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Dallas Cowboys

Columnists: Chris Daniels
Joel Paker

How to waste an entire draft by the Dallas Cowboys
By Christian Daniels

As a devout Cowboys fan I came into the 2004 draft with a ton of optimism. I left it a wreck. After two semi-successful drafts, I assumed the Dark Ages or Jerry Jones era (1994-2001) of horrible drafts was over. It now appears that the 2002 and 2003 drafts were flukes. Jerry Jones continues to prove to everyone but himself that he is the least capable general manager in the NFL. He seems to make trades just for the sake of appearing like a “wheeler and dealer”. This weekend Dallas had by far, the worst result of all 32 teams.

First round - No team came into this draft with a bigger need at RB than Dallas. It’s not too often every other team helps you out and lets the top-rated RB fall to you at pick #22. To top it off, Steven Jackson wants to be a Cowboy. He appears to be the perfect Parcells type back. A dream scenario until Jones’ greed wins out. Taking Jackson here guarantees the Cowboys a successful 2004 draft, regardless of any other picks.

Grade: F

Second round - Dallas needs a RB desperately, yet they are the 5th team to draft a RB. In my opinion, they took a RB that may have been the 7th best back in the draft. With Greg Jones still on the board and with none of the teams drafting next needing a RB he also appears to be a reach. Julius Jones had fumbling problems and wasn’t even the starter at Notre Dame at the beginning of the season. With all of the backlash against Maurice Clarett, I’m surprised Jones gets a free pass for missing all of 2002 with eligibility concerns and was linked to two different schools before finally ending up back at Notre Dame. I’m not even sure he can beat out Troy Hambrick. Jones appears to follow in a long line of potentially wasted 2nd round picks by the Cowboys (Dwayne Goodrich, Quincy Carter, Tony Dixon, and possibly Andre Gurode).

Grade: C-

Second round (second pick) - I’m a big USC guy so I’ve seen a lot of Jacob Rogers. The problem is that he’s a pure left tackle, meaning he’s a great pass blocker. He struggles against bigger defensive linemen and needs improvement on run blocking. So Dallas drafts him knowing they have Flozell Adams at left tackle and will ask Rogers to play right tackle.

Grade: B

Third round - Jerry Jones gets his much coveted face time on ESPN and announces that Larry Allen isn’t leaving. Then the Cowboys promptly draft guard Stephen Peterman. With cornerback Matt Ware still available this was a bad move. Dallas seems convinced Pete Hunter is a starting cornerback and they are alone in that assessment.

Grade: C

Fourth round - The Cowboys make an unbelievable reach here with Bruce Thornton. It’s at this point I’ve realized this may be the worst draft I’ve ever seen.

Grade: F

Fifth round - Dallas drafts tight end Sean Ryan. This also appears to be a major reach. What’s worse is that there is absolutely no need for him. Dallas has tight ends Dan Campbell, Jason Witten, Jeff Robinson, and James Whalen under contract for 2004. Why would a team with so many other needs draft a 5th tight end?

Grade: F

Fifth round (second pick) - Dallas traded down a few times, turning this 5th round pick into three 7th round picks. My take on that is a 5th round pick is a player that can develop into a contributing player down the road. A 7th round pick is someone not likely to make the opening day roster.

Grade: F

Seventh round - Dallas came into this draft with no 7th round picks and throughout the day acquired four. That tells me the team really likes the depth of this draft and also sees a lot of their targeted players slipping. Instead, Dallas drafts three players that appeared well on their path to rookie free agency. They also trade for a fullback despite the fact they have two very solid fullbacks on their roster. TheSportingNews publishes a special draft magazine every year before the draft. They ranked over forty cornerbacks. Nathan Jones was not a part of this list. Jacques Reeves from Purdue was though. I read that he’s a “track guy”. A track guy gives me the impression he is fast. His listed 40 time is 4.6. Maybe he’s an excellent high jumper? The SportingNews also ranked sixty plus receivers. Patrick Crayton was not one of them. He was a do-it-all player at tiny Northwest Oklahoma State. I’m sure the Desperado coaches can’t wait to get their hands on this guy. There were several defensive linemen Dallas could have taken a shot at here (Bobby McCray, Isaac Hilton).

Grade: F

During one ESPN interview, reporter Ed Werder suggested that with the off-season moves and draft picks Dallas has made that maybe they are conceding the 2004 season. What? Dallas still has ten million dollars in cap room and is coming off a playoff season. Is Jerry Jones strapped for cash? I get the idea that some moves were made with an eye towards the future. My question is this: When Dallas is playing Philadelphia with the division on the line and it’s third down and two, how is either a 2005 1st round pick or Drew Henson going to help us? Then again, I don’t see Julius Jones helping us get that first down either.










©2004
Sideline Scouting Services

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