Dallas Cowboys 2004 Draft Report Card

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foxsports admin

(Sports Network) - Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells plotted strategies in the ' draft room that resulted in accomplishing one of the club's main goals for draft weekend: add depth to the offensive line, secondary and running back position. But did this accomplishment come at the expense of acquiring a potential franchise running back? Dallas' decision to pass on Oregon State's , the No. 1-ranked rusher in the draft, speaks volumes about Parcells' evaluation of Jackson and his belief in Notre Dame's , who was added to provide a spark in the running game. Still, it remains to be seen just what the are missing out on with Jackson.

The were determined to get Tulane's after they missed out on the big three QBs and wound up with WR with the 13th overall pick. Buffalo gave the a 2005 first-round pick, which could be at the top of round one unless Buffalo improves in 2004, in the trade to acquire Dallas' No. 1 (22nd overall). The biggest problem with this trade is the passing on Jackson, who is an ultra-talented workhorse back. Dallas is in dire need of a feature back and Jackson could have been a star in Big D. Even more puzzling was the selection of Jones with the second-round pick acquired from Buffalo.

Jones' football career was on the rocks three years ago before his brother, Chicago's , helped him get back on the Irish roster. The difference between Jackson and Jones in terms of NFL potential is light years. Jackson is capable of carrying the ball 25 times per game; Jones had fumbling problems and might not be more than a third-down back. It's a risky move for a win-now team.

The trade also left the out of the hunt for Jackson, Michigan's and Virginia Tech's . The draft's top-three RBs all went between picks 24 and 30.

The plan to move , a great value pick at No. 52, from left to right tackle. Dallas also came up with a solid lineman in round three with the addition of LSU's , who is a solid, durable guard with nice mobility and a mean streak. Parcells is sending a message to his underachieving offensive linemen by adding young talent at the tackle and guard position so high in the draft.

Parcells is beginning to build this team like his old Giant teams -- strong defense, physical offensive line and an offense that can control the clock in the fourth quarter. 's ability to manage a game was a huge factor in the trade with Houston. With Henson and an extra No. 1 pick on board, it's surprising to see the building for the long haul.

This draft comes down to acquiring offensive line depth versus a possible franchise running back. Jones and Parcells wanted to upgrade at cornerback, but the selections of Rutgers' and Purdue's don't indicate a substantial upgrade opposite . Club also failed to land a run-stuffing defensive tackle at any point. Does Parcells have visions of Mark Bavaro when he sees ? The BC rookie will team up with to form an interesting one-two punch.

2004 Draft Picks: (2nd round-43rd overall) RB-Julius Jones, Notre Dame; (2-52) OT-Jacob Rogers, USC; (3-83) OG-Stephen Peterman, LSU; (4-121) CB-Bruce Thornton, Georgia; (5-144) TE-Sean Ryan, Boston College; (7-205) CB-Nathan Jones, Rutgers; (7-216) WR-Patrick Crayton, NW Oklahoma State; (7-223) CB- , Purdue.

Sports Network Draft Grade: C-

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