In 1990, the Dallas Cowboys entered the draft with the most picks of any team, courtesy of the Herschel Walker trade. Many observers expected Jimmy Johnson to wheel and deal in order to secure the players of his choice.
Johnson shuffled his picks, but not in the way most Cowboys fans expected. He burned some to move up in the first round and select Emmitt Smith. He used more in the 3rd to obtain his former Miami DL Jimmie Jones. Then, he threw a handful of picks at the Oakland Raiders for the rights to Notre Dame DB Stan Smagala. The Cowboys picked just three players on the second day.
Jimmy knew what he was doing. Look at that '90 draft top to bottom and you'll see one of the weakest crops from that decade. Jimmy figured the late rounds were a waste of time and hit his favored salsa and chips early.
This year may bring a similar scenario. The Cowboys currently hold nine selections, thought none in the first round. The Cowboys should receive another two compensatory picks, for losing Jacques Reeves and Julius Jones in last year's free agent session, giving the team eleven picks overall.
The possibility of an uncapped 2010 means a solid team like the Cowboys could forego some of their picks. The team does not have eleven holes to fill. If it could produce another draft crop like 2008's, it would be happy. Dallas selected just six players last year, but the first five -- Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, Martellus Bennett, Tashard Choice and Orlando Scandrick -- all made significant contributions their rookie seasons.
I was told this week that any draftees cut during trainin camp this year will have their salaries count against this year's cap. That means Dallas could accrue more dead money should it use all eleven picks and see only five or six make the final squad. A source hinted that Dallas might seriously consider packaging picks to move up, in order to lessen the risk with its early picks and perhaps trade for 2010 selections if it finds itself at an uninspring section of its draft board.
Regarding the draft, I was told that pro days end this week and that the scouting department will reconvene next week to put the final touches on its board.
Look at the usual suspects -- offensive line, nose tackle and linebacker. Wide receiver will also receive consideration if the team finds value and don't rule out another safety, even though Dallas has made many changes to that spot in recent days, moving Scandrick to free safety if only part time, and adding veteran Gerald Sensenbaugh.
Combine the new cap rules with Jerry's itchy phone fingers and we may see another active weekend of trading when the draft rolls around.