This draft proves it. Ol' Jerrah is smarter than we think. Here's the evidence, and it starts with the infamous trade for a variety of reasons.
1. The trade happened before the 18th slot ever occurred. There's been a bunch of angst that they didn't even wait and let the time run down. The theory is that they wasted an opportunity for someone to poach the pick from the 49ers for more than what we got. Stupid Jerrah moved too fast.
Wrong. This trade shows an immense amount of forethought and planning. They had this trade ready to go if one of the players they really wanted didn't fall to them. Obviously, that didn't happen, and before you get on the Sharif Floyd bandwagon, remember that 22 other teams passed on him so there was something wrong there. So, without one of their targets, they went ahead with the plan that had anticipated what actually happened.
2. The angst of point one comes from the assumption is that another team would have paid more to get that pick if the Cowboys would have waited. Ummm, I'm curious what evidence is out there to support that idea. I've seen no hint that anyone else was interested. Certainly, the New York Giants, who took a player rated either lower or about the same as Frederick immediately after were not so swamped with offers that they made a trade. Certainly the Steelers right before them did not either.
Does anyone really think that if the Cowboys had put as much forethought into the draft that the trade with the 49ers shows they did, that they did not actually call the other 30 teams out there? For that matter, we *know* that no one went to the 49ers after the trade, when they could have, and offered significantly more than the 49ers gave up to get that pick. Had that happened, it would have proved the Cowboys made a mistake. However, that did not happen, and there is no evidence that anyone else was interested.
3. They only got Pick 74 for the trade!!! Stupid. They should have gotten more!!! That assumes several things. One, that the JJ chart from 25 years ago is still correct and current. It is clearly not and relying upon that chart is simply silly. I prefer the one that uses the AV of players taken in that pick. It's the one that actually measures the worth of players taken in each slot, so it actually uses some objective evidence. According to that chart, it is more like the Cowboys "fleeced" the 49ers than the other way around. Whether that was the chart they used or not, assuming things in 2013 are the same as in 1988 is foolish.
Another assumption is that the 49ers would have paid more. Let's assume for the moment that the 49ers did get the better end of the trade. Oh, no, that's terrible. Of course, there might be market factors at work. I'm going to take a guess that most of us have been to a sporting event of one type or another. I'm going to also guess that we have all bought a beverage of some type at that event. Did we get dollar draws? How about $0.89 quarts like your local convenience store? No? We paid $8 for bad beer? We paid $5 for a Coke? Damn, we're idiots and we let them fleece us.
Of course, we don't actually *have* to buy those beverages, we just choose too. We'd rather pay the premium that happens because of a monopoly or limited market rather than go thirsty. Well, everyone said that after about 15 or so, the first tier of players was done. Ergo, the 18th pick was not likely to actually bring a first tier player. So, the 18th pick was not as valuable to every other team. If the Cowboys were going to make a trade, they were in the position of having to spend a premium to get what they wanted, which was another pick in the second tier.
So, in a bad negotiating position, the Cowboys still managed to get a $2 draw according to the AV chart or at worst a $4 draw with a 10% upcharge from the old JJ chart. Huh. Not so bad.
3. And while we're at it, let's just take a small moment to mention that infamous chart. Of all the geniuses in the NFL's history, who had the idea to come up with a reference chart? Halas? Landry? Walsh? Brown? Noll? Lambeau? Nope. The idea came from Jerrah himself. Not, by the way, Jimmy Johnson. Hmmm.
4. The Escobar pick. What an idiot. We didn't have a need there. We could have had someone better who filled a need, what a waste. Well, that depends on a couple of assumptions as well. One, that there was someone better on the Cowboys draft board at that moment. We have no idea, but that seems silly to assume that someone else was higher.
Also, this assumes that tight end was not a need. Whether we like it or not, this team showed it understood exactly where the problems of this team are at. Offensive line, safety, linebacker were all positions of immediate need. We have to have starters there. Shockingly, we got a potential starter at each of those positions, with the most critical position, OLine, getting the most important resource.
Now, we have a bunch of people saying that we have a real problem on the defensive line. That we have to get more help there before we get too old. I agree.
But let's take a quick gander at the depth charts on DLine and TE.
DLine: Ware, Hatcher, Ratliff, Spencer, Lissamore, Crawford, Wilbur. Bass, Callaway. The starters are all over 30 and potentially injury-prone with a distinct chance of production dropoff. The backups are all fairly unproven. They may have flashed something, but haven't shown they can really perform as starters.
TE: Witten, Hanna, Cochart. The starter is over 30, and TEs often don't age well, despite Witten's toughness. The backup is fairly unproven. Hanna has flashed something, but hasn't shown that he can really perform as a starter. Plus, the Cowboys really want to run that 12 package like the Patriots run. You have to have 3 good pass catching TEs to run this, when allowing for injury or the potential 13 package. The Cowboys feel that their 2nd TE is a starter, so this pick goes right into the starting lineup for us, and was also an immediate need.
So which is more important *right now*? A starter? Or a backup to cover for potential injury where you already have starters and a quality backup.
Also, it seems logically inconsistent to demand that the Cowboys draft a young up-and-coming player to cover for potential drop-off of over 30-year-old starters at one position but aren't happy when the Cowboys do *exactly* that at another position. We may not have been thinking ahead, but they certainly were.
5. The Frederick pick. We picked him wayyyy too high!!! We could have got him at 47!!! Why not Ertz at 18 and Frederick at 47, those idiots. Well, that's all based on pre-draft expectations and prognostications that clearly did not line up with reality. More offensive linemen were taken in this draft that ever before. A supposed top DT in Floyd dropped. I saw some predictions that had 3 QBs taken before us. Only 1 QB was taken before the 18th pick, and he wasn't even one of the ones predicted to go before us.
It is fairly clear that the market on OLine was skewed from the original predictions. Pugh and Long were rated about the same as Frederick. *They* were supposed to be there at 47. Umm, clearly they weren't. Furthermore, there's word that the Ravens might have taken Frederick the very next pick. Whether we like it or not, offensive linemen were going higher than originally anticipated. Could the Cowboys have traded down to something inside of the half-round between 31 and 47? Maybe. Could they have waited and still gotten Frederick? Seems unlikely. What OLineman of the quality of Frederick went after him? Warford? Not really, despite what *we* think. Frederick was the last of that tier, and they got him *at worst* 16 picks higher than they could have or at best 0 picks.
Oh, and we're forgetting something that Jerrah did not. Players drafted in the 1st round are under team control for 5 years, not 4. Which is better, Frederick for 5 years or Warford for 4? Even if they picked him 16 picks higher?
6. If you haven't read Crunchberry's objective analysis in his Fanpost, you should. All of the picks graded out pretty darn well. They all fit a position of need, even if we didn't think about it as much as Jerrah did. Not too bad.
7. But all of this is because of Jason Garrett. OK, fair enough. However, it is logically inconsistent to blame Jerrah for the bad picks but credit his coaches, be they Johnson or Parcells or Garrett for the good ones. Parcells wanted Spears before Ware, remember? I'm not excusing Jerrah completely for the bad picks, but a fair-minded person also gives him credit when it's due. We can happily blame him for his idiocy for hiring Switzer and Gailey and Campo and Phillips (though I blame Parcells for this a bit, because of his execrable timing). But if we do, then we have to give Jerrah credit for hiring Johnson, Parcells, and Garrett.
8. There was an argument over the first round pick. Jerrah overruled Jason!!! They were fighting in the War Room!!!
Good. That's just what I want to see. Stupid leaders surround themselves with yes people. Stupid leaders limit the perspectives they're exposed to. Smart leaders find a variety of ideas, perspectives, and knowledge bases because no one individual idea or perspective or person is always correct.
So, let's sum up.
- Jerrah and his boys planned ahead thoroughly, putting into place a plan in case the worst case happened. Stupid people don't plan ahead.
- They identified the market for their top pick.
- They got what the market would bear for that pick. There's no argument that Jerry's an incredible businessman. I'm perfectly willing to concede that a genius in understanding markets, who has vastly more information than I do, understands the market better than I do.
- They identified the problems on this team better than we did. In retrospect, I think we took the easy route in judging the positions of need and stopped with the initial easy analysis. Certainly, I guarantee if they had taken Logan there and Witten had gotten hurt and the Cowboys were totally hamstrung at TE we'd be complaining that we didn't think ahead there.
- They got the anchor that they wanted on the OLine.I am so excited about having him do the calls. He'll make mistakes, but so did Cook. Even if he ends up at guard, I bet he makes the line calls like Kosier did.
- They thought ahead, both at the TE position and with Frederick being under team control for 5 years instead of 4.
- They got great value overall for the draft.
- They did all of this as a management team. Yeah, there was disagreement at times. Good. In the long run that will serve us well.
So, feel free to bash Jerrah. He's in a position that invites criticism and he has made many mistakes. I certainly bash him when he makes definite mistakes.
However, I also recognize that he's a very smart man who adjusts when things aren't working, and has also made a bunch of good decisions. I therefore give him credit when he makes good decisions.
And I try to be objective and do research before I make a firm decision either way. I don't simply jump on the Jerrah-sux bandwagon or drink the Kool-aid automatically. I look at the context and see if I can figure out what information was available to him when he makes decisions and judge him based on that.
I leave the automatic assumptions to the media like Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.