The NFL Draft is where teams build the core of their team. Success will typically follow the teams that have been able to put together a successful string of drafts in consecutive years. I have recently completed a series of articles that reviewed the Dallas Cowboys recent draft history (2008-2012). I now want to take time to review players the team missed out on and passed over in these drafts. This week, the missed opportunities of the 2012 draft will be evaluated
Here is a summary of the Dallas Cowboys 2012 draft, and players that were available when the Cowboy were on the clock:
1st Round – Morris Claiborne (Traded for 14th & 45th overall for 6th selection overall)
Claiborne looks to be a great selection, but the Cowboys original position in Round 1 was #14. Notable players that went after #14 include the following: Bruce Irvin (15), Kevin Zeitler (27), Doug Martin (31), Janoris Jenkins (39), Cordy Glenn (41)
2nd Round – - (45th overall; combined with 14th overall to move up in Round 1)
This selection was sent to St. Louis to move up to the 6th pick overall. Notable players that went after #45 include the following: Bobby Wagner (47), Kendall Reyes (49), Peter Konz (55), Lavonte David (58), Kelechi Osemele (60), Casey Hayward (62), Russell Wilson (75), Demario Davis (77)
3rd Round – - Tyrone Crawford (81st selection overall)
Crawford was a developmental selection that was used in the DE rotation. Notable players that went after #81 include the following: Mohamed Sanu (83), Nick Foles (88), T.Y. Hilton (92), Chris Givens (96), Travis Benjamin (100), Alameda Ta’amu (109)
4th Round – - Kyle Wilber (113th selection overall)
Wilber was selected with the hopes he could one day fill Anthony Spencer’s shoe as a 3-4 outside linebacker. At this point in time, that looks to be doubtful. Other notable players selected after #113 include the following: Nick Toon (122), Brandon Boykin (123)
4th Round – - Matt Johnson (135th selection overall)
Johnson was basically battling injury issues his entire rookie season and remains a question mark heading into the future. Other players selected after #135 and prior to #152 have not made their mark as of yet.
5th Round – - Danny Coale (152nd selection overall)
Coale was a practice squad until an injury forced him onto the injured reserve. Notable players selected after #152 include the following: Chris Rainey (159), Vick Ballard (170), Alfred Morris (173)
6th Round – - James Hanna (186th selection overall)
Hanna looks to have upside potential as a pass receiving threat if the coaching staff can devise ways to get him the ball. Other players selected after #186 and prior to #222 have not made their mark as of yet.
7th Round – - Caleb McSurdy (222nd selection overall)
McSurdy suffered an injury during training camp and was placed on the injured reserve list. Other notable players selected after #222 include the following: Alfonzo Dennard (224), J.R. Sweezy (225), Bryce Brown (229), Vontaze Burfict (undrafted)
So while the Cowboys may have found a good foundation piece in Claiborne, the team definitely missed out on having the opportunity to select from a very talented pool of players in Round 2. In recent drafts, the Cowboys found both Sean Lee and Bruce Carter in this round, and the salary these players make on their rookie deals is very salary cap friendly, especially to a team like the Cowboys that is already over the 2013 salary cap. Trading up for a particular player is a strategy that should be for a team that is one, two, or three pieces away from serious contention. This Cowboys team just has too many holes that need to be filled and not enough resources on how to fill them.
Besides Dez Bryant, the team basically has a bunch of undrafted free agents as his receiving targets. Besides Tyron Smith, the offensive line has late round draft picks or undrafted free agents. I will continue this series next week in looking at whom else was available for the 2011 NFL Draft.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH