With the draft a little more than 2 months away the serious BTBers are putting in some work, gettin' their mock on left and right, bringing us the latest and greatest draft buzzzz. Who will it be? Will Jerry roll out the red carpet for a Prince? Maybe Cameron Jordan is more your flavor. Lest we forget the mammoth offensive lineman available later in the first. There has been a lot of speculation on who the Cowboys pick at number 9. Each selection, followed by the appropriate validation, expanded to fuel meritorious debates, to end in the same place we started. Some have debated (myself included), with many holes to fill, and several viable options at 9, just don't make the pick.
Memorandum and points of authority to follow the jump.
We rarely have a top ten pick in the draft. When we do I think that you must take a playmaker, a game changer, or do not make the pick. Lets define what a playmaker is. I would define a playmaker as a guy who can influence the outcome of a game on one play. If two teams are punching each other in the mouth and the game comes down to one play, which team has more players that can potentially take over and end the game on their own.
Playmakers make plays. 60 yard TD runs. 60 yard TD passes. 60 yard TD receptions. Pick six's. Multiple picks in one game. Multiple sacks in one game. Pressure that induces turnovers. Kickoff/punt returns for TD's. So we are talking about the skill positions. If you agree with my definitions of "plays" and "playmakers" the Cowboys have several of these types of guys. The good news is for everyone that cheeses on the Cowboys for player development/drafting we have acquired several of these guys with very little expense in the way of draft picks. Note: Romo, Austin, Rat. Player development would be a whole different conversation.
Players that cannot make this list are O-lineman, T.E.s, 3-4 defensive ends, kickers, 3-4 nose tackles (Rat being the exception), 4-3 defensive tackles. Not to say these players or player positions aren't important but they don't have the individual ability to change a game with one play, or if they do or have, it is not with any regularity.
Let's take a look at past drafts to see what the Cowboys did when faced with the opportunity of drafting in the top ten or around the top 10 in the draft.
In 2005 the Cowboys had the 11th pick in the draft and selected D-Ware. Demarcus definitely fits the definition of a game changer, I don't think there is anyone that you can find, BTBer or not, that would say that this is not a fact.
In 2003 the Cowboys selected T New, number 5 overall. The Cowboys loved his speed, his ability to impact the return game, and his maturity (dude was 35 when we drafted him) (ok, 25). Although T-new never developed into that true lock down corner, and he did not develop into a dangerous return man, he was viewed as such by the Cowboys when they made the pick.
In 2002 the Cowboys drafted Roy Williams #8 overall to roam the Cowboys secondary and deliver bone jarring hits. At first he was the playmaking safety they sought, eventually being exposed for his coverage deficiencies. In all situations the Cowboys selected a playmaker.
Whether you think the Cowboys hit or missed on these picks is up for debate, however, their desire to select a playmaker is absolutely the way to go when given a top ten pick. If that guy is not there you must trade down. For these reasons I think you can dismiss several possibilities.
No O-lineman will or should beselected with number 9. Sorry Cameron Crazies, Cam Jordan stays on the board at 9, and will not go off the board at 10 either. He cannot be a playmaker as a 3-4 defensive end by the form and function of what he will be asked to do. If he were to play in a 4-3 maybe. Possibly a young Greg Ellis. This leaves us with a few guys that may be pallatable as playmakers. Julio Jones, Robert Quinn (if he is still there), Prince Amukamara, Von Miller. The other option is to trade down. I can make arguments for selecting all of the above named but I would be remiss to ignore my most glaring needs are at safety and O-line.
Furthermore, the consensus on whose the best o-lineman is no consensus at all. The list is long and the run on lineman will most likely occur from pick 20 on, possibly 25 on. Most notably, Carimi, Solder, Smith, Costanza are at the tops of everybody's boards, but who is the best? Then you have Watkins, Sherrod, Pouncey, Iljana. There is no consensus and I would not be unhappy with any of these guys. Several will be available late in the first and early in the second.
Savvy leadership takes advantage of such draft confusion. Trading once or even twice to the end of the first round would yield a slew of draft picks and a stud o-lineman. We would basically run the second round and have enough draft picks to acquire any player/s we wanted.
If the Cowboys pick at 9, the guy has to be a playmaker that can make a difference from day one. Also, he has to add more value than a stud late first round lineman AND the guys we could have picked up as a result of trading down. That's a lot of pressure at 9. I am gonna increase my odds of winning the lottery by buying multiple tickets. TRADE DOWN JERRY.