One reason we know whether or not the Dallas Cowboys stuck to their draft board is because they accidentally make it public every other year. For the second time in four years, the good folks from Blogging the Boys were able to reconstruct images captured in the Cowboys’ “war room,” and we now know exactly how players were ranked in the first five rounds.
But it’s not like BTB had to hack into the Cowboys’ computers to gather this sensitive information. It seems that Jerry Jones keeps posing in front of his own draft board. After the embarrassing 2010 leak, you’d think the Cowboys would guard against this type of thing. But the Cowboys have once again unwittingly shared their draft approach with everyone.
Now, if we could just get Jerry to pose for pictures in the days leading up to the draft. The images confirmed what most of us already believed: The Cowboys showed blatant disregard for their board while trading down to select Travis Frederick at No. 31. Someone in the building had decided that defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was the fifth-best player in the draft. And the Cowboys had a chance to take him with the 18th overall pick. They instead traded that pick to the 49ers and then watched the Vikings select Floyd at 23.
According to BTB’s reconstruction project, the Cowboys also had cornerback Xavier Rhodes, wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson, tight end Tyler Eifert and defensive end Bjoern Werner ranked in their top 18. And all of those players were still available when the Cowboys went on the clock. Instead, the Cowboys were able to grab the 22nd, 23rd and 25th players on their board in Travis Frederick, Terrance Williams and Gavin Escobar. Some GMs will stretch the truth to defend their draft decisions after the fact. But the majority of those GMs don’t accidentally share their draft boards with the public.
In this case, BTB’s research actually validated Jerry’s claim that Frederick was No. 22 on the Cowboys’ board (he earned a second-round grade). So now that we know without a doubt where Floyd was ranked, what possessed the Cowboys not to select him?
I believe it speaks to the influence of new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. I’ve asked him point-blank what he thought of Floyd, but he just laughs. On the night of the draft, Jerry said something about Floyd not being a “quick-twitch” player. He didn’t believe he was what the Cowboys were looking for in a three-technique player. It sounded like someone had been whispering in Jerry’s ear, and I have a hunch that person was Kiffin.
It’s certainly intriguing to have a look at the Cowboys’ draft board. Now, maybe they should try using it next year.