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2012 NFL Draft: Year Of Jason Garrett and "The Cowboy Way"

Jason Garrett knows what he's doing.

Let me direct your attention to this article, from our very own Tom Ryle. The article, titled 'Jason Garrett, Hungry Players, And The New Culture Of The Dallas Cowboys', discusses the theory that approximately 80% of NFL teams are comprised of "average" talent.

This is an approach that fits in with a bit of a pet theory of mine that I laid out in an article last year. It is that there are only a few outstanding players on each team from the perspective of talent, perhaps 10% to 15% of the overall roster if you are lucky. The rest of the team is going to be made up of players that are average (in terms of being NFL players, not us ordinary schlubs). No team is going to put together 22 All Pro players.

And the difference between good teams, and bad ...

So what is the difference between winning teams and losing teams? I think it goes back to that leadership and culture thing. If you are going to have about 80% of your team made up of players with sort of average talent, you win by having players with more drive. More determination.

More hunger.

Being a Cowboys fan during the Tony Romo era, I buy into this theory. Warranted or not, how many years have the Cowboys touted us as one of, if not the, most talented team in football? Our top-level talent (Romo, Witten, Ware, Ratliff, etc.) has, for the most part, been reliable; it's the other 80 percent that's failed us over the years.

It appears Jason Garrett buys into Ryle's theory as well, based on the following quotes, pulled from the Dan Graziano article Ryle referenced in his article.

Garrett likes guys who are hungry, who have had to earn everything they've got. He believes players who know what it is to be hungry will remain so, and will continue to push themselves to achieve. He believes that having those kinds of guys on the team will have a positive effect on other players who might not be so inclined.

Garrett, from the mouth of Graziano:

. . . when he was talking about the players his team has brought in via free agency this offseason, Garrett made it clear that they have a common thread. They're guys who have been underestimated, undervalued. Guys who have had to work for the careers they've made. Guys who have clearly been about making the most of the opportunities they've received, even if they haven't received many.

I hate to put words in coach's mouth, but the message I got from these quotes is basically: "Gone are the days of underachievers, poor work ethics and oversized egos; we only want one type of guy on this team – one-through-53 – and that's the right kind of guy."

Now, this great article, written by Ryle, received 14 "recs" on Blogging The Boys – a pretty high number for a front page story. In theory, "The Cowboy Way" and "RKG" mantras sounded awesome – a breath of fresh air for everyone who's witnessed the perennial underachievement of Cowboys of the past five years or so – but many seem to have forgotten about this article, which written less than a month ago, in regards to the 2012 NFL Draft.

Even Dan Graziano – the man whose article prompted Ryle's post – has been seen obliterating the Cowboys draft on Twitter.

--

I found myself saying the phrases "Who?" and "From where?" more often than not following the Cowboys day three picks. Then I dug deeper, only to find to see the little blue and white stars align, falling right in line with the theme from Tom's article, one month ago.

Jason Garrett has a vision, and he continues to make moves toward reaching that vision.

Check out the following excerpts from the Cowboys Day three draft picks via ESPN's Scouts Inc. and The National Football Post. (emphasis is mine)

Kyle Wilber, OLB, Fourth Round

  • Scouts Inc.: intangibles graded as 'exceptional'
  • Scouts Inc.: "A well rounded individual. Hard worker and takes coaching well. Respected by coaches and teammates. Named a team captain as a senior."
  • NFP: This prospect has NO weakness in any critical factors

Matt Johnson, S, Fourth Round

  • ESPN and NFP have no info
  • From Pro Football Weekly: ... team captain ... Character player with a professional approach ...

Danny Coale, WR, Fifth Round

  • Scouts Inc.: intangibles graded as 'exceptional'
  • Scouts Inc.: "Accountable and a relentless worker. A well rounded and respectable individual. Has a team first mentality. Brings added value as a versatile special teams' player including showing the ability to punt in emergency situations ... Fearless as a receiver and not afraid to put his body on the line to make catch. Displays excellent field and sideline awareness and shows a good understanding for the down and distance. Is a willing run blocker but can give better effort on a more consistent basis."
  • NFP: "This prospect is an overachiever that grades out high in competitiveness, character and production. ... He possesses a real savvy about his game ... A try-hard guy with a feel of the game who could endear himself to a coaching staff ...

James Hanna, TE, Sixth Round

  • Scouts Inc.: "Hard worker that goes about his business. Handles his responsibilities on and off the field. No red flags ...

Pair those four guys with Tyrone Crawford, whom I wrote about last night, and Morris Claiborne – both of whom are also considered "high character guys", and JG accomplished his goal. Remember these quotes (emphasis is mine):
Garrett likes guys who are hungry, who have had to earn everything they've got. He believes players who know what it is to be hungry will remain so, and will continue to push themselves to achieve. He believes that having those kinds of guys on the team will have a positive effect on other players who might not be so inclined.

and

. . . when he was talking about the players his team has brought in via free agency this offseason, Garrett made it clear that they have a common thread. They're guys who have been underestimated, undervalued. Guys who have had to work for the careers they've made. Guys who have clearly been about making the most of the opportunities they've received, even if they haven't received many.

Regardless of whether or not you liked the Cowboys picks on Day 3 of the draft, you have to respect that fact that Garrett has a plan and followed through with it.

As previously alluded to, I'm 100 percent buying what Jason Garrett is selling. More often than not, the players who are considered "busts" in every draft are guys who enamor scouts, analysts and fans with their 40 yard dash times, prototypical size, athleticism and POTENTIAL. The guys who are considered steals are usually: overachievers, hard workers and guys who PRODUCED in college - guys like Brady, Welker, Foster, Ratliff, Austin, Romo.

There's a famous quote, "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard," and unfortunately, a lot of times, talent doesn't feel the need to work hard.

Think about these things before bashing the Cowboys draft, like I've seen many fans do already, including Dan Graziano. There may have been guys with better measurables, or upside, when the Cowboys selected today, but I'm done buying stock in potential. Give me 53 high character, hard-working, RIGHT KIND of GUYS and I'll go to war with your potential any Sunday during the fall.

Jason Garrett knows what he's doing.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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