Cowboys Rebuild On Par With Seattle, Pending 2014 Draft

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Sept 16, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) rests on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Those four drafts built the core of a winner, and the two subsequent drafts in 2012 and 2013 helped crown the Seahawks Superbowl champs.

Look at how the Cowboys drafts compare: 

Four-Year Draft Breakdown: Pro Bowlers, Quality Starters, Contributors

Seattle Seahawks

Dallas Cowboys

Pro Bowlers

Round

Pro Bowlers

Round

2008

NONE

na

2010

WR Dez Bryant

1

2009

C Max Unger

2

2011

OT Tyron Smith

1

2010

OT Russell Okung

1

RB DeMarco Murray

3

S Earl Thomas

1

2012

???

na

S Kam Chancellor

5

2013

???

na

2011

CB Richard Sherman

5

Quality Starters

Round

Quality Starters

Round

2008

DT Red Bryant

4

2010

LB Sean Lee

2

2009

NONE

na

S Barry Church

UDFA

2010

WR Golden Tate

3

2011

LB Bruce Carter

2

WR Doug Baldwin

UDFA

2012

OG Ronald Leary

UDFA

2011

LB KJ Wright

3

2013

C Travis Frederick

1

CB Byron Maxwell

6

WR Terrance Williams

3

Contributors

Round

Contributors

Round

2008

NONE

na

2010

NONE

na

2009

NONE

na

2011

WR Dwayne Harris

6

2010

CB Walter Thurmond

4

2012

CB Morris Claiborne

1

TE Anthony McCoy

6

LB Kyle Wilber

4

2011

OT James Carpenter

1

TE James Hannah

6

LB Malcom Smith

7

2013

TE Gavin Escobar

2

S JJ Wilcox

3

LB Devonte Holloman

6

It’s true the Seahawks drafted five pro bowlers to the Cowboys’ three, but only two of those players – safties Earl Thomas and Cam Chancellor – made the pro bowl before the team’s breakout 2012 season.

Would anyone be shocked if linebacker Sean Lee made his first pro bowl in 2014? Or safety Barry Church, who many thought was snubbed this year after leading all NFL defensive backs in tackles? After watching center Travis Frederick play like a veteran as a rookie, is it crazy to think he’ll play like a pro-bowler in his second year?

At the same point in their five-year climb back to relevance, it’s not unreasonable to think the Cowboys’ number of pro bowl draftees could match or exceed that of this year’s Superbowl champs. The top-end talent over those four rebuilding drafts – pro bowlers and starters – is, at worst, comparable.

But depth wins divisions, and it’s impossible to tell what kind of depth Dallas has cultivated over the past three seasons. Depth requires development, development requires experience, and experience requires game time. A lot of young players have seen game time over the past two years; how they’ve developed is hard to quantify. One thing is certain – in his efforts to rebuild, Garrett has had fewer resources than Carroll.

Seattle GM John Schneider amassed 39 draft picks over the past four seasons; in the same time, Garrett’s GM has had just 28 draft picks. Wanna build a winner, Jerry? Hoard and protect draft picks like the premium organizational assets they are, then spend them on players who fit Garrett’s philosophy.

Because Garrett’s philosophy at its core is really no different from Carroll’s: Draft smart, hard-nosed players who love the game of football, then drop them in a highly competitive environment and see who rises to the top.

Aikman was in such an environment once. Despite his first-round pedigree, Jimmy Johnson made him beat out Steve Walsh for the title of franchise quarterback. Competition. Guess you lose your eye for that kind of thing after a few years in the booth with a TV producer in your ear telling you what to say…

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  • P.j. Doyle

    Hey, that 7-9 Seattle team made it to the playoffs and beat the Saints. They also made progress. Now look at them. What has this coaching staff done. We are the laughing stock of the NFL and I’m tired of it and anybody who defends this coaching staff that’s made us sit and watch three consecutive years of 8-8.

    • John

      That 7-9 team that beat the Saints in the playoffs went 7-9 the next year. For a guy who appears to measure progress solely in wins and losses, not sure how you can ignore that…

      • Fried Toast

        If you look at the larger picture, you can see the arc of the Seahawks landing in the Super Bowl, eventually putting a whooping on the best offense in the history of the NFL. Not sure how you can ignore that (when the article itself was trying to point out similarities in the team’s wins).

        I disagree with the article, however. What was behind the change in Seattle? The writer said, “The answer is not in the philosophy – it’s in the talent”. I say it’s both. Pete Carroll & John Schneider came in and gutted the Hawks. Absolutely cleaned house. They rebuilt with a new philosophy and young roster- what do we have now? Second youngest roster in the NFL at the moment? Somewhere along there, if not second – very young. Is that similar to what the Cowboys have been doing the past few years? I’ve not gotten the sense that Dallas did anything like that at all, so I’d say the similarities end with their team records.

        One of the big differences is ownership- our owner supports the coach & GM. Your owner runs the coach & GM. Huge difference and I think it’s *the* largest problem you have (and will continue to have as long as JJ is in control). My guess is that you’re stuck at 8-8 until there’s more of a shake-up (starting at the top).

        • John

          You can see the arc now, because they’ve won. It’s no surprise you can’t see the Cowboys arc, because their record hasn’t changed. Yet. But TV experts didn’t extol the virtues of Carroll’s philosophy until it resulted in wins, and it didn’t result in wins until the ‘Hawks had amassed the talent. The larger point here is TV expert analysis is more reactive than it is predictive, and we do well to challenge ourselves to see past it…

  • SmartThinking

    The ‘culture’ you write about Garrett building in Dallas has, pretty much, been a failure after three seasons. Certainly, nothing’s changed in the win-loss department. As for the coaching staff, we have more of them than any other team in the league and still, nothing changes. Plus, they run to take some of the worst jobs in the league just to get out from under this team’s owner. Our cap is a joke. Our best players are either too old to trade or coming off surgeries or reconstruction and, in truth, are question marks regarding their potential performance next season. Oh. Yeah. We’ve got a megalomaniacal owner/GM who is very possibly certifiable, particularly after the legion of mistakes and judgment errors he’s made.

    I could go on but what’s the point.

    I think Aikman was dead on on every point about this organization that he made. Could he fix it a la the Denver model? Absolutely. Will he? No. Why? Because Jones can’t suffer the thought of someone else other than himself coming into this organization and pulling it by its bootstraps back into the winner’s circle.

  • Earl Robertson

    It comes down to this draft, D-Cord adjusting to strength of players, and if they run ball more! Those 3 things will make all the difference

    • John

      This draft will be huge. In 2012, the year the ‘Hawks broke out for 11-5, they hit paydirt on 7 of 10 draft picks, including the franchise quarterback in round 3. That just doesn’t happen very often. If the Cowboys do half as well in the 2014 draft, and pick up 3 or 4 good contributors, they could be every bit the suprise team the 2012 Seahawks were…

  • Chesney Blair

    Now you crunched up the numbers I am at belief the Cowboys will win the super bowl in two years. As the last three years of great record versus winning teams represent we are an inch close here and there. Really though, when are we going to admit that everything is completely wrong, ditch all the old-timers, and start from scratch with real gm, coach and team? I have to say this Romo won’t win shitte.

  • Chesney Blair

    Garrett is going to get the kick in the arse he deserves at the end of this season. I hope you Romo supporters don’t make excuses when he unfolds again. The guy can’t win.

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    I get tired of hearing about how the coaching is the problem with the Cowboys and that changes should be made. Changes are made every year to the extent the team has no identify or philosophy. Fans who post about firing the coaches either don’t say who should be hired to effect necessary changes or they list coaches who wouldn’t work for Jerry Jones. The constant changing of coaches has been a major problem and that can be attributed to Jerry Jones. I say stop the coaching carousel and allow Garrett to choose his own coaches. It’s worth a try as continuing the coaching carousel obviously isn’t the answer.

    • Chesney Blair

      The constant changes of coaches? JG had his run of things his first couple of years. Do you remember when we couldn’t score for anything in the red zone, and made idiotic decisions like kneeling before every half time despite having Romo?

      We will see how this unfolds.

      • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

        I don’t think you will find any mention of the head coach in my post. There are more coaches on the team than just the head coach.