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Cowboys Cleaning Up in the Bargain Basement

During much of the first half last Saturday, the first team Cowboys offense lined up with a skill position set that could challenge for the All-Remainders title.  The Cowboys moved the ball and controlled the clock with:

  • QB -- Tony Romo -- undrafted free agent
  • RB -- Marion Barber -- 4th round
  • TE -- Jason Witten -- 3rd round
  • WR -- Patrick Crayton -- 7th rounder
  • WR -- Miles Austin -- undrafted free agent
  • WR -- Kevin Ogletree -- undrafted free agent

That's a lot of bang for not much buck.  Only Witten cost what used to be called a "first day pick." 

Let's go a little deeper, and break down each offensive position by draft status.  The skill positions boast some of the Cowboys scouting staff's best finds the past decade.

Quarterback

  • Romo -- UFA
  • Kitna -- UFA
  • McGee -- 4th round

Romo is one of the decade's great bargains.  Kitna was a UFA in the '90s and the Cowboys love McGee, who will be another big value if he pans out.

Running Backs & Fullbacks

  • Barber -- 4th
  • Jones -- 1st
  • Choice -- 4th
  • Anderson -- 6th

The Cowboys know how to scout running backs.  If they could trade one of the 4th rounders for a high pick or a quality starter in the future (this is purely hypothetical folks) I think they would do it, because the organization has confidence it can find another one.

Wide Receivers

  • Williams -- 1st
  • Crayton -- 7th
  • Austin --UFA
  • Hurd -- UFA
  • Ogletree -- UFA

Dallas has made the most from the least.  They paid a mint to get Williams, but everybody else has been cheap,at least in draft investments. And lets not forget that T.O. cost only money as a free agent and Terry Glenn was swiped from Green Bay for a 6th rounder. 

Tight Ends

  • Witten -- 3rd
  • Bennett -- 2nd
  • Phillips -- 6th

The Cowboys like using 2nd and 3rd rounders on tight ends, and their record is pretty good.  Even their "miss," Anthony Fasano, produces for the Dolphins.  If you're going to use high picks on a position, you better hit, and Dallas has hit.

That's been true of all their 1st round skill position guys.  Felix Jones looks like a quality player.  Williams looks ready to rebound, if he can banish the bruise bug.

The happy thoughts on offense end, unfortunately, with the skill positions.  You won't see an offensive lineman here, because the team hasn't hit big with one since Andre Gurode in '02.  The other names resemble a junkyard of Pontiac Aztecs and Cadillac Cateras, hulking, rusting, big-ticket failures. 

How can a team that can make stars out of street free agents be so lousy at finding big guys to give them interference?  I'm sure the Cowboys ask themselves that question nearly every day.

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