Since the NFL changed the draft to 7 rounds back in 1994, the Cowboys have drafted at least 5 defensive players in 7 of those drafts. This year was no exception, except that the Cowboys selected 5 players in 7 picks.
It was no huge secret to Dallas Cowboy fans that Jerry Jones was very displeased with the way his defense played in the 2011 season, especially in the last 6 games.
Along with 3 games that the Cowboys had a huge lead on, only to allow the opponent to come back, and win.
Here is a breakdown to the players selected, and how I feel they will contribute to this team in 2012 ..
1st round ( 6th overall pick ) Morris Claiborne CB, LSU : After the release of Terence Newman, and the signing of Brandon Carr in March, the Boys still weren’t 100% satisfied with their lineup. Mike Jenkins is a good player, but tends to find ways to get injured, and misses a game or 3. Claiborne can play either right or left cornerback, and so can Carr, this gives Dallas an elite starter on day 1.
3rd round ( 81st overall pick ) Tyrone Crawford DE, Boise State : After surrendering their 2nd round pick to the Rams to move up to take Claiborne, the Cowboys could only sit back and watch players fall off the board. Crawford has a high motor, but he is extremely raw, playing 1 year at Boise State, and worse, he is 6′-4″ 275 lbs. Not your typical size for a 3-4 ( 5 technique ) defensive end position. In other words, Crawford is basically a project, and will need time to develop, and add at least 10-20 lbs. * Personally, I do not like this pick, I think the Cowboys should have been finding away to get back into the 2nd round selecting a player like Center Peter Konz, or if they wanted a 3-4 Defensive End, Kendall Reyes or Devon Still, players that are NFL ready *
4th round (a) ( 113th overall pick ) Kyle Wilber OLB, Wake Forest : I am assuming Wilber was selected to possibly replace Anthony Spencer in 2013. The knock on Wilber is that he needs to add strength, and since he has 3-4 experience as a defensive end moving to outside linebacker, he could become a starter for this team next season.
4th round (b) ( 135th overall pick ) Matt Johnson SS, Eastern Washington : You must be a very good scout to know any information on this player. Johnson recorded 2 interceptions in each of his first 2 games he played in before suffering a biceps injury last season. The coaching staff and scouts must see something in him they really love especially selecting an unknown player this high in the draft. This remains to be seen.
5th round ( 152nd overall pick ) Danny Coale WR, Virginia Tech : Coale is considered as a ” slot ” receiver that the Cowboys may be looking at as a Wes Welker type player. Coale, 6′-0″ 201 lbs., will most likely compete with the likes of Kevin Ogletree, Andre Holmes, Raymond Radway, Dwayne Harris, and possibly a free agent added later on. There is something to this Coale kid, and he was even a part time punter in high school and at Virginia Tech, he could turn into something special.
6th round ( 186th overall pick ) James Hanna TE, Oklahoma : I was expecting the Cowboys to select a tight end before the draft was over, and even though Hanna doesn’t have the blocking skills that Martellus Bennett relied on, he will still be an excellent player to have on this team, adding well needed depth to the position.
7th round ( 222nd overall pick ) Caleb McSurdy ILB, Montana : When McSurdy arrives at training camp in July, he needs to ask himself a few questions, Can I play special teams ? Can I play in a 3-4 defense ? Can I quickly learn the speed of this game ? Can I beat out Orie Lemon ? Running Backs coach Skip Peets had spoke to McSurdy about moving to Fullback, he told Peets he was a linebacker, and wanted to remain one, he better hope he can remain on the team.
Overall, the Cowboys had another successful draft, adding the best CB in the draft, possibly finding Spencer’s replacement, possibly finding a Wes Welker type receiver that can replace Laurent Robinson, they may have found a hidden gem at strong safety, but will he push Barry Church or Danny McCray off the roster this season ? Or stop the Cowboys from resigning SS Brodney Pool in 2013 ?
I was in hopes of the Cowboys selecting a top Center like Peter Konz or Ben Jones to help with the movement of the offensive line, I was hoping to see a Nose Tackle added so it showed me the Cowboys had intentions of moving Jay Ratliff to defensive end, even if it were trading a pick for a current NFL player. Other than those 2 positions, I am somewhat satisfied with what the Cowboys have plans to do this upcoming season … I give this draft a C +.