In a continuing series reviewing the Dallas Cowboys most recent drafts and who else was available, today the 2008 draft will be evaluated. The 2008 class was one of the better classes in recent years as all of the players are still in the league. The unfortunate part is that most likely only one will be with the team when the 2013 season starts this upcoming September.
Here is a summary of the Dallas Cowboys 2008 draft, and players that were available when the Cowboys were on the clock:
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.
While Jones has shown flashes of brilliance, he has never 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. Notable players selected after #22 include the following: Rashard Mendenhall – RB (23), Chris Johnson – RB (24)
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. Notable players selected after #25 include the following: Duane Brown – OT (26), Kenny Phillips – S (31), Brandon Flowers – CB (35), Jordy Nelson –WR (36), Matt Forte – RB (44), DeSean Jackson – WR (49), Calais Campbell – DE (50), Ray Rice – RB (55)
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. In one season with the Giants, Bennett nearly matched the receiving & touchdown output that he registered in four seasons with the Cowboys. Notable players selected after #61 include the following: Charles Godfrey – S (67), Jamaal Charles – RB (73), Jeremy Zuttah – G/C (83), Jermichael Finley – TE (91)
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. Detroit used this selection to pick Cliff Avril. Notable players selected after #92 include the following: Mario Manningham – WR (95), Thomas DeCoud – S (98), Tyvon Branch – S (100), Kory Licthensteiger – G/C (108), Red Bryant – DT (121)
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. Notable players selected after #122 include the following: Jacob Tamme – TE (127), Brandon Carr – CB (140)
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. Notable players selected after #143 include the following: Jerome Felton – FB (146), Mattew Slater – WR/ST (153), Carl Nicks – G (164)
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. Walden was then briefly with Kansas City and before being picked up by the Miami Dolphins and playing 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. Notable players selected after #167 include the following: Pierre Garcon – WR (205), Matt Flynn – QB (209), Peyton Hillis – RB (227), Justin Forsett – RB (233)
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. Notable players selected after #235 include the following: Danny Amendola –WR (undrafted), Davone Bess – WR (undrafted), BenJarvus Green-Ellis – RB (undrafted), Danny Woodhead –RB (undrafted), Kyle Arrington – CB (undrafted), Mike Tolbert – RB/FB (undrafted)
With the January 2007 departure of Bill Parcells a few weeks after the devastating playoff loss in Seattle, this draft class is one of the top three the team has had in the six years since. While it is disheartening that only one of these players will be with the team in 2013, at least the team selected players that were NFL caliber and still contributing still in the league. The unfortunate part is that the team has not had any consistency in the draft, which is a big part of the reason the team hasn’t shown any consistency on the field and has a winning percentage of about .500 over the last 15 years.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH