Cowboys Need More From Their 2012 Draft Class

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 draft class missed a significant part of the season with injuries, and the Cowboys did not see a lot of production form last year's rookie class. Will the class of 2012 step up this year?

The seven players the Cowboys selected in the 2012 Draft appeared in a combined 57 NFL games last year. Those 57 games rank the Cowboys 25th in the league. The league average last year was 72 games, with eight teams even getting more than 90 games out of their 2012 draftees. That total would likely have been higher had the Cowboys kept their second-round pick, and it would almost certainly have been higher had last year's draft class not been as snake-bit as it turned out to be. Either way, there's no question that in 2013, the Cowboys must see significantly more production from the 2012 draft class.

The 2012 draft class missed a significant part of the season with injuries. Matt Johnson, Danny Coale and Caleb McSurdy all ended up on the IR list. Kyle Wilber missed most of the offseason program with a broken right index finger he suffered in rookie mini-camp and then broke his thumb halfway through training camp, neither of which was conducive to garnering a lot of playing time during the season.

And the Cowboys didn't get a lot of production from their UDFAs either. RB Lance Dunbar and WR Cole Beasley both appeared in the majority of games for the Cowboys, albeit with very limited snaps, but that was mostly it. Highly touted OG Ronald Leary didn't see a single snap, and DE Ben Bass landed on IR after two games.

With all eyes on the 2013 draft class it's easy to overlook last year's rookie class and its meager production. But if the Cowboys want to be more successful in 2013 than last year, they must not only get the 2013 draft right, the 2012 draft class must also come through for the Cowboys.

And while you often hear arguments about how a situation like this basically gives teams an extra rookie class in the next year, as many of these rookies essentially redshirted their rookie season, the reality is that most of the players who'll have to prove themselves in 2013 are late-round picks who didn't have very high odds of success to begin with. Then again, long odds didn't stop Miles Austin and Tony Romo from becoming key starters for the Cowboys.

Here's an overview of some participation stats for the 2012 rookie class.

Drafted players, 2012 Unrafted players, 2012
Player Pos Snaps Games Player Pos Snaps Games
Morris Claiborne
CB 909 15 Lance Dunbar RB 91 12
Tyrone Crawford DE 303 16 Cole Beasley WR 128 10
Kyle Wilber
OLB 16 10 Ben Bass DL 26 2
Matt Johnson
S 0 0 Ronald Leary OG 0 0
Danny Coale
WR 0 0 Tim Benford WR 0 0
James Hanna
TE 109 16
Caleb McSurdy
ILB
0 0

In 2013, the Cowboys will need more from their 2012 rookie class. Will they get it?

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