In a continuing series reviewing the Dallas Cowboys most recent drafts, today the 2009 “Roy Williams” draft will be evaluated. However, before getting right into this review, a summary should be made as to how the three most draft classes look as of early 2013.
The articles “A Quick Look Back at the Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft” , “A Closer Look at the Dallas Cowboys 2011 Draft”, and “Another Look at the Dallas Cowboys 2010 Draft” provided evaluation and review of the selections the Cowboys made in these recent drafts. The 2012 draft provided the Cowboys one player (Claiborne) that was a starter and has a bright future (at the cost of two premium draft picks). Unfortunately, the rest of the draft class looks filled with question marks and disappointments.
The Cowboys in the 2011 Draft had eight selections and found three foundation pieces (Smith, Carter, and Murray) and a fourth player that was a contributor that showed future potential (Harris). Unfortunately, the other half of the draft class is no longer with the team two years later.
With seven selections the 2010 group produced two absolute studs for the team (Bryant and Lee) and two rotation players (Lissemore and Brent), while also choosing three players that are no longer with the team
Here is a summary of the Dallas Cowboys 2009 draft:
1st Round – (20th selection overall)
This selection was the main piece in the infamous “Roy Williams” trade with the Detroit Lions. The Lions used this selection to draft TE Brandon Pettigrew.
2nd Round – - (51st selection overall)
The Cowboys traded this pick to the Buffalo Bills for the 75th and 110th picks.
3rd Round – -Jason Williams (69th overall)
Williams was selected early in the third round due to his great workout numbers and speed he displayed prior to the draft. Williams was released by the team midway through his second season with the team and picked up by Carolina to finish the 2010 season. Williams has mainly played for Carolina in 2011 and 2012 with a brief stint mixed in with the Philadelphia Eagles.
3rd Round – -Robert Brewster (75th overall)
Brewster turned out to be another poor offensive line selection by the team as he was released midway through his second season in October 2010. He was added to the practice squad to finish out the season. Brewster did not play for team in 2011, and spent the 2012 season with the Kansas City Command of the AFL.
4th Round – - Stephen McGee (101th selection overall)
McGee was a developmental quarterback who sadly never ended up developing. After investing three seasons of resources into the player, the Cowboys decided to part ways by releasing him to get the roster to the 53 player limit to start the season this past September. McGee did not get picked up by another team for the 2012 season.
4th Round – - Victor Butler (110th selection overall)
Butler has been the best player the Cowboys selected in this draft. He has provided depth as a rotation player at the outside linebacker position for the team and is used primarily in pass rushing downs and distances. Butler was given opportunities during the 2012 season to see if he could provide more than just pass rushing, but the results were disappointing. Butler is a free agent this offseason and his return looks to be in doubt as the team converts to a 4-3 defensive scheme.
4th Round – - Brandon Williams (120th selection overall)
Williams was with the team for two seasons before being released in August 2011. Williams has since spent time with the Arizona Cardinals.
5th Round – -DeAngelo Smith (143rd selection overall)
Smith was released during final roster cuts his rookie year. Smith has subsequently bounced around the league with the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and New York Jets. Smith has not been part of an active roster since September 2010.
5th Round – -Michael Hamlin (166th selection overall)
Hamlin was released by the Cowboys in October of his second season. He has spent some time with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2010) and Indianapolis Colts (2011). Smith did play for a team in the 2012 season and was out of football.
5th Round – -David Buehler (172nd selection overall)
Buehler was a “workout wonder” at the combine and put up great numbers for a kicker and had a big strong leg. As a rookie, Buehler was the team’s kickoff specialist while Nick Folk handled field goal duties. In 2010, Buehler had the job to himself, but was very erratic converting on only 24 of 32 attempts. In 2011, the team brought in Dan Bailey to handle the field goals, while Buehler went back to his role of kickoff specialist. Once Bailey showed the teams he was able to handle the kickoffs as well, Buehler was released after the season and did not play in 2012.
6th Round – - Stephen Hodge (197th selection overall)
Hodge was a player who the Cowboys had high hopes could become a special teams ace for the team. The team selected him knowing he had knee issues but had hoped he would overcome them. Unfortunately, he had micro fracture procedures on both knees, which has most likely ended his career. Hodge was released in November 2010 after reaching an injury settlement.
6th Round – - John Phillips (208th selection overall)
Phillips has been a rotation player for the Cowboys playing behind Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett. Once Bennett left as a free agent in 2012, Phillips moved up the depth chart to the second tight end spot. Phillips has shown decent ability as a blocker and pass catcher. Entering free agency this spring, the Cowboys may let him leave and find his replacement in the draft. The team also has James Hanna on the roster that was selected in the 2012 draft. Hanna has displayed pass catching ability, but does not bring a lot in terms of blocking.
7th Round – - Mike Mickens (227th selection overall)
Mickens was released at the final roster cut down after getting burned all through training camp. He was briefly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being signed off the Cowboys practice squad in early November. Mickens was released towards the end of the month and spent the balance of the season with the Cincinnati Bengals on their practice squad. Mickens has played in Canada with the Calgary Stampede for the 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons.
7th Round – - Manuel Johnson (220th selection overall)
Johnson was a player the Cowboys hoped would develop into a slot receiver for the team. He spent the majority of his time with the team on the practice squad while being active for two games in the 2010 season. The Cowboys released Johnson in 2011 before getting the roster to 53 in August.
So in review, the Cowboys with twelve actual draft selections got the following:
Two rotation players in Butler and Phillips
Roy Williams to be the future star receiver opposite T.O. (that did not pan out and Williams has already stated that his playing days are over)
The rest of this class is either out of the league or struggling to hang on a roster spot
This class was immediately called a “special teams” draft, which is just terrible to hear if you follow a team that puts out that kind of statement. You just can’t “miss” on an entire draft, which is what the team did and the team’s depth has paid for management’s poor decision making during this year’s draft process. The Cowboys maneuvered around the draft board, but missed out on players that could have helped while selecting a bunch of players who could not compete at the NFL level. Next week this series will reach its conclusion when the 2008 draft is evaluated.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH