Be careful judging the Dallas Cowboys draft too early
By Richard Ball
It’s easy to have an opinion after the Dallas Cowboys’ draft is over. Yet history has shown that it takes a few years to determine if the opinion is valid.
By now, you have read everything on the internet about how the Dallas Cowboys 2019 draft was one of the best if you are Chad Reuter from NFL.com or below average if you are from Pro Football Focus. The reality is that no one knows if this will be a good or bad draft today.
Most of the response to the Cowboys’ draft centers on the decision to not draft a safety with the second-round pick. In fact, five of the safeties who allegedly visited The Star in Frisco as part of the official 30 pre-draft visits were available when Dallas went on the clock at pick No. 58: Taylor Rapp from Washington (pick 61), Juan Thornhill from Virginia (pick 63), Will Harris from Boston College (pick 82), Chauncey Gardner-Johnson from Florida (pick 106), and Khari Willis from Michigan State (pick 110).
Yet, Dallas chose Trysten Hill, a three-technique defensive tackle who also made a pre-draft visit to the Star and who happens to play a position that is highly valued in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s scheme. Time will tell if this was a good move.
In fact, wisdom suggests it will be three years before we know if this was the right move. Let’s revisit the Cowboys 2016 draft. This was the draft where Dallas picked running back Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall.
The 2016 NFL Draft was held in Chicago. A few hours after the draft, Pete Prisco from CBSSports.com posed this question: “What are the Cowboys thinking taking a running back at number four?”
Prisco went on to give the Cowboys a C-, his lowest grade, for their nine-selection draft haul that included linebacker Jaylon Smith and quarterback Dak Prescott. In fairness to Prisco, he did qualify that it is really difficult to grade a draft within hours of the draft being over.
"That’s why these knee-jerk grades are tough to do, and leave all of us who do them open to ridicule three years later."
In the same draft, he gave the New York Giants a B. Fast forward three years later and of the Giants‘ six picks, only two are projected starters with three no longer on the roster.
In his April 1, 2019 draft revisit, he corrected his Giants’ grade to C- which clearly aligns with the desperate times the most northern NFC East team has felt of late. His hindsight on the Cowboys draft moved his grade from the original worst draft grade of C- to overall best draft grade of A+.
The 2016 draft defines the Cowboys in 2019 with Elliott, Smith and Prescott playing starring roles. Defensive lineman Maliek Collins and defensive backs Anthony Brown and Kavon Frazier will be solid contributors to the team.
Even the sixth-round flyer pick on former Baylor basketball player Rico Gathers still has a chance to bear fruit as he and running back Darius Jackson are still on the roster and expected to compete for roles on the 2019 team. Only fourth round pick, defensive end Charles Tapper, was not able to find a role on the team and is on the New York Jets’ roster.
So take note of the cautionary tale when you form your opinion on the eight newest Dallas Cowboys. Time will tell if the ‘Boys got it right.
Time will also tell if your opinion is right – so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll save them and revisit them three years later…