What's Left Of The Cowboys 2009 Draft Class

With the Cowboys releasing offensive lineman Robert Brewster today and safety Mike Hamlin earlier in the week, the team's draft class of '09 is thinning out rather quickly.

There is a chance Brewster could be called back to the practice squad now that the promotion of receiver and special teamer Jesse Holley has opened up a spot there. Hamlin, however, has already been picked up by Jacksonville, which placed him on their practice squad.

The draft that saw the Cowboys select 12 players between rounds three through seven certainly has taken a shot in the potential department this week. From those 12 players, count on three to be contributors to the active roster: kicker David Buehler, linebackers Jason Williams and Victor Butler.

Three. That's a sad number, but if you take into account injuries and the fact that these were all rather low draft picks, then it's much easier to stomach.

Chew on this. Compare that three count to the active number of the 2010 class and the bitter-sweetness takes hold. All drafted rookies except 6th-rounder Jamar Wall not only made this team, but most of the class contributes. Sean Lissemore and Sam Young have seen some time on the inactive list during gameday; whereas Dez Bryant and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah have been regulars on the field. Sean Lee is working his way into the season. Throw in supplemental pick Josh Brent's rotation at the nose and the large number of undrafted rookies that have been with this squad since camp, and the 2010 class highly outnumbers its predecessor.

Yes, Bryant and Lee were high picks and they should contribute weekly. But check out the undrafted guys from this season. Barry Church, Danny McCray, and Chris Gronkowski equal the three '09 actives. Throw in Phil Costa for Brandon Williams on the inactives and we've got ourselves a push...just from this year's UDFA class.

So what can we make of the Cowboys 2009 draft class? Let's go in order of selection.

Jason Williams - Special teamer and gets in some on nickel and dime packages. Bradie James (knee) ended his practice week with full participation so Williams likely won't see an increase in reps in Minnesota. Besides, Leon Williams is the guy right behind James.

Robert Brewster - Well, his release inspired this piece. There is a chance the Cowboys could bring him back to the practice squad. Seeing that they just invested a roster spot on OT Jeremy Parnell (plucked him from the Saints' practice squad), that could be all the project they want on the outside. We all know they're planning on drafting four offensive tackles in 2011 right?

Brewster was the 75th pick of the draft. 76 was LB DeAndre Levy by the Lions. Here's where it hurts. 77 was center Antoine Caldwell by the Texans; 78 was guard Louis Vasquez by the Chargers.

Stephen McGee - He's kind of active every now and then when the team doesn't take advantage of that emergency-third quarterback rule. Looked pretty good at the end of the preseason. Sitting at 1-3, his development is probably the last thing on the coaches' minds right now.

Victor Butler - Special teamer and gets in on the rotation behind Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware. Was all over the field in the preseason. When's that win-saving-two-sack game coming up Butler?

Brandon Williams - Always inactive. I've been on hiatus so enlighten me. Probably just a number crunch thing but this guy turned heads in camp and is said to have a good pass-rushing burst.

DeAngelo Smith - Trivia question: Who did David Buehler beat in a footrace in the '09 camp? Yeah, this guy didn't make the cut that year. Don't think that race had anything to do with it.

Mike Hamlin - Whodathunkit? Was it the Matt Forte touchdown? The presence of McCray and Church? I guess the Cowboys could re-sign him to the active roster by popping him off the Jags' practice squad. Sounds like an awful lot of monkeying around though.

David Buehler - After last season, Buehler arguably shared the '09 cool rookie crown with the team's later 6th-rounder. His booming touchbacks are not automatic anymore. His placekicking accuracy is still a work in progress. I hate that I am so nervous for chip shots and do a couple fist pumps each time a three-pointer knocks through.

Let's blame Nick Folk. We see you making field goals up there in New York. You started this Dallas-kickers-lose-confidence thing. Next time, take those things with you please.

Stephen Hodge - On the PUP, recovering from microfracture surgery. Is he an inside linebacker? Probably more than a safety. He could be one heckuva special teams guy. You know the team could use some slobberknockers there. Here's an update on how soon Hodge can return:

The Cowboys can activate Hodge off the PUP list from Tuesday until Nov. 8 and once they do they would have a three-week window for him to practice. Once that window closes, the Cowboys would have to put him on the 53-man roster, place him on injured reserve or release him.

John Phillips - Admit it. We all miss him. The TE/FB situation has been a turnstyle. Cricket's gone. Gronk is in but hurt last week (groin). So we saw Scott Chandler against the Titans. Marty B's got an ankle injury, though he's probable. Marcus Spears does a little goal line, which I doubt we'll see much more of.

It's kind of weird to think how much of this offense hinges on an successful H-back role. Phillips may have spoiled us there this year. I know he's on IR; nevertheless, this Seinfeld song is in order:  "Get well, get well soon...we wish you to get well!"

Mike Mickens -See "Deangelo Smith" minus the Buehler race thing and add that Mickens remained on the practice squad until the Bucs snagged him last November.

Manny Johnson - In his second-year on the practice squad. After seeing his buddy Holley get the call during his second year on the P-squad, Johnson has got to have some hope the team will someday do the same for him. It's a logjam at the wideout position right now. The Cowboys, though, love them some WRs on special teams units.

Can anything salvage this 2009 class? They did get some decent backup linebackers out of it; though, it would take an injury for any of them to see them to see starting reps anytime soon. And we don't want that.

Next year, we will see how Phillips and perhaps Manny can contribute. For this season, the most we can ask is that the handful of Cowboys left from this class who play special teams start playing more consistently. Buehler's got to drove those under-50s through. The coverage guys need to show that they don't need touchbacks to contain kick returns around the 20-yard line.

This week it's Percy Harvin, so they'd better gear up. No bigger buzzkill after scoring a touchdown than allowing a big ensuing return. '09 guys like Williams, Butler, and Buehler could have their hands full.

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