After a solid draft, Dallas Cowboys fans should be discussing playoff chances instead of medical reports and nerve growth.
As Cowboy Nation prepares to watch the Dallas Cowboys’ first preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams, I find myself dreaming of an offseason free of distractions. For me, celebrating the offseason starts with an uneventful but exciting 2016 NFL draft. I’m not going to point out the draft flaws like my fellow Landry Hat writer Tyrone Starr. We have different ideas of an ineffective draft and Starr excluded this year’s draft class which is where my focus lies.
For the Cowboys, our fourth overall draft pick made perfect sense to me. Keeping the math simple, the median number of rushing attempts by NFL teams was 435. The Carolina Panthers led the NFL with 526 rushing attempts and the Miami Dolphins had the fewest with 344. The median number of passing attempts by NFL teams was 565. That category was led by the Baltimore Ravens with 676 and the Minnesota Vikings had the fewest with 454 passing attempts.
The median rushing attempts (435) and passing attempts (565) equals 1,000 plays. Where am I going with this? In a league that mysteriously attempts to devalue the running back position, even though teams ran the ball 43.5% of the time – this offseason should have revolved around running back Ezekiel Elliott. It was a perfect draft – until the second day.
For the record, it was shocking that we didn’t pick up a tight end in the second round. We still managed to do something controversial by picking up linebacker Jaylon Smith. It’s nothing personal, but it serves as another example of how disconnected sports is from the world the majority of us live in. I understand – Potential – but few of us could get a job for a task that we couldn’t perform. At the least, a hiring decision would be made after medical clearance.
The amount of undrafted free agents that make the roster could be viewed as an open competition being awarded to the best candidate. On the other hand, how good is our draft evaluation process when a player that wasn’t draft worthy like Lucky Whitehead or Cole Beasley takes a roster spot from someone drafted like Devin Street and Dwayne Harris?
If last year’s first round selection, Byron Jones is the free safety of the future, why draft Kavon Frazier? What happens if Rico Gathers doesn’t pan out and a seventh round pick or an undrafted player becomes a hidden gem? If Gathers does pan out, how bad is our draft process if he vaults over Gavin Escobar, James Hanna and Geoff Swaim on the depth chart?
The best thing about this draft is that it seems we have definitely gotten away from drafting projects from small schools to drafting projects from major schools. I am not a fan of searching for diamonds in the rough during the draft. Let our division rivals take those risks while we focus on building a solid roster. Allow our diamonds to be the undrafted free agent that shines by making amazing impressions during training camp.
During the offseason, we want to see quarterback Dak Prescott take advantage of Tony Romo‘s day off and the injury to Kellen Moore to showcase his talent. Injuries might happen, but let’s not start by drafting injured players. Ideally, we would have spent the offseason excited about Elliott behind our offensive line, seeing Charles Tapper and Maliek Collins on the defensive line and maybe a healthy Reggie Ragland from Alabama.
After a solid draft, we could be discussing the Cowboys playoff chances instead of medical reports and nerve growth. Hopefully, Elliott will have a great preseason, so we can stop talking about suspensions.
Find me at Facebook.com/CowboysRob