By: Joe D.
The year was 2007, the Cowboys were coming off of a disheartening loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Questions were swirling around undrafted free agent quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys team was mediocre towards the end of the 2006 season losing three of four games (Saints, Eagles, and Lions), and Romo bobbled a go ahead field goal. Will he recover from the stigma of the bobble, did NFL defensive coordinators figure him out, or was he a flash in the pan like Scott Mitchell?
The Cowboys moved past the Drew Bledsoe era, but how confident were they in Romo? Certainly the two best quarterbacks in the 2007 draft wouldn’t slip all the way to #22. Would the Cowboys be willing to trade up to secure their long term future at the game’s most important position.
Come draft day, Jamarcus Russell is taken 1st overall by the Oakland Raiders. Cleveland expressed interest in Quinn; would he go at #3? Nope. It was later reported that the Cleveland management told Quinn they were going with tackle, Joe Thomas. Quinn was crestfallen as he wished to play for the team he rooted for, but it wasn’t meant to be.
There were many teams who had yet to find their franchise QB though they had invested high picks already at the QB position. Arizona had taken Matt Leinart the previous year, the Redskins were still developing Jason Campbell, and the Vikings were developing Tarvaris Jackson, a second round pick from the previous year. There was absolutely no way the Miami Dolphins would pass up a franchise quarterback. They had a new offensive minded head coach, Cam Cameron, and it was simply a match made in heaven. With the 9th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select Tedd Ginn, Jr. What? Who’s going to throw to Ginn? Later that weekend, Coach Cameron said that the fans would be excited to see Ginn on special teams as a returner. Apparently he didn’t get the memo that special teams players aren’t drafted in the first round, unless you are Oakland.
Then came the painful 2 and 1/2 hour tumble to #22. You may ask what I was doing after Reggie Nelson was taken at #21 by the Jaguars (though you also may question, “Why do I care?”). I’ll answer the latter first, you don’t (feel free to skip ahead). As for the former, I was bouncing off the walls, jumping up and down, and yelling at the top of my lungs. Why? Not because I wanted Quinn to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but rather I KNEW this was the spot where a team would trade up to get Quinn. I knew Jerry Jones would hold this bait out and reel in a big fish.
Enter the Browns. They initially offered their 2008 first round draft pick and their 2007 3rd round pick. Jerry wouldn’t pull the trigger as he knew the Cowboys needed a replacement for aging veteran Greg Ellis. Jerry stood firm and Cleveland blinked first. We received the 2008 first round draft pick and the 2007 2nd round pick. Long story short, we traded the 2nd round pick, 3rd, and a 5th to Eagles to draft Anthony Spencer. The 2008 pick became Felix Jones. By virtue of trading down four spots, we picked up two cornerstones to the Dallas Cowboys.
This is all ancient history, so why bring it up? While the Cowboys were on the clock making the above arrangements, Mel Kiper, “draft expert”, vociferously stated that we should absolutely draft Quinn to groom him to be the Cowboys QB of the future. He opined that Quinn was absolutely a better QB than Romo. It was at that point that I realized there wasn’t an Easter Bunny, Santa, or a Draft Expert. From then on, I only considered Kiper to be an encyclopedia. Tons of useful information about Borneo and plate tectonics, but if you are looking for life lessons to shape your future, he’s not the resource you want.
And so only 3 years later, Quinn is traded for a fullback (originally drafted in the seventh round), a 6th round pick in 2011, a conditional pick in 2012, and a Costco sized bag of Doritos. So as we sit down to 23 hours of draft infotainment in one month, please take the analysis of the experts with a grain of salt… unless your drinking margaritas, then feel free to salt up the rim of your glass.
Topics: Arizona, Brady Quinn, Cam Cameron, Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Drew Bledsoe, Jamarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Joe Thomas, Matt Leinert, Minnesota, NFL Draft, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Hillis, Redskins, Scott Mitchell, Seatle Seahawks, Tavaris Jackson, Tedd Ginn, Tony Romo, Vikings, Washinton