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Grading the 2011 Dallas Cowboys Draft

After a terrible 6-10 failure of a season, the most embarrasing season in two-decades, the rotten core of this team was exposed.  Picking high, Dallas needed multiple players to come in and make an immediate contribution to this team.

This draft did not provide those players.  There will only be one 2011 starter in this rookie class.

Also, in the deepest defensive line draft in recent history in which 21 players out of the top-100 picks were D-linemen Dallas did not come away with one pick.  This despite the fact that the only DEs on the roster as of today are Igor Olshanksy and Sean Lissimore.  Think back to that epic 2008 running back draft where 10 RBs were taken in the top-100 and all became starters for their teams.  How would you feel being one of the teams that missed out on that great depth of talent?  After the 2011 draft, now you know because you'll be hearing the names of the DEs and DTs in todays draft on ESPN sports center highlights for years and years to come. 

Despite some good late round picks, the decision to pass on sure-fire starters at positions of need for futures selections leaves me to grade this draft a B-.

Breakdowns of the selections continue after the jump:

R1:  Tyron Smith - A-. The decision not to trade down and to pass on Fairley could bite the Cowboys.  Jerry even said "we had a heck of a trade offer for our 1st round pick".  However, it is absolutely clear that the Cowboys love Tyron Smith and believe he was absolutely the best fit for the team. It's the top-rated player at the position of greatest need for the Cowboys with lots of upside.  A good pick.

R2:  Bruce Carter - C-,  A high-risk pick that didn't need to be.  An ILB that doesn't want to tackle and isn't physical taking on blockers is a real red flag in the NFL.  He's got all the speed and physical tools to be an exceptional linebacker.  Either he's going to learn an NFL mentality, achieve his potential and be a great linebacker or he's going to be a Bobby Carpenter, completely worthless.  This is a high risk pick that passed over much safer prospects at greater positions of need.  Will not be a starter in 2011

R3:  DeMarco Murray - F,  The definition of a Jerry Jones pick is a pick that passes up on solid role players for flashy positon "stars".  In this pick the Dallas Cowboys again passed over solid O-line and DE prospects for a 3rd-string running back.  DeMarco Murray is a very similar player to Felix Jones, a guy you want to get the ball to out in space.  He's a poor man's version of a player we already have.  Furthermore, Felix Jones is under contract for 2 more seasons.  Running backs often come in and make an impact in their rookie year.  Even if you want to move on from Felix Jones why are you drafting a Felix replacement 3 years before you need him?  Will not be a starter in 2011.

R4:  David Arken - B+, Because the Cowboys neglected interior O-line yet again for flashier players in their top picks, we are left with a ceremonial 4th round O-lineman.  The track record for such underinvestment is not good, yielding only one starter in the last 9 years.  David Arken is as good of a lineman as you are going to find in the 4th round and was a good pick given how things unfolded.  But would it not have been better to get Rackley who could compete for a starting guard job right away in the 3rd and if you really needed a skill position guy grab Edmund Gates or Bilial Powell in the 4th round instead?  Will not be a starter in 2011.

R5: Josh Thomas - A-, This was not one of the guys on my radar but I like what I read about him.  He's got the measurablesto be a good corner with a 4.4 40 time and a 38.5 inch vertical.  But most importantly the scouting reports and the tape I've seen show this guy loves to tackle and throw his body around. When you combine physical skills with physicality and some talent you have the raw materials for a good slot corner to succeed Scandrick.  Good developmental pick that could pay off in a year or two, exactly what you want in the 5th round.

R6:  Dwyane Harris - B,  WR for Jimmy Robinson to try to mold into something. Succeeded in the small schools with lots of catches but has a case of the drop-sies.  Tough to say what he contributes that Sam Hurd, Kevin Ogletree, and Jesee Holley don't already add to this team.  But in the 6th round you're just trying to find guys that have some potential.  An average pick that makes sense.

R7:  Shaun Chapas - A, Jerry says that they seriously thought about taking him in the 6th round.  Garrett needs a fullback that fits his system for his system to work, a Moose Johnson type. Garrett has always worked with limited fullbacks in the past.  The Cowboys wasted no time making this pick, picking so fast they actually finished talking to Chapas and hung up before NFL Network even had time to announce the pick.  This is 100% a Jason Garrett pick and the man he believes is the fullback that can fully execute his scheme.  If Garrett can get a fullback that holds down the position for as long as Moose did out of a 7th round pick, that is an excellent selection.  

 R7:  Bill Nagy - B, 2 picks away from Mr. Irrelevant what can you expect?  Nagy is a glorified UDFA and has the versatility to at least try to stick as backup G, C, or TE.  Practice squad player at best but, again, what can you expect from a pick in what is essentially the 8th round?

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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