In a continuing series reviewing the Dallas Cowboys most recent draft history, today the 2008 will be evaluated. The next few sentences will lightly summarize the analysis of the past few articles.
The articles “A Quick Look Back at the Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft” , “A Closer Look at the Dallas Cowboys 2011 Draft”, “Another Look at the Dallas Cowboys 2010 Draft”, and “A Review of the Dallas Cowboys 2009 “Roy Williams” 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 whom 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 team had eight selections in the 2011 draft 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 stars 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. With twelve selections in 2009, this draft produced two rotation players, with the remaining ten either out of the NFL entirely or barely hanging on to a roster spot somewhere else in the league.
Here is a summary of the Dallas Cowboys 2008 draft:
1st Round – - Felix Jones (22th selection overall)
This pick was acquired from the Cleveland Browns during the 2007 draft. The Cowboys sent Cleveland it’s 2007 first rounder for Cleveland’s second rounder in 2007 and their first in 2008. The Browns used this pick to select Brady Quinn.
During the 2007 season and the 2008 draft process, Jones interest in an Arkansas running back was well documented. However, the back that was thought to be the object of Jerry’s desire was Darren McFadden. Instead of McFadden, the Cowboys got the back Jerry Jones said he coveted in Felix Jones. Jones has shown flashes of brilliance, however, have not ever been able to sustain it or stay healthy. Jones is a free agent this offseason, and is probably best suited as a second or third back in a running back corp.
1st Round – - Mike Jenkins (25st selection overall)
The Cowboys came into this draft wanting to select a corner to play opposite of Terrance Newman. When the top rated corners with first round grades started coming off the board (Leodis McKelvin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Aqib Talib), the Cowboys decided they needed to move up in the first round to make sure they got one for themselves.
The Cowboys sent their 1st, 5th, and 7th round selections to Seattle to move up three spots from 28 to select Jenkins at 25. Jenkins has played well for the Cowboys, and is definitely a solid second or third option in a cornerback rotation in this league. With Jenkins set to hit free agency and the Cowboy salary cap concerns, its likely Jenkins will play somewhere else in 2013.
2nd Round – - Martellus Bennett (61st overall)
The Cowboys were excited about the potential that Bennett had displayed in college and his physical attributes. He turned out to be a very good run blocker for the team, and showed good skill in the passing game. Unfortunately for the team, the Cowboys never used Bennett to the fullest and Bennett left as a free agent to the division rival New York Giants for similar money that the Cowboys were offering. The Cowboys could have moved Bennett for a first round draft pick at the trade deadline of 2009 to the Cincinnati Bengals, but declined. The Bengals then proceeded to use their 2010 first rounder on TE Jermaine Gresham. Despite his various athletic talents, the Cowboys offensive coaching staff could not devise ways to use Bennett’s skills in the passing game. In one season with the Giants, Bennett nearly matched the receiving & touchdown output that he registered in four seasons with the Cowboys.
3rd Round – - (92nd overall)
This selection was traded to the Detroit Lions for the 111th pick (4th round) and a fourth round selection in 2009.
4th Round – - Tashard Choice (122th selection overall)
Choice was the “third” back of the rotation for the majority of his time in Dallas. He was released by the Cowboys in the middle of the 2011 season. He was briefly with the Washington Redskins that season before being signed by the Buffalo Bills, where he still plays today.
5th Round – - Orlando Scandrick (143th selection overall)
Scandrick showed great speed at the scouting combine, but dropped in the draft due to character concerns. While spending some time on the outside, Scandrick has primarily been used as the team’s slot cover corner. Scandrick signed an extension in 2011, and is the lone member of this class likely to be with the team in 2013.
6th Round – - Erik Walden (167th selection overall)
Walden was waived his rookie season by the team prior to the final roster cut down to 53. The Kansas City Chiefs signed him off of waivers the day after and he remained there until being cut in late November. Walden would then be picked up by the Miami Dolphins and played the remainder of 2008 & 2009 in Miami. Walden has been with the Green Bay Packers for 2010-2012, and has developed into a fine contributor for that team.
7th Round – - (235th selection overall)
This selection was included in the trade in Round 1 to Seattle to move up three spots to select Mike Jenkins.
So in review, the Cowboys with six actual draft selections got the following:
Five rotation players in Jones, Jenkins, Bennett, Choice and Scandrick
One player who never made the roster, but who is contributing on another team
This class was actually decent as all of the selections are actually still playing in the NFL and will either have or will have defined roles on their team. It’s unfortunate that they have all (with the exception of Scandrick) moved on (or will be moving on) and contributing for other teams.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH