Cowboys 2011 Draft, Part 2: Garrett Whiffs Drafting For Need

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Aug 15, 2012; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys guard David Arkin (62) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

It’s mock draft season, a time of lusty speculation regarding who the Cowboys should pursue when they’re on the clock May 8 in the NFL’s annual college player crap shoot. Instead of offering semi-substantive guesses about who will be good this year, let’s take a breath and look back at who was good three years ago.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made his debut as a principle figure in the Dallas war room in 2011, and we’ve got three seasons of data with which to grade his rookie effort at evaluating college talent.

The first three rounds of that draft were graded here. This column will grade rounds four through six. As with any objective grading scale, there are rules:

  • The draft is about identifying NFL-caliber talent; keeping and developing that talent is a separate discussion. So we’re looking solely at what players accomplished the past three seasons in the NFL, not necessarily for the Cowboys.
  • Who was left on the board matters, so players the Cowboys passed on in any given round influence the overall grade.
  • The level of investment matters. The likelyhood of indentifying NFL-caliber talent wanes with each round that passes. More is expected of a first rounder, so the grading scale is tougher than that of a fifth-round pick.
  • Need is tricky. It’s hard enough to draft talent when open to drafting any position on the field. Narrowing the focus to just a few positions of need makes finding talent even more difficult. The draft is a gamble, and gambling can be fun; gambling recklessly is stupid. No points for need.

Defensive tackle Josh Brent is included for the purpose of grading this draft class as a whole. The Cowboys picked up Brent in the seventh round of the 2010 Supplemental Draft, thus forfeiting their 2011 seventh-round pick. In short, Dallas knowingly used a 2011 seventh-round draft asset in acquiring Brent, so it makes sense for him to be part of the discussion.

Notable undrafted free agents are included as well. Since the NFL draft condensed from 12 rounds to seven rounds in the mid ‘90s, UDFAs have become an important part of the offseason roster-building process, and merit discussion as part of the draft class.

The next three pages analyze picks four through six; first, here is a view of the Cowboys 2011 draft class:

Cowboys 2011 Draft Class







Tyron Smith




Bruce Carter




DeMarco Murray




David Arkin




Josh Thomas




Dwayne Harris




Josh Brent




Shawn Chapas




Bill Nagy




Alex Albright




Dan Bailey


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  • ctcowboy1968

    Arkin was a huge miss. All the talk of him being a nasty T in a lower division of college ball. Cowboys dip down into D2 players to much. To risky. Those players can be had as UDFAs. Arkin was a waste. Just like that OL we picked from Ball State who never played and OAO. Don’t try to outsmart everyone. Now Harris was an excellent pick. He is a playmaker. Energy, determination, difference maker. We need more like Harris on this team. To bad we couldn’t hang on to Thomas.

    • John

      Right? If the team had been able to hang on to Thomas, maybe his development means they don’t trade a second-round pick the next year to move up and draft Claiborne… Instead they go with Thomas, Carr and Scandrick, and they have an extra second-round pick on the roster…