First off, allow me to apologize for letting our weekly helping of FanPost goodness fall by the wayside. I know several of you (I'm talking about you, Chia!) log in on Wednesday, breathlessly anticipating the announcement of our weekly award winners. I decided to step away for a while largely because the great bulk of our FanPosts were either mock drafts--and I couldn't in good conscience single one of them out--or CBA talk, which we've discussed plenty.
It was with great satisfaction, therefore, that I read the latest FanPost offerings. BTB's pages have been packed with insightful material of late, from a variety of different members. Some of my favorites include Chandus' detailed review of Dallas' woeful 2010 defense (with an attendant mock); 5Blings' brilliant drafting fantasia, based on one of the greatest plays ever written; and a variety of statistically-laden yet informative posts by footballbusker. This week's winner, belongs to a first-timer, tdships, who penned a superb review of the past (largely futile) decade of Cowboys' drafts. Be careful making your way to the podium, TD!
More on TD's winning post after the jump...
In his post, TD develops a couple of simple metrics with which to judge the quality of a) individual draft choices and b) draft classes. Using these metrics, he assesses each of the drafts since 2001. A quick look at these is not encouraging; other than 2003 and 2005 (arguably the best draft of any team in the past decade), the Cowboys drafts have ranged from mediocre to woeful. One of the biggest problems has been inconsistency: Dallas has struggled to put together consecutive successful drafts. The two above-mentioned strong drafts were immediately followed by epic washouts in 2004 and 2006. The promising 2010 draft followed on the heels of a disaster in 2009. If not for striking UDFA-gold with the likes of Romo and Austin, this team would be in the soup.
At the end of his post, TD assigns grades in a variety of categories: quality, coherence, volume, and star power. Go here to see TD's report card. A quick work of caution: they ain't pretty.
TD's post won in no small part because it coheres with some things I have been thinking about this a lot lately, as I look at the Dallas roster and think about different draft scenarios. Draft season (like the entire offseason) is football's season of hope. Fans everywhere (yes, even in Carolina) bask in the soothing waters of rationalization, convincing themselves that they are only a player or two from contention. Of late, the draft conversation in Cowboyland has focused on finagling the draft in such a way that Dallas acquires starters (or key backups) at myriad positions: RT, DE, FS, SS, CB, ILB.
I think we need to tap the brakes a little. TD's post suggests that Dallas would have to draft at a 2005 level--or higher--for this to happen. I'm skeptical that Jimmy Johnson--much less the current Dallas braintrust--can cure all that ails this team in a single offseason--especially when we consider the draft history outlined in TD's post. In fact, as we continue to gear up for the draft, I will be authoring a series of "state of the Cowboys" posts that address this very issue. If you like them, send me notes of praise and thanks; If you hate 'em, blame TD--he's the inspiration!