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

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Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Nick Stephens (3) throws a pass as guard David Arkin (62) blocks Miami Dolphins defensive end Vaughn Martin (90) during the second quarter at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Round 4: G David Arkin, Missouri State

David Arkin never played a snap for the Dallas Cowboys. Today he is an active member of the Miami Dolphins roster, signed off the Cowboys practice squad in mid-2013, but he’s seen no game time for them either. Arkin is one of 12 fourth-round picks from the 2011 draft who we can classify as non-factors – either out of the league or yet to earn meaningful playing time (fewer than 100 snaps in a season, as measured by ProFootball Focus).

Here’s how the NFL’s 2011 fourth round breaks down, three years later:

4th Round Draft Picks, 2011

Starters

8

23.5%

Role Players

14

41.2%

Non Factors

12

35.3%

With 65 percent of fourth rounders in this draft eventually contributing as starters or rotational players, finding a contributor with this pick is a realistic expectation. With the failure rate at better than one in three, though, we shouldn’t be shocked when a pick doesn’t work out.

The Arkin selection looks bad when compared with the two pro bowl tight ends taken just a few picks after him – Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron and Denver’s Julius Thomas. But perhaps this is an example of what to expect when an organization drafts for need, instead of selecting the best player available. No one can say for certain that Arkin was a “need” pick, but the Cowboys were in desperate need of developing young guards in 2011, and pretty well set at tight end.

Then again, the Arkin pick looks great when compared to the Eagles first-round selection of Baylor guard Danny Watkins in this same draft. Watkins was released prior to the 2013 season. He, too, was snatched up by a Miami organization desperate for O line help following the Lifetime Channel drama involving starting O linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.

Today Arkin and Watkins – a fourth- and a first-rounder from the same draft – occupy the same space on the Miami Dolphin bench. Perhaps they’re both part of the same cautionary tale against drafting for need.

As a first-round assessment, Watkins grades out at an obvious F for the Eagles. As a fourth-round assessment of apparently similar talent, Arkin grades out better than that for the Cowboys. Different rounds, different expectations. That Arkin has hung around the league and never been outright cut says something about his apparent potential, but with 65 percent of fourth rounders contributing in some fashion, Arkin is a clear disappointment.

Grade: D  It seems no team wants to outright release Arkin, but no one wants to trust him with snaps either. Dallas needed a contributor here, but got a project that has yet to pan out.

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