Not gonna get into the whole King Jerry vs Big Tuna vs Ireland debate regarding who gets credit and who gets a thumbs down on drafts they did together.
However, I'm gonna give ALL THREE OF THEM a vote of disapproval for the '06 NFL Draft up to this point. Of course, some of the underperformers from that class could prove me wrong in the upcoming '08 season, but as of now, I'm less than impressed.
Check out who The King/The Tuna/The Jeffster selected:
Round 1 - Bobby Carpenter/LB: Ohio State
Round 2 - Anthony Fasano/TE: Notre Dame
Round 3 - Jason Hatcher/DE: Grambling
Round 4 - Skyler Green/WR-KR-PR: LSU
Round 5 - Patrick Watkins/FS: Florida State
Round 6 - Montavious Stanley/DT: Louisville
Round 7a - Pat McQuistan/OG: Weber State
Round 7b - EJ Whitley/OT: Texas Tech
Now I know that going into that draft, we were supposedly set at running back (JuJo & MB3), set with starting wide receivers (TNT), and set with our starting corners (T-New & Henry), so I guess those positions were not a priority at the time.
But here's where I subscribe in the best player available(I know I'll get opposition on this one from Deke and others, but gimme a chance here).
In Round 1, after the Cowboys selected Carpenter, look who was left on the board for the remainder of that round: Antonio Cromartie/CB (San Diego)(starter), Laurence Maroney/RB (New England)(starter), DeAngelo Williams/RB (Carolina), Santonio Holmes/WR (Pittsburgh)(starter), Joseph Addai (Indianapolis)(starter). Do you think we could've used Cromartie in the nickel or as a FS? Do you think we could've used Maroney, Williams or Holmes to return kicks (which they've done effectively for their respective NFL teams)? Yes, they weren't a NEED pick at where our Boyz picked, but best player available mentality would've found a way to get that kind of talent on the field. Plus, with the injury factor always prevalent in the NFL, you can never have enough playmaking depth.
In Round 2, did we really need a backup Tight End that high in the draft? Tony Scheffler (late Round 2), Leonard Pope (Round 3), Owen Daniels (Round 4) were all very much available later and Fasano probably would've been on the board later, as well. By the way, Scheffler, Pope, and Daniels are all starting tight ends now for their respective teams. Before I hear how important it was because Parcells wanted to run a two-TE set, logic says that with so much more talent unpicked that early in the draft, a second TE behind Witten can wait. Look at who was selected after Dallas chose Fasano: Devin Hester KR/PR/WR (Chicago)(best return man the past two seasons), Maurice Jones-Drew/RB-KR (Jacksonville), Richard Marshall CB/KR (Carolina)(starter), Darryl Tapp (Seattle)(starter). Think we could've found a way to use Hester and MoJo? Hmmm, Fasano or D-Hester? MJD or Fasano? Yeah, but we might be missing out on the next Mark Bavaro -- even though he'll be backing up our stud startint TE Jason Witten. I'll take stupid for $1,000, Alex.
So while a lot of those guys mentioned -- who were selected after Carpenter and Fasano -- are starting and making major contributions, the Cowboys' top two draft picks in '06 have played mostly as subs... with Carp getting most of his playing time in special teams.
Oh, but it gets worse, Leon Washington/RB-KR wasn't selected 'til Round 4 (NY Jets). Do you think he's produced more than Carp and Fasano? Hell yeah. And "Baby TO" himself, Brandon Marshall/WR (Denver)(starter) was also selected in Round 4. Has he made more of an impact than Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Fasano? Another resounding Hell yeah. Oh and let's rewind and go back to early-to-mid Round 2 where other current starters were drafted after Carp including Daryn Colledge/OT (Green Bay)(starter), Marcus McNeill/OT (San Diego) (starter), and Greg Jennings/WR (Green Bay) (starter).
Yes, they connected with Jason Hatcher/DE (Grambling) and so-so with Pat Watkins/FS (Florida State) in Rounds 3 and 5 respectively. But they whiffed on Skyler Green/WR-KR-PR (LSU) in Round 4 and EJ Whitley (Weber State) in Round 7 (well, seventh round is a crap shoot anyway, so we'll give the Front Office a free pass on that one), for both have not been on the active roster for the last two years. And Round 7a selection Pat McQuistan/OG (Weber State) simply provided O-line depth and the jury's still out on him.
So while we're painting a broad brush (and I'm included in this camp) that every draft has been successful under the collective firm of Jones, Parcells and Ireland, let me insert a famous line from BSPN's Lee Corso, "not so fast my friend."
The Dallas Cowboys' 2006 Draft left a plethora of impact players on the board for opportunistic franchises to swoop up and utilize effectively between the hashmarks.
And from what we've seen up to now, The King/The Tuna/The Ireland missed out on a ton of talent... instead wasting draft selections on mostly backups or guys not on the current roster. Thank God for Jason Hatcher and maybe Patrick Watkins (still in wait-and-see mode, although I'll never forget his blocked FG return for a TD against Minnesota last season, which DE-Chris Canty leaped in the air to block)
As of 02/09/08, Silverblue5's Grade of 2006 Cowboys Draft Class: D