The Dallas Cowboys 2006 draft was anything but boring, with picks ranging from the "sure thing" to the "unknown thing". Dallas kicked off the draft by calling the name of OLB Bobby Carpenter at #18 in the first round. The pick was greeted with favorable reviews and comments like "no surprise there". But when they called Pat McQuistan's name in the 7th round (#211), mass confusion broke out in the media as everyone was sure Paul McQuistan had already been drafted in the 3rd round. Turns out he had, but the Cowboys had drafted his twin brother Pat McQuistan who also played at Weber State. To say he was unknown is an understatement, nobody had any idea he even existed.
Over the weekend Dallas grabbed a mixture of great picks, value picks, and picks that made you say hmm. Throw in a few trades and the Cowboys exited the draft with an eclectic mix of players; some ready to contribute, some who are most definitely projects.
Bobby Carpenter / OLB /Ohio State ... 1st round (#18)
Bobby Carpenter has been discussed at length on this blog, he was the pick BTB had on the board for a month. So I'll just say the Cowboys nailed this pick. He should be the starter at the beginning of the year and will be a big boost to the Dallas defense. The combination of DeMarcus Ware and BC should wreak havoc this year.
Anthony Fasano / TE / Notre Dame ... 2nd round (#53)
The second round pick caught everyone off guard. If I'd known in March that 2 TE sets were going to become our base offensive formation, I would've been prepared. As it was, the shock of drafting a TE made me downgrade the pick initially. Time and an explanation of the new offense from Jerry Jones have made me re-evaluate the pick.
Looking at it a couple of days later, in makes much more sense. The Cowboys needed a physical TE to block, but who also has good hands. Fasano is that and also runs great routes. Dallas can move him around and line him up as an H-back, leaving Witten free to be the third WR. His combination of blocking and catching ability creates a nice package and he was decent value in the 2nd round. Overall, looking at the pick now after the initial shock, it's a decent pick.
Jason Hatcher / DE / Grambling St. ... 3rd round (#92)
After last year's draft, Dallas looked stocked at the DE position. But Parcells wasn't satisfied and drafted another one. Jason Hatcher has a great body for the position and by all accounts has a potentially good upside. He's still raw and played against small-school competition so is somewhat of a risk. Normally, I like these kinds of picks; high-risk high-reward. But in this case, I would've liked to have seen Dallas address the offensive line position while a lot of talented players were still on the board. If Hatcher doesn't pan out, this is a missed opportunity we may come to regret.
Skyler Green / WR / LSU ... 4th round (#125)
Dallas addressed two needs with this pick. One, they needed a 4th receiver, and Skyler can do that. Because of his size - he should be used in the slot - he can be highly effective but in a limited role. But this isn't the main reason Dallas picked him.
The Cowboys addressed a second need with this pick, special teams. Dallas' punt return average last year was pathetic. Skyler Green will change that immediately and they can also use him on kick returns. Bill Parcells loves gadget plays and Skyler Green opens up all kinds of possibilities. A former QB in high school, he can run reverse passes, straight reverses, and bubble screens. When he gets the ball in his hands he's a home run threat. Dallas just added a dynamic playmaker to their roster.
Pat Watkins / FS / FSU ... 5th round (#138)
This may end up being their best value pick of the draft. Watkins had 3rd round talent but teams were scared off in part because he's exceptionally tall for a safety. At 6'5", the theory is he's too tall to change directions quickly enough at FS. It hasn't hurt him so far. The Cowboys needed a deep cover, ball-hawking safety and Watkins is that. In addition, he's one of the better special teams players in college ball, mainly as a gunner on punt coverage and also was used to block FGs. This is a player that could get significant playing time this year and could be the starter later in the year.
Montavious Stanley / NT / Louisville ... 6th round (#182)
Another great value pick for the Cowboys, some thought Stanley had 4th round talent. Montavious will backup Jason Ferguson and is physically perfect for the role. At 6'2" and 315 lbs, he's a very strong player who can hold his ground against double-teams. He loves playing NT where statistical glory is found in how many plays the ends and LB'ers make. In other words, unselfish. Dallas needed a NT badly in this draft and got a good one.
Pat McQuistan / OL / Weber State ... 7th round (#211)
Dallas reached here for someone they probably could've gotten as an undrafted free agent. Not as talented as his twin brother and 3rd round pick Paul McQuistan, Pat is a versatile lineman who has great leg strength but needs work on the upper body. The Cowboys probably like his versatility (guard or tackle) and hope he catches up to his brother one day. They could've waited though and got him after the draft.
E.J. Whitley / OL / Texas Tech ... 7th round (#224)
Another versatile offensive lineman who needs to get stronger. Whitley is a smart player who uses good technique and has played almost every position on the line. He probably projects to either guard or center. If he's going to make any kind of impact he's going to have to get much stronger and show he can run block.
Dallas did a lot of things right in this draft. They got their OLB which was a must and also found a player to help at FS. They improved their special teams and got a back-up NT. With the change to a 2 TE offense, Anthony Fasano or a similar player was a must.
But they failed to address the offensive line in any substantive way. The two picks in the 7th round won't make a big impact this year. They reached for a sleeper on the defensive line in the 3rd who will leave a big gap in this draft if he doesn't pan out.
Overall, a solid but not a great draft for Dallas.
My grade: B-