Here are a few leftover storylines from the draft.
Romo-mentum: When a prized QB prospect unexpectedly fell into their laps on draft day, the Cowboys didn’t take the bait. The traded away the pick and hitched their wagon firmly to Tony Romo. Brady Quinn and Tony Romo will be forever linked in Dallas draft lore. The Cowboys absolutely did the right thing by making that trade, but there will always be a little part of me watching Brady Quinn’s progress, and comparing that to Tony Romo’s. Jerry Jones just told Tony Romo he’s the man in Big D. Let’s hope he justifies the faith.
Cleveland Haters Fan Club: I don’t think I’ve ever rooted as hard against one team over the course of an entire season more passionately than I will be rooting against the Cleveland Browns this year – excepting, of course, NFC East rivals. Every week, I’ll be glancing over the schedule to see who the Browns are playing and hoping for them to lose. 0-16 would be ideal. The worse the Browns are this year, the better our 1st-round pick gets in next year’s draft.
You want who?: As noted in a diary by BTB regular Terry, as relayed from Mickey Spags, the Cowboys were talking to the Detroit Lions about getting Calvin Johnson. They wanted our 1st, 2nd and 3rd-round picks, which sounds good to me. Then they had to go and spoil the whole thing by asking for DeMarcus Ware, too. I love ya’ Calvin, but there’s no way we’re making that trade.
Optimism Unbridled: It happens every year. We, the fans, want so badly for the Cowboys to excel, that our optimism bubbles over about our draft picks. We do this every year, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but the praise we’re heaping on some of the draft picks now will turn to scorn by the middle of the season. Skyler Green from last year is a good example. I can remember the days after last year’s draft talking about Skyler as that elusive return guy that we needed, he could run bubble screens and take a couple of handoffs, he might even be able to run a few trick-plays that have him passing because he was a former QB. I did it, most people did it. And look at that pick today. I’m not picking on Skyler personally, I’m just using him as an example of the optimism that shines eternal in April. Just remember, the odds say that close to half of these picks will stink. That won’t stop me, or you, from seeing the good in these picks, but keep in mind that Doug Free isn’t exactly Jonathon Ogden, yet. He's not even Flozell, yet. And Isaiah Stanback isn’t Anquan Boldin or even Atwaan Randle El, yet. Heck, he’s not even Patrick Crayton today.
The Game of Risk: Speaking of Isaiah Stanback, I like a risky pick on an elite athlete. Watching Stanback clips, you can’t help get excited about the possibilities. A smart guy with a great attitude and fabulous physical gifts. If he can catch and run routes, then we might have a gem. But, the Cowboys took the risk on a player who has to change positions and had a major foot injury. There’s more risk of him busting at WR than most of the other second-tier WR’s that we might have chosen. But, when you take the risk, it's because it can payoff big, so Stanback becomes the most intriguing player to watch from the draft class this year.
The Great Wall Revisited: The Cowboys have tried and tried to fix their offensive line, and they tried again in this draft. I’ll never complain about drafting offensive linemen, when it doubt, take a lineman, you never seem to have enough good ones. With James Marten and Doug Free, Dallas took advantage of a draft where they didn’t have a lot of glaring needs to think about the future. Flozell Adams almost certainly looks to be in his last year with the Cowboys and Marc Colombo is a free agent again in two seasons. The Cowboys hope that Marten and Free will finally free them from the burden of paying top dollar to free agent linemen in the future.
The Cowboys picked up an extra first-rounder in 2008, but that didn't help them in this draft. Marten and Free are blue-collar blockers and those were two of the better picks. Stanback is coming off a foot injury.
Too harsh. In my opinion, anything from a B to a C is an accurate range.
Dallas Cowboys: They did some top-notch wheeling and dealing with Cleveland and Philadelphia. When the first day was all said and done, Dallas basically slid back four spots in the first round, from 22 to 26, and gave up a third- and fifth-round pick for Cleveland's first-rounder next year. That was an "A+" maneuver. Too bad the rest of the draft class didn't live up to that move. Two seventh-rounders at cornerback? They had to do better than that. And some scouts think plodding offensive tackle James Marten could be a big bust. On the positive side? Anthony Spencer could be Wade Phillips' next Shaun Phillips; offensive tackle Doug Free could be a sleeper in the fourth, and kicker Nick Folk could finally shore up that weakness.