Analysis of 2006 Dallas Cowboys Draft Class

By: Joe D.

We often hear it takes three years to determine whether a draft was indeed a “good” draft.  I wasn’t here last year, so I will cover 2006 today, and later in the week, 2007.  At the top of every draft, you have your can’t miss prospects like Jamarcus Russell, Charles Rogers, and Ryan Leaf.  Draft grades are given Sunday night and some fans are dancing in the street.  Even those fans who’s team got an F can look forward to the prospects disproving all of the experts with their play on Sundays.  All teams SHOULD get an incomplete immediately after the draft, but they don’t.  So let’s look back at the 2006 Cowboys draft class to see whether the grades given at the time were even close (CBS Sports gave Dallas a B-, USA Today gave 2 our of 4 stars, and Sports Illustrated gave the Cowboys a C+).  Also, keeping in mind that it isn’t about who you take, but rather who you didn’t take (take Sam Bowie, please).

1st round Bobby Carpenter at 18

Pro-Bowl: No

Starter: No

Still on the team: Yes

Player(s) you could have had instead:  Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Nick Mangold

Analysis:  Cromartie is a questionable character player who avoided tackles in 2009.  Holmes is a good WR, but is a #2 at best.  Drafting Williams would have been redundant considering Barber and Jones a productive duo.  Mangold is a good center and would play left guard, or force Gurode to move to guard.

2010 20/20 hindsight grade: C+

Analysis:  Bobby Carpenter is a solid nickel contributor and could be a starter on a team with less talent.  He may be a square peg, but that isn’t his fault that he was drafted by a team with round holes.  While there was some talent available that would start on the Cowboys, the players would not fill a glaring hole.

2nd round Anthony Fasano at 53rd overall (original pick 49)

Pro-Bowl: No

Starter: Yes, for the Dolphins

Still on the team: No

Player(s) you could have had instead: Marcus McNeil, Devin Hester, Maurice Jones-Drew

2010 20/20 hindsight grade: D for the Cowboys, but overall a B

Analysis: While with the Cowboys, Fasano was better known for his drops than his touchdown receptions.  While he was a solid blocker, he was traded to the Dolphins for a fourth round pick.  For the Dolphins in two seasons he has logged 65 catches and 9 touchdowns.  He also has been described as the best blocking tight end in the league.  Obviously the Cowboys would be better served to have a young tackle prospect or an amazing return man, but the pick wasn’t an awful pick.

3rd round Jason Hatcher at 92nd overall (original pick 80)

Pro-Bowl: No

Starter: No

Still on the team: Yes

Player(s) you could have had instead: Freddie Keiaho, Owen Daniels, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall

2010 20/20 hindsight grade: C+

Analysis: Hatcher is a productive backup.  While he is not a B- player, being drafted in the 3rd round improves his grade.  Gostkowski is effectively kicking in New England, but drafting a kicker in the 3rd round will get most GM’s fired.  Folk played as effectively until he imploded in 2009.  Brandon Marshall is a productive grease fire.  Under the tutelage of Terrell Owens, the team may have been explosive, just like diarrhea can be.  Messy, too messy.

4th round Skyler Green at 125th overall

Pro-Bowl: No

Starter: No

Still on the team: No

Player(s) you could have had instead: Elvis Dumervil, Willie Colon

2010 20/20 hindsight grade: F

Analysis: I don’t think Dumervil would be effective in the 3-4 defense other than as a situational pass rusher.  Colon would contribute and help solidify if not add depth to the offensive line.  Either way, this was a throw away pick.

5th round Pat Watkins at 138th overall

Pro-Bowl:

Starter:

Still on the team:

Player(s) you could have had instead: No one noteworthy between this pick and the next pick

2010 20/20 hindsight grade: B-

Analysis: Watkins isn’t a great safety, but he is a good special teams contributor and has been a warm body to occupy space in center field when called upon.  It wasn’t a great pick, but he is still on the team.

6th round Montavious Stanley at 182nd overall

Pro-Bowl:

Starter:

Still on the team:

Player(s) you could have had instead: Antoine Bethea

2010 20/20 hindsight grade: F

Analysis: Montavious gets the tourist award.  In four years he has played for six teams: Dallas, Jacksonville twice, St. Louis, Atlanta, and New Orleans.  He has zero starts in the past 2 years, but has logged 53 tackles in the last 3 years.  Bethea averages 80ish tackles per year and is a solid player.  At  the very least, he would have been a better option than Watkins.

7th round Pat McQuistan at 211th overall

Pro-Bowl: No

Starter: No

Still on the team: Yes

Player(s) you could have had instead: Cortland Finnegan

2010 20/20 hindsight grade: B+

Analysis: McQuistan provided depth on the o-line.  While in the game, he has been less than impressive.  He is a warm body and plays better then a 7th round pick when called upon.  Finnegan is a surprise just like Jay Ratliff.  I don’t blame Jerry for not drafting either him or Colston, but just like Jay Ratliff, it is great when you find that gem in the rough.  Finnegan is a tenacious cornerback.  Unfortunately, the Cowboys traded for the wrong Titans cornerback.

7th round EJ Whitley at 224th overall

Pro-Bowl: No

Starter: No

Still on the team: No.

Player(s) you could have had instead: Marques Colston

2010 20/20 hindsight grade: F

Analysis:  Another wasted pick, but the Cowboys were in good company as many 7th round picks don’t make the team.

Final analysis: The perfect draft would have been Nick Mangold in the first, Marcus McNeil in the 2nd, Brandon Marshall in the 3rd, Elvis Dumervil in the 4th, Watkins in the 5th, Antoine Bethea in the 6th, and Cortland Finnegan and Marques Colston in the 7th.  We live in the real world though.  Marshall is a pill in the locker room, Dumervil is too small to DE in the 3-4 and while he is a very good pass rush specialist, we can’t predict how he would do as an OLB.  When creating a perfect draft, you only have one of your chose players listed, it is not a good sign.

Final grade based on the misses, the 4 players still left on the team (two of which were day two players):  C-, maybe a D+ if grading on a curve.

Topics: Antoine Bethea, Antonio Cromartie, Bobby Carpenter, Brandon Marshall, Cortland Finnegan, Cowboys, Dallas, Deangelo Williams, Devin Hester, Ej Whitley, Elvis Dumervil, Fasano, Freddie Keiaho, Jason Hatcher, Leon Washington, Marcus Mcneil, Marques Colston, Maurice Jones-drew, Montavious Stanley, Nick Mangold, Owen Daniels, Pat McQuistan, Pat Watkins, Santonio Holmes, Skyler Green, Stephen Gostkowski, Willie Colon

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