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Grading the Cowboys' draft

Grading the Cowboys' draft

Credit: Getty Images

Tyrone Crawford: The Cowboys' under-the-radar second pick. Overdraft, or the right kind of guy? (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

by MIKE MARSHALL, OR MOYAL, MIKE PIELLUCCI, KEVIN TURNER

wfaa.com

Posted on May 7, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Updated Monday, May 7 at 2:08 PM

MIKE PIELLUCCI: B

 

That may be seen as generous, but unlike many years the Cowboys invested a pick in most of their need areas. The question remains whether they did so in the right players – i.e. taking Tyrone Crawford when Jared Crick was available, Kyle Wilber instead of Ronnell Lewis, Matt Johnson rather than George Iloka – but Jerry insisted that both Crawford and Wilber carried higher grades on their board than where they were drafted, and we have no choice but to trust their judgment.
 
Of course, that’s been dicey in the past to say the least; I have a hard time getting excited about Johnson, for instance, when their last diamond in the rough, 4th-round safety – Akwasi Owusu-Ansah – failed so miserably. But Claiborne is a star, I loved the Danny Coale pick in the 5th, and James Hanna at worst ought to be a competent 3rd TE behind Witten and Phillips, and at best a field-stretching mismatch. If the scouts are right about their guys in the 3rd and 4th round, Dallas added quality players at several positions of need.
 
KEVIN TURNER: D+
 
The + stands for Claiborne's talent.  The rest is extremely questionable.  I like the Hanna pick and to an extent the Coale pick, but those don't compensate for how bad it was for the Cowboys to not have a second round pick.  It should be noted though, that immediately grading draft classes is a crapshoot.  
 
MIKE MARSHALL: IN PROGRESS
 
I have no idea. I haven’t heard of these guys from round 3 on and have no clue as to whether the Cowboys will put them in a position to succeed. I am a big fan of how aggressive and serious this team’s approach towards undrafted free agents is.   
 
OR MOYAL: B+
 
The important thing to keep in mind here is that grading a draft this soon based on personal evaluations  is a silly venture. We don't know as much about the players as the team's evaluators do. We also won't have enough definitive results with which to compare them to their peers until 2015 or 2016. What we can do is grade based on the plan. And in that sense, I approve of what the Cowboys did.
 
They did not address a position of great need, but did everything else flawlessly. They got value by nabbing their second-ranked player with the #6 pick. They didn't give up too much to get there -- sacrificing a second rounder was a very fair tradeoff for getting a premium selection like that one.
 
They then went into the rest of the draft with a real focus on two things: Work ethic and athleticism. Their guys are all labeled as 'gamers' and most of them had very impressive days at the combine. Most of the players were also ranked at or slightly above where they were drafted. The Cowboys didn't necessarily take the most productive players, but they took players they feel the coaching staff can mold into better performers than they are right now. Do I trust the Cowboys coaching staff? I'm not sure I do. But I like that the front office does, at least in part because this is the kind of thing which leads to accountability. 
 
I don't think the Cowboys' 2012 draft will help the 2012 Cowboys very much. But I think when we look back at it in the future, we will nod our collective heads, give a thumbs up and say 'May I have another?'

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