2011 Draft Part 3: Cowboys Split The Uprights Late

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Nov 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey (5) kicks the game-winning field goal against the New York Giants as time expires during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. The Cowboys defeated the Giants 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, mock draft experts are locking in on who the Cowboys should select in May’s draft. Mockers are growing confident – the combine provides a fresh set of measurables, and nothing breeds certainty like data.

Though the results of the 2011 combine are long forgotten, we do have three whole seasons of data with which to evaluate the Cowboys efforts in head coach Jason Garrett’s first draft as a principle figure in the war room.

Link – 2011 Draft, Rounds 1-3: Garrett Era Opens With Future HOFer?

Link – 2011 Draft, Rounds 4-6: Garrett Whiffs Drafting For Need

The final installment of this series examines the seventh round and rookie free agency. Here are the established rules for grading:

  • The draft is about identifying NFL-caliber talent; keeping and developing that talent is a separate discussion. So in grading these picks, we’re looking solely at what players accomplished 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 grade.
  • The level of investment matters. More is expected of a first-round pick, so the grading scale is tougher than for a fifth-round pick.

Here’s a birds-eye view of the Cowboys 2011 draft class. Notable undrafted free agents are included. Since the NFL condensed the draft from 12 rounds to seven in the mid ’90s, undrafted rookie free agents have become an important part of the offseason roster-building process and merit consideration as part of the overall class:

Cowboys 2011 Draft Class

 

Round

Pos Player Grade  

1

OT Tyron Smith A+ Pro Bowler

2

LB Bruce Carter B+ 2-year starter

3

RB DeMarco Murray A Pro Bowler

4

G David Arkin D Reserve player in Miami

5

CB Josh Thomas C+ Spot starter in Carolina

6

WR Dwayne Harris A Special Teams Ace

7

DT Josh Brent B+ Retired, former spot starter

7

FB Shawn Chapas C- Reserve player in Jacksonville

7

C Bill Nagy B- Free Agent, career derailed by injury

UDFA

LB Alex Albright B- Contributor, missed 2013 to injury

UDFA

K Dan Bailey A+ As reliable a kicker as there is in the league

 

Next up: Round 7 Picks

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