Cowboys could keep up draft trend of moving around
The Dallas Cowboys are sending signals that they might trade
down in the draft Thursday night.
If so, they would do well to remember their disastrous ”special
teams” draft of 2009, the last time Dallas focused on stockpiling
Not one player remains from the class with the ill-fated label
from owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who didn’t have a
first-round pick and focused on depth believing the Cowboys had the
pieces to contend even though they were coming off a 9-7
Dallas did make the playoffs that year and picked up the
franchise’s only playoff win since 1996. But it wasn’t because of
any significant contributions from the 12 draft picks known as the
”dirtiest dozen,” a derisive reference to the 1975 draft that was
called the ”dirty dozen” after 12 Dallas rookies made the roster
for a team that went to three of the next four Super Bowls.
Plus, the Cowboys haven’t been back to the postseason since, and
last season they kept signing players off the waiver wire when they
didn’t have the depth to endure injuries on defense.
”We’ve got to do a better job going forward of taking your
lumps early, but developing these guys and putting them in your
lineup,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the team’s
draft preview Monday.
Dallas sits at No. 18 this year, possibly too low for an
immediate upgrade needed for the offensive line. While there is a
theory that a draft short on elite talent makes it a good idea to
surrender picks to grab one of the top prospects, the Cowboys seem
to be leaning the other way.
”Typically you save those big move ups for your skill players
… whether it’s a corner or a pass rusher on defense, a
quarterback, running back, receiver,” Stephen Jones said in a
radio appearance Tuesday. ”You’re usually willing to give up a
player later in the draft to really get a guy you want. I don’t
necessarily see that for us this year.”
The Cowboys have moved up twice in the three drafts since the
whiff of 2009, with what appear to be good results.
Dallas jumped three spots to grab a sliding Dez Bryant late in
the first round three years ago, and the receiver had a
breakthrough season in 2012. The Cowboys moved way up last year,
from 14th to sixth, and took cornerback Morris Claiborne. He had
modest numbers for an underperforming and depleted defense, but was
one of the reasons the team felt it had the personnel to switch
back to the 4-3 after nearly a decade in the 3-4.
The best of the past four drafts for Dallas was the one time
Jerry Jones stood pat. In the first three rounds of 2011, the
Cowboys got tackle Tyron Smith, linebacker Bruce Carter and running
back DeMarco Murray. All three are expected to be cornerstones in
the coming years.
The 2009 draft may not have been Jones’ worst. Facing similar
constraints in 2001 – no first-round pick thanks to a bad trade –
the Cowboys traded down in the second round and took quarterback
Quincy Carter at least two rounds ahead of where he was
Carter was one of many post-Troy Aikman failures, and Jones
didn’t take another quarterback until 2009, his next truly bad
draft. Stephen McGee went in the fourth round and was never more
than a third-stringer behind Tony Romo and a host of backups.
Still, Jones is undeterred on the idea of trading down if that’s
”There’s enough depth in this draft that you sure want to keep
your ears open for trades, because you very well could get as good
or a better player at another level,” Jones said. ”We will have
our minds open.”
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