Same Old Situation
Odd draft choices leave analysts wondering if Jerry Jones has finally lost his mind
Can someone please convince Jerry Jones to buy the Los Angeles Clippers? The NBA model suits Jones’ tendency to discard draft picks like they are limitless poker chips. Unfortunately, in the NFL this leads to mediocre football teams that are woefully short of quality backup players.
In the first round, the Cowboys started off splendidly as Jones ignored his penchant for making a big splash by passing on Texas A&M lightening rod Johnny Manziel. Instead, Jones picked up offensive lineman Zack Martin, a solid if not spectacular choice. There were no crazy, headline-making trades entertained by the Cowboys. The team simply took the best player left on the board.
Jones threw reason out the window when he traded two picks to the Washington Redskins in order to grab DeMarcus Lawrence of Boise State.
But Jones threw reason out the window when he traded the Cowboys’ second- and third-round picks to the Washington Redskins in order to move up 13 spots and grab DeMarcus Lawrence of Boise State. The move prompted Walter Cherepinsky of the popular blog Walterfootball.com to proclaim, “I honestly think Jerry Jones has lost his mind.”
The backlash against the move has nothing to do with the player selected. Lawrence was one of the best pass rushers remaining in the draft, and the Cowboys have a DeMarcus Ware-sized hole to fill on defense.
The problem is that Jones once again did not get value for his trade. To put things in perspective, the Cowboys received the exact same compensation in last year’s draft when they traded down 13 spots in the first round. Even Jones admitted that he overpaid.
Jones just doesn’t seem to understand that the Cowboys need help in multiple areas. By sending off the team’s third-round pick, Dallas is robbed of a chance to add another quality player to fill in when the inevitable injury bug hits.
Yes, DeMarcus Lawrence looks to have a bright future with the Cowboys. Then again, so did Anthony Spencer, right up until he blew out his knee last year. Should Lawrence go down with an injury, Dallas will once again be grievously under-manned on the defensive line.
The Cowboys spent the final rounds of the draft gathering Jason Garrett-type players — workhorses who lack outstanding size and talent. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens was taken too early because he projects to be nothing more than a backup player. Devin Street is Pitt’s all-time leading receiver, and he could develop into a dangerous red zone target. First he needs to eat a sandwich and hit the weight room.
Ben Gardner of Stanford also lacks natural size and talent but makes up for it with an outstanding work effort. Gardner will compete to be a reserve defensive lineman. Former Texas Tech linebacker Will Smith's productivity exceeded his natural talent in college, so naturally the Cowboys snatched him up.
Amazingly, the Cowboys waited until the seventh round to address one of their most glaring needs: secondary play. Baylor Bear Ahmad Dixon will be counted on to help a miserable safety corps for Dallas. Hopefully Dixon can learn quickly or get used to seeing this again next season.
Ken Bishop and Terrance Mitchell are both late-round picks that would be happy to make the roster at this point. It should be pointed out that many draft experts praised the Cowboys for finding Mitchell so late. He probably won’t be a starter in the NFL, but he could make a capable backup who has big-play ability.
Perhaps the Cowboys will strike gold among the 23 free agents the team invited to camp. Players that received invites include former Longhorn Chris Whaley, Jordan Najvar and Glasco Martin of Baylor, as well as Ben Malena, the former Cedar Hill recruit who spent the past few years at Texas A&M.
Overall, the Cowboys had a solid draft, but it's mind-boggling that Jerry Jones still hasn't grasped how important depth is in the NFL. Odds are the Cowboys will once again be considered a talented team that folds in December as the injuries mount and they have no one to fill the void.