The second day of the 2008 NFL Draft for the Dallas Cowboys was a strange one indeed. Coming into the second day the Cowboys’ first pick was supposed to be #92 but Jerry Jones returned to form with a vengeance by trading back not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times until they finally used a pick at #122. All in all, I thought Jerry did a good job here as the Cowboys eventually walked out with an extra third and fourth round pick in the 2009 draft. You can check the DMN blog here for the details.
As for the actual picks:
#122 – Tashard Choice: This one is tricky for me. Everybody knows I’m a Georgia Tech guy and Tashard Choice was the heart and soul of the Yellow Jackets for the past two years. I love the guy. But, I thought it was strange for the Cowboys to choose another running back this early after picking up Felix Jones in the first round yesterday. The Cowboys could have waited until a later round or even dipped into the UDFA market since MB3 and Felix are going to be their two top backs. There’s nothing wrong with the value in choosing Choice. I watched every game he played at GT and he is a solid player. He has great vision and sees the hole well and hits it hard. He’s not afraid of contact and can run between the tackles. In the open field he’s good at making cuts and picking the correct angles to attack the defense and he can also break a tackle or two and almost always falls forward when being tackled. He doesn’t possess top-end speed that will allow him to hit the home run but is a workhorse that you can give the ball to over and over without losing steam. He had some injury problems that kept him out of games on occasion and this could be a concern at the NFL level. The kid is has great character and work ethic and will be a positive locker room guy. Still, I’m not sure why the Cowboys felt the need to draft another running back at this point of the draft. This is nothing against Choice who will probably be a good special teams guy but other needs were left unfulfilled.
#143 – Orlando Scandrick: After trading back in the early part of the second day, the Cowboys actually traded back up to get the Boise State CB. The most obvious thing about Scandrick is his speed, clocking a 4.33 in the 40. He has a lot of starts under his belt and was very good on special teams blocking kicks. He’s a little raw in technique but with his speed and good size could develop into a quality corner at the NFL level. Getting him at this point of the draft was good value for the Cowboys and adds another special teams talent. With the addition of Pacman Jones and Mike Jenkins, the Cowboys have added three cornerbacks to their roster. With Anthony Henry getting up in age and being injury-prone, the Cowboys could be preparing to move him - at least part-time - to safety. When this subject was broached yesterday at the press conference Wade Phillips didn’t knock it down, saying only that a decision like that is “down the road”. The Cowboys could also be preparing themselves for the upcoming contract negotiations with Terence Newman who is a free agent after this year. Jerry has done a nice job of turning a Cowboys weakness into a strength and preparing for the future. It could also mean the guys currently on the roster like Alan Ball and Evan Oglesby will be fighting for a roster spot.
#167 – Erik Walden: The Cowboys dipped into the small school pool for an undersized defensive end who will have to transfer to OLB in the Cowboys 3-4 defensive scheme. In Walden’s junior year he put up 11.5 sacks and has the physical tools to rush the passer in a 3-4 scheme but will have to learn to play standing up. He’s more of a project for the future than an immediate contributor this year. 3-4 teams can never have enough linebackers, especially ones who can rush the passer, so
The Cowboys are banking on the resurgence of Roy Williams and getting Ken Hamlin signed to a long-term deal or they could get caught woefully short at the safety position past this year. They also didn’t upgrade the WR corps and only have second-year player Deon Anderson for the FB position. The idea of moving Jay Ratliff back to DE also seems to be moot at this point because they did not spend a pick on NT.
In truth, the Cowboys didn’t have a lot of positions to fill in this draft except for CB and RB and they did that exceptionally well. But they passed on acquiring some depth at key positions that could be troublesome if injury hits them at those spots. They planned for the future in terms of contracts at some spots but left others open to speculation. In the end, though, they accomplished their main goals in the draft and added a lot of speed to their team, something that was missing.
You can read my first day recap, here.