The Cowboys have love players from big schools in big conferences. They especially love players from the SEC. Here are some draft factoids to ponder while you're passing time watching prospects run drills at Indy:
Players Selected by Conference, 2000-2008:
- SEC -- 14
- Big 10 -- 11
- Big East -- 8
- ACC -- 7
- Big 12 -- 6
- Pac 10 -- 4
Schools with the most players drafted --
- Ohio State - 5
- LSU -- 4
Just call them The Ohio Stiff University
The Buckeyes have seen 62 players drafted this decade. Some of them have become fine pros -- Anthony Gonzalez, A.J. Hawk, Santonio Holmes, and Nick Mangold.
The Cowboys have yet to find one. They've taken five Buckeyes -- Bobby Carpenter, Derek Ross, Jamar Martin, Michael Wiley and Tyson Walter -- and have been disappointed every time. In fact, Dallas has had little success drafting Big 10 players. They have but two starters from the conference and only Marion Barber can claim to be a clear hit.
Dallas has seen better success selecting SEC players. Jay Ratliff, Marcus Spears, Bradie James and Jason Witten played in the conference.
It's a Regional Thing, You Wouldn't Understand
The Cowboys' affinity for southern players goes beyond the SEC. Almost half of their draftees -- 33 out of 68 -- are from old Confederate states. Factor this into your draft filters.
Worst Drafts of the Decade
2nd Runner Up -- 2004 -- This draft produced two starters -- Julius Jones and Patrick Crayton -- and two backups in Jacques Reeves and Nate Jones. Only Crayton remains, and he'll return to 3rd receiver this year.
Runner Up -- 2006: Only one starter from this bunch, and he starts for Miami. Anthony Fasano was a washout for Dallas. Jason Hatcher has at least entered the d-line rotation, but he's it from this class. Undrafted Miles Austin is the best member of this class.
The Worst -- 2000 & 2001: I'm cheating a bit, but hear me out. The 2000 class had only five players, courtesy of the Joey Galloway fiasco. The '01 class also lacked a first rounder, courtesy of that deal. Dallas selected fourteen players these years and they all sucked out loud. The '00 class was a complete disaster -- Goodrich, Larrimore, Wiley, Edwards and Grant. The Cowboys carpet bombed the secondary, adding three CBs. Only Edwards eventually made the lineup, and Bill Parcells didn't give a second thought to letting him go.
The '01 group teased briefly, but I stress briefly. When your biggest gets are Quincy Carter, Matt Lehr and Willie Blade, you don't brag about it. When you add Galloway's Cowboys' play, you have a full-scale disaster.
Best Drafts of the Decade
2nd Runner up -- 2008: The Cowboys stayed in their slots, save for one small trade up in the late first, and filled two key areas of need. They snagged Felix Jones and Tashard Choice to replenish a backfield that lost Julius Jones to free agency. The team also landed CBs Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick. Martellus Bennett came in the late 2nd to add ballast to this group.
Runner Up -- 2003: The Tuna's first crop had a lot of misses, but the hits were big ones. Terence Newman came in the first, Jason Witten in the 3rd and Bradie James in the 4th. The scouts also recruited a QB named Romo after hours.
The Best -- 2005: The Cowboys assembled a full defensive line, getting Marcus Spears, Chris Canty and Jay Ratliff in this crop. They started the day with All-Everything OLB Demarcus Ware and took nickel LB Kevin Burnett in the 2nd. Add Pro Bowl RB Marion Barber to the list and you have a full course draft meal.