Why I liked the Dallas draft and no one else did...
Written by Curt Popejoy on 04/30/2009
Probably other than Kansas City, the team that is getting the most chatter is the Dallas Cowboys. Most grades that I have read on the Cowboys have been really bad. Most of the comments and emails I have gotten from Cowboys fans have been sent from a ledge somewhere and that's too bad. Buck up Cowboys, because I think you made your team better and did it without a day one draft pick.
First I am going to give you a quick rundown of the draft picks.
Jason Williams is an OLB from Western Illnois. I have been pimping this kid since January and he's never failed to impress me. He's a strong and explosive player who can line up at the OLB spot and rush the passer. He's strong enough to stay stout against the run, and looks to me to be made for the 3-4 defense.
Robert Brewster is the giant tackle from Ball State. I suspect this kid was taken initially to move inside to guard and eventually moving outside to tackle and replace Flozell Adams . He's definitely a project player, but with Dallas loving big road grading guards who can overpower defenders, Brewster could fit the bill.
Stephen McGee, QB Texas A&M is a really puzzling pick, but I think I can sort things out a little. McGee looked really good in the week of practice for the East-West Shrine game, and a great pro day workout. After what happened last season when Tony Romo got hurt, the need for a backup QB who could be pressed into duty was a top priority. The thing I like about McGee isn't his potential to replace Romo on a regular basis, but I like the fact he's sneaky athletic and could be used in specific packages, that utilize that athleticism.
Victor Butler DE Oregon State-I can only assume that Butler is being brought in, as a coverage player on special teams, and as a situational player in thir OLB rotation. Might have been taken too early.
Brandon Wiliams DE Texas Tech-If you draft Butler I'm not sure Williams was necessary, but I assume this is furthering their desire to get younger and more athletic on special teams. This is a team that allowed over 20 yards per kick return and 10 yards per punt return. The logic to improve that is sound.
I am lumping DeAngelo Smith and Mike Mickens together, not just because they are both cornerbacks from Cincinnati, but because both guys will be competing for time at nickle corner from the onset, and could end up the 3 and 4 CB's early on. They both have good size and athleticism, and both have great ball skills. Dallas has struggled to get consistent play from their CBs so these guys are definite upgrades. Oh, and Mike Mickens is a serious steal in the 7th round.
Now I will do another lumping together of players with S Michael Hamlin of Clemson and Stephen Hodge from TCU. Both are big hitters who have lapses in coverage. I suppose this is to remind people of Roy Williams who was a lot like them. Seriously, Both are huge safteys and I won't be shocked if one is starting by mid season.
Uhm, I was trying to put something clever and insightful together about John Phillips, TE from Virginia. He's probably training camp space filler and won't make the final roster. But his blocking might earn him a spot. But I wouldn't hold my breath.
Uhm, I was trying to put something clever and insightful together about...Oh nevermind. The Cowboys drafted a kicker. With a 5th round pick. I hear he is built like a likebacker so maybe Jerry Jones wants him to kick off and go down and make the tackle.
I finish strong with Manuel Johnson, WR Oklahoma. I'm not sure why there were 228 players drafted ahead of Johnson, but he can play. He was probably the best WR on OU's roster up until his injury last year. Assuming his injury isn't going to be a lingering issue, he has a real shot to make the team, and do well in the slot. He's quick and had great hands, and runs nice routes.
So, now that I've told you a little about the rookies, let me sort of piece this puzzle together and see how it fits for this season.
The quarterbacks-Romo is the man. The starter position is never in question and is rock solid. They struggled with depth last year and the FO believes that McGee can make it happen as the backup.
The Running Backs-This position is set. Barber is a bruiser, a healthy Felix Jones is a burner, and Tashard Choice is a great third option.
The Wide Receivers/Tight Ends-I know Cowboys fans wanted to see someone drafted here earlier than Manuel Johnson. But Johnson could end up a real steal, and the guys on the team are locked in their positions so I don't know that there was anyone coming in, and taking a starting spot anyway.
The offensive line-This is the one spot, where I think getting an additional player, someone who can fill in at tackle right away would have been nice. But June 1st cuts are coming, and you just never know who'll be there for them to sign.
Defensive line-Dallas has put together a really nice 6 man rotation for their dline. Guys who know their roles and do their jobs. Losing Canty hurt but getting Olshansky made up for it.
Linebackers-This is the first spot I think the draft really hit. In Jason Williams you get at the least a solid backup to Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware, and at best, he replaces Spencer altogether. With Greg Ellis getting older, getting Williams was a must. Victor Butler and Brandon Williams are similar type players who could help in a situational way, but bigtime on special teams.
Secondary-This is where the Cowboys hit a home run. The two Bearcat corners are starter quality and were real steals so late in the draft. Beyond Terrance Newman and Mike Jenkins they weren't real athletic, but all that changed pretty quickly. At safey, Ken Hamlin is good, but seems to never have been the same guy since his injury. Gerald Sensabaugh is a nice replacement for Roy Williams but once again, adding athleticism was a must and getting Mike Hamlin and Stephen Hodge fit the bill. Not to mention both are much bigger than either starting safety and that will shore up run defense.
So all in all, when you consider that the Cowboys made their first selection on day two pick 69, they could end up in two years, pulling 4 starters from this draft. There are teams with multiple day one picks who won't have that, so Cowboy fans, I realize you wanted a dynamic wide out to pair up with Roy Williams, but the tradeoff for talent at WR when they picked just wasn't worth the reach. Dallas is a better team today than they were last Friday and I think they made some very clever picks. OH, and as a lifelong Pittsburgh Steeler fans, you have no idea how hard that was to say.
Last Edited: 04/30/2009