QUICK OUT: The Giant Difference

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Tough week for Dallas Cowboy fans – the media hype surrounding Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis is in full swing with nothing but 24-hour news and highlights on the Giants (and that other team, oh yeah, the Patriots).

While it’s great in one sense that the NFC East – a division many pundits called the weakest in the NFL this season – is represented in the big game, it has left many Cowboy fans wondering what might have been.  The Cowboys were literally one Tony Romo overthrow from eliminating the Giants in week 14.  That doesn’t necessarily mean our Cowboys would be representing the NFC in Indianapolis had Miles Austin caught that ball – the weaknesses on this team are too glaring and too numerous to believe they would have made a similar run. But, it wouldn’t have been the Giants.

So, how is it that twice in the last 5 years (2008-2012) that the Giants have appeared in a Super Bowl when it has been 16 years since the Cowboys made an appearance?  It’s a familiar refrain, but I think it relates directly back to our GM, or lack thereof.  To support that point, let’s take a look at just the last 4 drafts between the Cowboys and Giants.

First of all, coming off their upset win in the 2008 Super Bowl, the Giants had the 31st pick in the 2008 draft. That was followed up by having the 29th pick in 2009, the 15th pick in 2010, and the 19th pick in 2011.  The Cowboys on the other hand had the 22nd pick in 2008 – 9 spots better than NY, no first or second round pick in 2009 due to trades orchestrated by our “GM” – their first pick that year was 69th (3rd round), the 24th pick in 2010 (9 spots behind NY), and the 9th pick in 2011 (10 spots better than the G-men).    So, two out of the four years we had a significantly higher draft pick than the Giants.  But, it’s not just about the first pick. Let’s look at what the teams were able to get in the first 4 rounds of each of those drafts with the logic being that most players picked in those rounds typically make the team and become contributors.  Beyond the 4th round, it happens but it is a much longer shot.

2011 Pos Pick(Rnd) 2012  Projection
   Tyron Smith T

9 (1)

   Bruce Carter LB

40 (2)

Possible starter replacing Bradie James
   DeMarco Murray RB

71 (3)

   David Arkin G

110 (4)

Possible starter replacing Kyle Kosier
2010 Pos


2012  Projection
   Dez Bryant WR


   Sean Lee LB


   Akwasi Owusu-Ansah DB


Cut 2011 (Jaguars)
2009 Pos


2012  Projection
   Jason Williams LB


Cut 2010 (Panthers)
   Robert Brewster T


   Stephen McGee QB


   Victor Butler DE


Possible starter replacing A. Spencer
   Brandon Williams DE


Cut 2010 (Cardinals)
2008 Pos


2012  Projection
   Felix Jones RB


Backup (split time w/Murray)
   Mike Jenkins CB


   Martellus Bennett TE


Backup if re-signed
   Tashard Choice RB


Cut 2011 (Bills)

So, let’s recap the Cowboys results – pretty solid 2011 and 2010 drafts with 4 sure starters and 2 likely starters next year out of 7 total picks.  The disasters still haunting us are the 2009 and 2008 drafts.  With 9 total picks, we have one starter next year (Jenkins – 2 if you count the fact that Felix Jones was a starter and will still see significant playing time), one potential starter at LB, a blocking TE that may not be re-signed in free agency, 3 cut players, and 2 relatively certain backups.

Now, let’s compare the Giants over the same time frame on the next page.