COWBOYS DRAFT GRADE - B+
By mark rogers
April 27, 2009
The Dallas Dirty Dozen.
The 12 football players who were selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Draft today. From now until the first few days of training camp, these players will be negotiating terms, legal language, numbers and other fun contract stuff until they're signed and officially become part of the greatest sports franchise in the history of planet Earth.
After looking at all the players and evaluating where they might fit into the current roster...I have to say that I'm very optimistic about the 2009 class.
If there are two things you can say about Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones it's this: he spends a lot of money and he's usually a very good evaluator of talent or knows how to hire good talent evaluators which leads to pretty good drafts.
Way back in February, I said on this blog that we needed to target QB, OL, WR and LB.
Well, we went out and traded a better-than-average Safety for a QB which increased our need in the defensive backfield, let DE Chris Canty get away in free agency (understandably too expensive) and lost Kevin Burnett and Keith Davis - two guys who played a large role on third down and special teams.
So our needs changed just a little bit although we still went into the draft needing help on the O-line and at LB.
Here's how the picks went down by position in order of selection: OLB, OL (probably a guard), QB, DE, DE, CB, FS, K, LB, TE, CB and WR.
7 defensive positions, 4 offensive positions and one special teamer. And really many of the defensive selections will be used on special teams as well, so you could sort of say that 6 of the selections could play some role on special teams which was an area we needed BIGTIME improvements in...we didn't go out and get a new ST coach because everything was fine and dandy.
Our first pick was Jason Williams...yet another Jason Williams in professional sports, but I would take this Jason Williams over any of the others in a street fight. Big, fast kid from Chicago tied the all-time college football record with 14 forced fumbles in his career at Western Illinois. He's a ballhawk who will knock the snot out of you. I love this pick and hope he never has the chance to knock the snot out of me.
Ball State had a record-breaking offensive year in 2008 and a big reason for the big numbers was their big right tackle Robert Brewster who we took with our second pick (75th overall). Talk about a crazy story...this guy's wife died three days after giving birth to his son late last year. Just makes you want to reach out and hug the guy. I'm really pulling for him to make the team and do well. He'll end up being a guard in the NFL. 6-4, 300+ pounder.
We took A&M QB Stephen McGee with our third pick (4th round). McGee was disappointed he wasn't taken earlier. It didn't help that he was COMPLETELY mis-used during his entire career at A&M. If given the chance he could thrive as a pro-style QB. Maybe he'll develop and we can trade him for future draft picks in a few years.
Our 4th and 5th picks were used on defensive ends (much to the chagrin of Greg Ellis - who I'm sure we'll be hearing from soon). Oregon State's Victor Hunter and Texas Tech's Brandon Williams were both studs at their respective schools. Hunter had 22.5 sacks the last two years and Williams led the Big-12 in sacks last year. Williams' stock dropped after he ran a slow 4.9 40 at the combine...good news for Dallas because he's faster than that on the field. Great picks that will add invaluable depth to our defensive line.
A couple of Cincinnati defenders were taken with our 6th and 11th picks. Cornerbacks DeAngelo Smith and Mike Mickens. Both of these guys should contribute immediately on special teams and shouldn't see the field much this year other than that. Both solid athletes who put up good numbers with the Bearcats.
I've been enamored with Clemson FS Michael Hamlin for the last few years. A hard-hitting, playmaker, Hamlin started four years and ended up with 326 tackles and 14 picks in his fabulous career. We could have a Hamlin/Hamlin starting safety tandem.
Remember, I watch about 30 college football games every Saturday. He's been on my radar for a while .Come to think of it...I'd heard of every one of our selections. That's always a good sign.
USC kicker David Buehler was the 172nd overall pick and the Cowboys' 8th. He'll be used as a kickoff specialist but he's also a kicker in the mold of Colts' punter Hunter Smith, who was Notre Dame's third string quarterback, ran drills with the receivers and is probably one of the better pure athletes in the league. Buehler had a better bench press than a lot of lineman at the combine and is a big, fast kid. He may be used on kickoff coverage.
Another Texas product was taken next by Dallas, TCU safety Stephen Hodge. He is a big, bruising safety who will most likely play inside LB for Dallas.
Virginia TE John Phillips will be given a chance to fight for the third TE roster spot behind Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett. He's a good player.
Our last pick was a player I watched help beat the Snyder Tigers in the state semi-finals a few years ago at Texas Stadium, Gilmer product Manuel Johnson who played WR at OU.
He was a stud at Gilmer but didn't quite live up to his hype. Don't get me wrong...he was good at OU and I think will have a chance to make the roster, but he struggled with inconsistency and injuries as a Sooner.
Overall, I was very pleased with the draft. This B+ is a very, very high B+ and the only reason I didn't give it an A was because I thought we could have addressed the OL issue a bit more...but who knows, maybe we'll make some trades and get the help we need up front.
I know my posts have been heavy on Cowboys lately. Now that the draft is over, I'll start focusing more on college and high school. First college game is September 3.
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