The Valley Ranch Review: Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft Grades and Other Draft Stuff

Draft grades the day after the draft. Why bother? We all know it takes 2-3 years to properly evaluate a draft class. Living in a world of instant judgment and instant gratification means we'll always get the snap draft grade the day after the NFL holds its draft. I won't get into detail about what's on the web today in terms of grading the Dallas Cowboys draft, I'll just breeze by it quickly for a couple of reasons.

The national media doesn't follow the team like we do and only have a tentative grasp on what our needs/issues are - let me offer an example. Pete Prisco from CSB Sports gives us a D+. Fair enough - he didn't like our draft. Everybody is entitled to an opinion and we've seen a wide assortment on this blog already. Even Cowboys fans aren't going to agree about this draft. But, it's statements like these that really cause me to lose faith in the national media.

Why use a pick on kicker in the fifth round when Nick Folk is so good? It makes no sense.

Well, it does make sense if you know much about Nick Folk. I love the kid, he finally solved our FG woes and has been money in the clutch. But, as Rafael so eloquently pointed out in this article, he's the absolute worst in the league in terms of kickoffs/touchbacks. He got zero touchbacks last year. Zero. Many teams in the past have solved this problem by carrying two kickers, one who handles the kickoff duties, the other FGs. Enter fifth-round draft pick David Buehler who supposedly has a howitzer for a leg on kickoffs.

Now, before I become too dishonest, you can absolutely argue the logic of drafting a kickoff specialist in the fifth-round, you can question the idea of ever drafting a kicker. I've been known to entertain that thought a time or two. But, to say it makes absolutely no sense to add a kicker in the Cowboys current situation means you haven't been following the team closely. We have a real problem on special teams and the Cowboys just took a shot at solving it. I notice no one is saying that David Buehler can't do the job we've drafted him to do, which is probably the more proper evaluation of him as a draft pick.

To be clear, I'm not that over-hyped about drafting David Buehler although I complained bitterly on the DC Fanatic Show last year that we could use a kickoff specialist. But it's just an example of how the national guys don't really understand the Cowboys the way we do. And they don't take the time to look it up afterward. Look, most of us were stunned when we took a kicker, but moments later after I read about the kid I instantly saw "kickoff specialist" written all over him. Then Jerry and Co. came out and told us they were prepared to go with two kickers. Still, we get statements like it makes no snese to solve a big problem on our special teams. Even when we have 12 picks in our hands.

[UPDATE] BTB-reader tasan chimes in with and even more egregious example of misinformation in the comments section:

The idiot over at USAToday actually said this:

"Grabbed a couple of DEs in fourth round to offset loss of Chris Canty."

Yikes, guess he couldn't be bothered to note that we run a 3-4 defense and those "DEs" will actually be LB's in our scheme and have nothing to do with Chris Canty. [END UPDATE]

One other detail, the acquisition of WR Roy Williams gets scant attention among these grades. He really belongs to the Cowboys 2009 draft class since he's why we don't have a flashy, shiny, named-talent player in the first round to show off today - that guy was already here. But since that didn't actually happen over the weekend, it's like it didn't really happen.

For better or worse, some of our draft grades, which are pretty representative of what I saw this morning. Tread carefully and don't lose your mind if you like our draft, and don't think that these grades justify your view if you hate this draft. For example, check out how wrong these guys can be with this PFT.com article

USA Today D+
Mel Kiper D
Yahoo Sports C+
Fox Sports C
NBC Sports D

- Dave Halprin

There's more VRR after the jump including talk of our new Cincinnati Bearcat secondary, new QB Stephen McGee and a look at our NFC East brethren.

Hopefully with this draft, the Cowboys will be a better team come training camp. Dallas simply can't risk falling behind in the NFC East race.

Here's who the Giants, Eagles, and Redskins selected in this weekend's draft.

The New York Giants picked:

RD 1 Hakeem Nicks WR, N.Carolina
RD 2 Clint Sintim OLB, Virginia
RD 2 William Beatty OT, UConn
RD 3 Ramses Barden WR, Cal Poly
RD 3 Travis Beckum TE, Wisconsin
RD 4 Andre Brown RB, NC State
RD 5 Rhett Bomar QB, Sam Houston St.
RD 6 DeAndre Wright DB, New Mexico
RD 7 Stoney Woodson DB, S. Carolina

The Philadelphia Eagles picked:

RD 1 Jeremy Maclin WR, Missouri
RD 2 LeSean McCoy RB, Pitt
RD 5 Cornelius Ingram TE, Florida
RD 5 Victor "Macho" Harris, CB, Virginia Tech
RD 5 Fenuki Tupuo OT, Oregon
RD 6 Brandon Gibson WR, Wash. St.
RD 7 Paul Fanaika OG, Arizona St.
RD 7 Moise Fokou OLB, Maryland

The Washington Redskins picked:

RD 1 Brian Orakpo DE, Texas
RD 3 Kevin Barnes CB, Maryland
RD 5 Cody Glenn OLB, Nebraska
RD 6 Robert Henson OLB, TCU
RD 7 Eddie Williams TE, Idaho
RD 7 Marko Mitchell WR, Nevada

- Aaron Novinger

Dave Campo and Brett Maxie must have been impressed by the defensive backfield at the University of Cincinnati. The Cowboys drafted both Bearcat CBs; although, Mike Mickens may be the only who stays at that position. Deangelo Smith, taken by Dallas in the fifth-round, may swing inside to safety. Smith is excited to be a Cowboy.

"This is where I wanted to go and this is where I thought I would go," Smith said. "I was a Cowboys fan growing up and I dreamed of playing there. That was the only visit I took. I felt comfortable down there and they felt comfortable with me."

Speculation in Dallas was that Smith, who played mostly cornerback at UC, would be a safety in the NFL.

Smith's joy over being taken by the Cowboys was further enhanced later in the afternoon when Mickens, his UC teammate, also was taken by Dallas.

- Aaron Novinger

Drafting QB, Stephen McGee, at the top of the fourth-round has broken Dallas' dry spell. Not since 2001 (Quincy Carter) had the Cowboys selected a player at that position. The team felt some pressure to do so on Sunday.

With the threat of either the Denver Broncos or New England Patriots drafting McGee looming, the Cowboys picked the player that for the past few years they have been so reluctant to select.

Pre-draft, sounds like McGee couldn't imagine going anywhere else.

"[T]hat Dallas visit will be huge for me because growing up here in Texas I had Troy Aikman and so forth on my wall for a long time now," McGee told Monty.  "I'm so excited to be one of the guys to go on the visit and if I have the opportunity to play in Dallas I know that I would be thrilled and honored."

- Aaron Novinger

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