Dan Quinn's awful parting gift to Cowboys will make fans more grateful he's gone

Aug 12, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Eric Scott Jr. (37) on the field in
Aug 12, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Eric Scott Jr. (37) on the field in / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Dallas Cowboys are in the offseason, the NFL Draft has become a popular point of discussion. Talking heads and fans are mock-drafting to keep from crying and gauge which prospects might be available when the Cowboys pick at No. 24 overall in April.

The Cowboys won't have a full complement of picks this year, however. They traded a fourth-round pick to the 49ers for Trey Lance. No harm done there. Lance is viewed as a lottery ticket and his value to the franchise increased ten fold after Dak Prescott came up small in the postseason.

They also lost a sixth-round pick as a result of trading for Brandin Cooks. While Cooks wasn't a revelation and Dallas could stand to improve its WR room this offseason, he overcame a slow start and came up clutch throughout the year en route to posting 54 catches for 657 yards and eight touchdowns.

Incredibly, the Cowboys are down fifth-round pick in 2024, too. Unlike the Lance and Cooks trades, though, there's little reason (if any) to feel satisfied with the return. Remember when Dallas moved up in the 2023 draft to take cornerback Eric Scott Jr. with the first pick of the sixth round?

Don't feel ashamed if you forgot because Scott didn't play a single defensive snap this season. He wasn't even active for any of the 18 games, playoffs included. With the third-longest wingspan among CBs in the 2023 draft, it's pretty obvious Scott was a Dan Quinn-inspired draft pick.

Dan Quinn leaves Cowboys with Eric Scott Jr. mess after being hired as Commanders head coach.

Scott's disappearance is baffling in hindsight. He shined throughout the offseason program, which culminated in him taking first-team reps during OTAs. It was an impressive feat for the sixth-round rookie, as it indicated he leapfrogged third-year players Nahshon Wright and Kelvin Joseph in the pecking order.

By all accounts Scott continued to perform at a high level during training camp. He intercepted Dak Prescott on the first day of camp and was regularly seen applying sticky coverage, even on CeeDee Lamb on occasion, in highlight clips posted to social media by team reporters.

Scott's momentum came to a screeching halt in preseason, however. He allowed seven catches on 10 targets for 128 yards, including 38 yards after the catch, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He also struggled filling gaps against the run and finished with a lowly 41.0 run-defense grade.

Growing pains are expected for any rookie CB, let alone a sixth-round pick. But Scott wasn't heard from again after preseason, even after Trevon Diggs suffered a season-ending ACL tear just two games into the campaign.

Scott didn't even log a single special teams snap. Even seventh-round receiver Jalen Brooks managed 82 snaps on John Fassel's unit.

It's unclear what prompted Scott to essentially redshirt as a rookie. Regardless, it sparks more questions about why the Cowboys moved up to take Scott when several esteemed draft analysts projected him to go undrafted.

At the very least, Scott would've been available later in the sixth round when they selected Deuce Vaughn (another bad pick) or in the seventh. The Scott pick has Quinn's fingerprints all over it and it's now the Cowboys mess to clean up as he heads to the East Coast to coach the rival Commanders.

Full coverage of Dan Quinn's departure: