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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