This draft was a real disappointment for me. I was really excited about adding some of the great college talent at some of our biggest areas of need. With so many strong players out there, it was shaking up to be a great draft.
One of the biggest things I bought into as we were trying to determine our needs was the Passer Rating Differential that I read on BTB a few weeks ago. From this line of thinking, it was clear that the Cowboys needed to improve our secondary, pass rush, and pass protection. Prior to free agency, I’d list the secondary as the biggest priority. But after the signing of Brandon Carr, I felt this moved this concern to the bottom of the three concerns. With Carr and Jenkins, we have made a big improvement. Scandrick moves down the depth chart and there were a handful of young guys from rounds 3 to 5 in the draft that could compete with Scandrick and add further depth to our cornerback position. This was great because it meant we could use our top 2 draft picks to address pass rush and pass protection.
I was a big David DeCastro fan, but after reading the BTB story about how the second round having quality lineman available I brushed my love for the Stanford guard aside and accepted that we could go after one of the top pass rushers. I absolutely loved Melvin Ingram, but I was convinced he wasn’t going to be available. I felt that either DeCastro or Ingram would have been available at 14 and if we were able to land one of them, we would have scored big in the first round. As it turns out BOTH were available. Going with the logic of what talent would be available in the second round, the Cowboys could have drafted Melvin Ingram with our 14th pick.
The attention would have been shifted to improving our offensive line in the second round and the way the draft was playing out, there were many of them being overlooked as everyone and their brother was going after pass rushers in the first round. The Cowboys would have scored big as Wisconson’s center, Peter Konz was still available when we would’ve picked at 45. The Cowboys could’ve killed two birds with two stones.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Morris Claiborne and will welcome him to Dallas with open arms and we instantly have gone from having one of the worst corner tandems to one of the best. But the move to get him was too costly. The pass rushing combo of Ware, Ratliff, and Ingram would’ve been a great step towards improving our defensive line. There were a lot of instances last season where we were close to getting sacks and I think those “almost” moments can be converted to “actual” sacks whether we got Ingram or Claiborne. Improving our coverage helps just as much as improving or pass rush ability. So defensively, I’m not as disappointed, but offensively – we are hurting.
If you listened to Cowboys’ fans complain last season about our disappointing losses that should’ve been wins – many would try to place the blame on our defense for letting down in closing minutes. I’m not one of those people. Improving from 31st to 15th in the league in defense was outstanding. There were many instances where our defenses kept teams like the Patriots in check throughout most of the game. The Cowboys’ offense just became stagnant too many times and just couldn’t deliver when we needed. And this was unfortunate considering all the great talent we had on offense. But when we can’t block, we can’t execute. We really needed to find a strong interior line blocker in the draft. It really hurts to not get the most of Romo, DeMarco, Dez, and Miles if our line continues to be undermanned.
I can’t help thinking how much better our team would be had we gone a different direction. I can’t help being annoyed about how draft analysts keeping acting like the Chargers and Steelers won the lottery from landing DeCastro and Ingram in the first round. I know time will tell when it comes to really knowing how we did, but at this moment – I am not too happy about it. Are there others out there that feel this same sense of disappointment?