The Dallas Cowboys biggest draft problem

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a helmet, NFL shield, stage, and podium before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a helmet, NFL shield, stage, and podium before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

Although the Dallas Cowboys have hit on several high draft picks in recent years, it’s their struggles in the later rounds that’s become the bigger issue.

There is a myth perpetrated against the Dallas Cowboys, almost as big as the ridiculous notion that Tony Romo is not an elite caliber quarterback that always pops it head up this time of year.

If you were to believe the mainstream media or specifically those who tend to have a negative bias towards this franchise, you would think that Jerry Jones and company are horrible when it comes to the NFL Draft.

People will point to the misses such as cornerback Morris Claiborne in 2012 or Bobby Carpenter in 2006 and use that to prop up their argument that Dallas often misses on adding talent to their roster.  People will discuss the David LaFluer’s, Shante Carver‘s and Ebenezer Ekuban‘s of the world and hold Jones’ feet to the fire mocking his general manager skills.

What no one likes to point out though is that this current braintrust has been pretty darn good over the last decade or so.  Terence Newman, DeMarcus Ware, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin have all been first round selections since 2003.

Look at that list again.  You have one guaranteed lock for the Hall of Fame and probably two other guys who will make it as long as their careers continue on the path they are currently on.  Any time you are talking about three all-time greats in an eleven year span, you’re doing pretty well for yourself.

So, when April 28th comes around and the Dallas Cowboys are on the clock making that fourth overall selection, I feel confident that whoever is called by Commissioner Roger Goodell will be a good player for years to come.

What I’m most worried about… and what you should be most worried about… is April 30th.

April 30th is when the Cowboys start trying to find diamonds in the rough.  April 30th is rounds four through seven, where the Cowboys have five picks starting with the 102th overall selection and ending with pick number 218.

Going through the track record of this regime when it comes to the later rounds is where the biggest problem lies when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL Draft.

Since 2006, the Cowboys have had fourteen picks in the fourth round.  Only three have been worthy of mentioning.  Doug Free, Kyle Wilber and Anthony Hitchens were all selected in this round.

Unfortunately, so were guys such as Skyler Green, Stephen McGee, Brandon Williams, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, David Arkin and Matt Johnson.

Those six guys played a total of 37 NFL games.  The leader of which was Owusu-Ansah with 15.  To put that in perspective, in last year’s draft alone, there were nine guys who played in all sixteen games.

Thankfully, the Cowboys do not have any fifth round picks as they have been even worse in this round.  The only player of any value recently that they have landed in this round was Orlando Scandrick in 2008.  Before you put the notion in place that a round as late as the fifth is just a throwaway, remember that Seahawks landed both Kam Chancellor AND Richard Sherman in round five.

As for the sixth round, where the Cowboys have four picks this year, they did find former return man Dwayne Harris as well as current backup tight end James in back to back drafts, however that’s about it.

Meanwhile, guys such as Greg Hardy, Antonio Brown, Tyrod Taylor, Jason Kelce, Alfred Morris and Latavius Murray were all picked in this round since 2010.  There’s also happens to be, arguably, the greatest quarterback in the history of the sport found in round six.  Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. was the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.

The point is that while it’s great that the Cowboys are hitting on their first rounds with higher frequency, it’s time that they make some hay in the later rounds.  Finding a Tom Brady, Richard Sherman or Antonio Brown this late can be a huge coup for your franchise.

If any teams needs to cash in on a lottery ticket such as this, it would be Dallas.

Next: Cowboys pre-draft visits tracker, Dallas Day list (Updated)

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