on another project. The Cowboys offer their first round pick this year to Baltimore, where all the other teams interested were offering a second round pick plus a fourth or a 2011 future pick. Jerry is the highest bidder and gets tremendous value out of the 27th pick in the draft.

59. Morgan Burnett S Georgia Tech

The Cowboys are impressed with his body of work at Tashard Choice’s alma mater.

His Combine and Pro-Day results might make him a goner before the Cowboys pick at 59, but today we’re lucky.

90. John Jerry G Ole Miss

A 6’5″ 335 lb. mauling run blocker is what the Boys get in the third round with John. Jerry was an All-SEC first-teamer.

Should be able to develop this year and slide into Kyle Kosier’s spot when hios contract expires, or at least compete with Brewster if he (Brewster) doesn’t stay at tackle like recently reported. Solid pick.

125. Donovan Warren CB Michigan

No way he’s still on the board. Well, if teams look at his post-college work, then maybe.

Warren ran a slower 40 at his Pro Day (4.62) than at the Combine (4.59).

I don’t need a track star. I want a cover corner. Thank you. Please drive through.

196. John Conner FB/TE Kentucky

His duties would include the following; run bock, pass protect, catch out of the backfield and play special teams.

If John works out, he’ll be the steal of the draft.

234. Brett Swenson K Michigan State

A college kicker to compete with Connor Hughes and David Buehler.

May the best man win.

Emergency Mock Draft

Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin have been released. All of a sudden the Cowboys, who were entering the draft with no serious holes to fill, have two HUGE ones. None, arguably, more important than Left Tackle. The man that has our franchise Quarterback’s backside.

Do Jerry and company really believe Doug Free is ready NOW? Apparently they do because between the two starting positions released, there HAS to be at least one starter in waiting. Alan Ball, although filled in admirably last season for Ken Hamlin, is not the ball-hawking center fielder that Jerry covets.

This brings us to the newest mock draft I have assembled with these new twists in mind.

Earl Thomas (safety, Texas) falls to 19 where Atlanta is waiting to take a player like Pierre-Paul. Dallas jumps ahead of Houston and Cincinnati, giving the Falcons #27(1st), and #125(4th) and a 2011 3rd for #19. The Cowboys draft their ball hawking center fielder with solid depth behind him (Alan Ball, Mike Hamlin)

The biggest concern in the second round is drafting SOLID O-Tackle help should Free not work out or a starter goes down. The picks at 59 (2nd) and 90 (3rd) are enough ammo to move up to Denver’s spot at 45 and draft a tackle that dropped out of the first round such as Indiana’s Roger Saffold or Rutgers’ Anthony Davis.

With no picks left from the 3rd round until the 6th (3rd to Denver, 4th to Atlanta, 5th to Denver for Montrae Holland) the Cowboys kick back and chill. There is no sense in giving up any more future picks and realistically, at this point, we are done giving up players. (e.g.Bennett, Choice, Barber)

At the end of the 6th round the Cowboys are pleasantly surprised to see Fullback John Connor from Kentucky still on the board. Drafting a potential starter this year in the 6th round is the quiet victory of this entire off-season.

In the 7th, kicker Brett Swenson from Michigan State is selected to compete with David Buehler and Connor Hughes. This would be a very good situation for the Cowboys to be in concerning their kicker issues. New kicking consultant Chris Boniol should be able to coach up one of the three, shoring up our immediate place kicking need. We can debate who holds the advantage in a later post.

End Of March Mock Draft

I should preface this mock by saying it was composed with the assumption that Jerry signs O.J. Atogwe away from the Rams, releases Ken Hamlin and is counting on one of the youngsters such as Marquis Floyd, Jesse Holley etc. making the team as a versatile return man.

27. Markise Pouncey G/C Florida
Pouncey is a strong and versitile lineman that brings youth and depth to the aging O-Line. Markise will compete with Kosier for the left guard spot and provide solid depth at center should Gurode go down.

59.  Brandon Ghee CB Wake Forest
Brandon ran an impressive 4.37 40 yd. dash at the Combine and completely shut down receiver Demaryius Thomas earlier in the year. With Newman getting up there in age, more solid depth is needed in the secondary and the 6 ft. 200 lb. speedster is a great addition.

90. Major Wright FS Florida
After signing O.J.Atogwe away from the Rams and releasing 2009 starter Ken Hamlin, depth is needed at the safety position and Major comes from a long line of impressive Florida safeties. Major has good size, speed and instincts making this a solid choice in the third round.

125. Tony Washington OT Abilene Christian
Jerry said the biggest focus of this draft was to get younger on the O-Line and with the selections of Pouncey and Washington, he does just that. Washington is a 6ft. 6in., 311 lb. Tackle with 35.5in. arms. Free is projected to be the successor on the left side, so an upgrade will be needed on the right. Washington will be an upgrade over McQuistan who never developed into a quality tackle.

196.  John Connor FB/H-Back Kentucky
The Cowboys select a versatile FB in the sixth round after releasing Deon “Crickett” Anderson. Connor will be asked to block for the three-headed monster, catch passes out of the back-field and play special teams.

234. Brett Swenson K Michigan State
Jerry takes a late round flier on a kicker. Swenson will compete with Connor Hughes and David Buehler for placekicking duties. BTW, who’s going to hold this year?

Cowboys Draft Series: Wide Receiver

Over the next few weeks leading up to the draft, I will put together a Cowboys Draft Series covering prospects and positions that I feel the Cowboys will be most interested in come the first round on April 22. The main factors for choosing the prospects to watch include the Cowboys’ position in the draft and players that fit their schemes on offense and defense. This week I will focus on the wide receiver position. There are many potential prospects that the Cowboys will likely be interested in, especially in this year’s fairly deep receiver class. Here are a few names to put on your list.

Jordan Shipley – Texas, 5’11” 193

Jordan Shipley is a name that is tangled up somewhere in the top 10 of the receiver prospects list. One of the best receivers in recent Texas Longhorns history, and easily the most prolific punt returner in the team’s history, Shipley is a guy who could probably play slot receiver immediately, as well as return kicks and punts. He may not be the biggest or or the fastest, but he has the work ethic that coaches love. He is a high character player and someone you want in your locker room. It’s hard to say exactly where Shipley will go in the draft, but I would imagine the Cowboys will have him targeted anywhere from rounds 2 through 4. Some people have compared him to Wes Welker, and I would not immediately disagree. As a lifelong Texas Longhorns fan, I would love to see Shipley in a Cowboys uniform.

Golden Tate – Notre Dame, 5’10” 199

Tate is another guy who’s name has been seen all over the top 10 receivers prospect list. Living 45 minutes from Notre Dame’s campus, I was able to witness Golden Tate’s surprising athletic ability last season. He has extremely soft hands and the open-field moves of a running back. He also possesses great speed and the ability to catch the ball in a tight window. He also had the benefit of being in a pro style offense at Notre Dame and that should help him at the next level. Like Shipley, Tate is probably a slot guy who could provide you with explosiveness on special teams. I would not anticipate Tate making it past the second round and if he is still on the board when the Cowboys select in the late second round, this could be their guy.

Marty Gilyard – Cincinnati, 6’0″ 187

Gilyard is another receiver that is cut in the mold of Tate and Shipley. A bit smallish, but someone who could flourish in the slot and possibly even on the outside. Has all the quickness and athletic ability that you look for, and like Tate and Shipley again, is extremely hard to tackle in the open field. Could take over the punt and kick returning duties immediately and provide a much needed spark. Another high character player who you would love to have on your team. He will probably go somewhere between the late second to mid-third rounds, and just like the previous two receivers, Dallas will have their eye on him.

Jacoby Ford – Clemson, 5’9″ 186

Ford is a guy who did not have near the amount of production that Shipley, Tate, or Gilyard had at the college level. But his official 4.28 40-yard dash time at the combine suggests that he possesses the speed to be a game breaker. Probably more of a slot guy who you would design certain packages for to try to get him the ball in open space. Could most certainly be a terror in the return game if he fine tunes his return skills. Reminds me of someone like Roscoe Parrish of the Buffalo Bills or Eddie Royal of the Denver Broncos; someone who can take it to the house at any time in the return game and contributes fairly to the receiving game as a speed threat. Ford’s draft stock will probably go up after his blazing 40 time, but he could be available as late as the 4th round. If he stays on the board that long, I would look for Dallas to trade up to grab him.

Demaryius Thomas – Georgia Tech, 6’3″ 224

Thomas is a player who posted stellar numbers in 2009 for a Yellow Jackets offense that was very run oriented. He has a huge frame that reminds you of Terrell Owens and the speed to go with it. His frame enables him to shield defenders and go up and get the catch. There is some uncertainty surrounding Thomas, as he just recently broke his foot and will be unable to participate in the combine or his pro day. His raw talent and upside makes him one of the biggest gambles in the draft, and he is likely to be a boom or bust player. He is probably a solid second round pick and Dallas may take a look at him if he is still sitting on the board in the late second round.