As the final hours before the NFL Draft kicked off on May 8th, I feel comfortable in saying that I was not the only member of the Dallas Cowboys Nation that was sitting on proverbial pins and needles. The rumor mill that had Jerry and Company foregoing the need for defensive help and instead opting for Johnny Football had subsided in the days leading up to D-Day. However, a draft day morning scan of sports talk shows revealed that ESPN’s draft experts had decided that it was unlikely Dallas would be able to resist snatching up Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel after all if he were still on board when the Cowboys #16 pick arrived.
When the draft clock finally started ticking, I watched as team, after team, after team passed on Manziel. When Dallas’ pick arrived, I’m not ashamed to admit that I said a little prayer that the Dallas War Room would stick to their guns and avoid temptation. As it turned out, all the fretting and forecasting was for nothing as Dallas went for an offensive lineman of all things. Not exactly what I had hoped for with Alabama’s linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix still on the board, but not as goofy as picking Manziel would have been. Crisis averted!
For the most part the Cowboys seemed to draft with their heads instead of their spotlight hunting hearts. After the initial pick of offensive tackle Zack Martin from Notre Dame, they opted to select several players that have the potential to sure up, or at least add depth to a defense that was in dire straits in 2013.
In order to get Boise State’ Demarcus Lawrence to help fill a void at defensive end, Dallas made a deal with the devil…I mean the Washington Redskins…same thing, right? They gave up second and third round picks to move to the 34th spot in order to bring Lawrence into the fold. By taking seven defenders in the draft, albeit it five of them in the seventh round, Dallas has at least made an effort to help out a defense that finished at the bottom of the heap in 2013. Now we just have to hope that the majority of the new Cowboys can make an impression when training camp rolls around.
Aside from taking Martin with the 16th pick, the most surprising move from my vantage point had to be selecting wideout Devin Street from the Pittsburgh Panthers. Not to say that Street isn’t a talented receiver, but I’m still holding out some hope that Dwayne Harris will get a shot at more snaps in 2014. That being said, there is some logic in preserving him for special teams where his value can’t be overstated.
Since protecting quarterback Tony Romo is of the utmost importance, bringing in more O-line help isn’t a bad thing. However, I will admit that I would have rather seen Dallas opt for a pass rusher or stellar safety before they went down that path. The explanation given was that more help up front will not only give added protection to our $100 million dollar quarterback, it will also aid the Cowboys rushing attack.
Overall, It was nice that the Cowboys failed to give any fodder to the muckrakers that undoubtedly had their pencils sharpened and ready in the event that Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones decided to put a Star on the helmet of Johnny Manziel. Their disappointment was definitely my relief.