So, there I was, watching the draft, drinking a beer, and waiting for the Cowboys to go on the clock. I was keeping an eye on a prospect that many of us wanted Dallas to get and he was being repeatedly passed over. I could feel my optimism rising, but "knew" my hopes would not be fulfilled. "There's no way he's making it down to us.", I thought. Time went on, picks were made, he was still falling,,.the optimism turned to excitement. Two more picks....still there. One more pick...no way, he's still there! Dallas goes on the clock. I went to the frig and grabbed another cold one to prepare for a celebratory toast. While uncapping that delicious Molsen XXX, it sounded like something was happening. I hurried to the family room for the big announcement, and there it was. The Rams were on the clock. "Huh? What? Wait...what just happened? Where is Steven Jackson? WHERE THE $@#* IS STEVEN JACKSON?!?!"
To this day, I have never been so disgusted with this team during the first round of the draft. I watched the Rams draft the guy I thought Dallas would be all over. Steven Jackson would have finally filled the void left by the great Emmit Smith's departure. I remember hearing reports before the draft that Bill Parcels had met with Steven Jackson and told him the Cowboys would pick him if he somehow made it down to them. So I watched in sickening disbelief as Dallas outsmarted itself, traded out of the first round completely and settling for Julius Jones in the second round. I'll admit, I had some hope that maybe they did the right things. I read some scouting reports on him and how "dynamic" he was suppose to be. In his rookie season, it looked like Dallas may have known what they were doing all along as Jones looked real good. However, after that year, the difference between a "blue chip player" and "a player" became apparent. That feeling was relived to a lesser degree when I watched the Cowboys bypass Mendenhall and Chris Johnson for Felix Jones.
This year, it seems we're in a similar situation, but I'm hoping for different results. Quite a few of us are hoping for DeCastro. I think he'll be there even though some mock drafts have him going somewhere in the top 13. He's a guard and they simply don't get drafted early. Those teams drafting before us will also see the depth at guard and decide to go in a different direction in the first. So, let's say he's there when Dallas goes on the clock. I fully expect that the Cowboys will pass on him. I think they've outsmarted themselves once again with these free agent pick ups and feel like they can pass on DeCastro since they have two young guys from last year, two young veterans (who have "potential") and guys like Costa and Kowalski who can swing between center and guard. They may bring in another guard, but it won't be in the first.
I've seen several comments recently that have said we can find a guard in the second or third round so we need to go defense in the first. I'm afraid Dallas will feel the same way. That's the line of thinking that made Dallas pass on that blue chip running back. The fact is, yes, you can get a good or even great guard after the first, but the question is, do you pick the right one? As we all know, the Cowboys have not done well at drafting offensive line for a long time (with the obvious Smith exception). I'd go over the list of recent o-line picks, but some of you may have just finished eating while others may want to be able to eat later. If Dallas passes over DeCastro, an elite talent, in the first for a defensive guy who could be very good (but is not elite enough to say for certain), and then miss on the guard they select later, they could be setting themselves up for a failed draft class...again. They could also be setting themselves up for a Kyle Orton debute while Romo nurses yet another injury.
If DeCastro's there and they take him, it means they have finally learned to stick to their board and take the best player available. They'll show me that the drafting of blue chip players, when available, like Tyron Smith, is the new norm and not a simple aboration we'll see once every 10 years. My guess is, we'll hear "With the 14th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select Fletcher Cox..." or Kirkpatrick or Brockers or Upshaw or that they've traded down. And the draft thread will light up with all sorts of angry and upset comments to go along with a few supportive ones. But those negative comments won't even compare to the comments written after we hear: "With the 15th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select, David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford University." You know how those Eagles love drafting the big boys in the first.