I honestly love this time of the year. Post draft, every fan across the spectrum is feeling hopeful that the latest crop of draftees and free agents are going to help their team turn the tide. Change narrow losses of last season into narrow wins this season. The emotion of it all is so palpable and I love it! And you have to tip your hat to the vast hype machine that gets turned on after the Superbowl. So thank you NFL.
The recipe is simple. It starts with a dash of the post bowl game all star games. The East-West Shrine game. The Senior Bowl. The Texas vs. the Nation game. Add in a dash of NFL Combine, where the prospects and measured and tested and ranked. Follow with a pinch of College Pro days. And then mix it slowly with (2) months of speculation, uh, I mean analysis on how good these players are and what each team needs and therefore what player will fit where. Then top off with the endless mocks drafts. I mean mocks on mocks on mocks! Man! By the time the actual draft comes around, we know exactly where our favorite team is weakest and we’ve even narrowed down exactly who should be drafted where.
Except we don’t really know how the draft will unfold. And here is my favorite part: After the draft, we grade the team immediately. Not after the 1st season or the 1st game or the even the 1st practice. Laughable.
So, I’d like to make the case on how this 2013 Cowboys Draft feels right to me using (4) points that lead me to a single conclusion, a metaphorical "4 point stance":
"Down": Universally, leading up to the draft, every pundit I read from nearly every sports outlet identified the OL as the main area of weakness for the Cowboys. Not just that, but in fact they ID’d the interior OL as the issue. "Romo gets too much pressure in his face and that leads to too many bad plays". Sound familiar? So draft an interior lineman, right? In fact, the best at his position this year.
"Set": But post draft, after the Cowboys did just that, it’s regarded as a reach. You know who’s a reach? EJ Manuel is a reach. Kyle Long is a reach. Ziggy Ansah is a reach (for how high he went). DJ Hayen is a reach. If there were only 18 players with 1st round grades, as the pundits have told us, and we pick 18, then why take the last one left? What if he doesn’t meet you primary need? What if he’s a 3 technique DT that struggles getting sacks? Pass on him, right? Trade down and get better value, right?
"Hut": But did you get enough in the trade down? Yup. You got a starter. In fact, you got a starter, a motivator and possibly future salary cap relief. Williams instantly motivates Austin to step his game up and gives the Cowboys leverage next season if they need to release Austin or reduce his salary. And what are we arguing about? Not getting a 6th too? With this teams draft record in the late rounds? Would a 6th rounder be an impact player?
"Go!": And, looking at the top half of the Cowboys draft, netting a starting Center, a starting TE (given the focus on 12 personnel), a potential starting S and a #3WR, is not bad.
So, where was I? Oh, pundits. Predraft, "Cowboys need to fix the OL. They cannot live with the interior line the way it is. And they need to add at least (1) safety that can start because Church is coming off injury and Johnson didn’t play a down last year. And look at what happened last year week 16 when Austin and Bryant went out? I would invest in a WR that’s capable of starting. And who will play the 3 technique?" Check, check, check and uh…Look it’s not the way you may have done it, but it was a solid weekend for the Boys.