In the financial world, something investors are taught to watch for is the liquidity of the investment that they are putting stock in. This is important because as an investor you may need to be able to pull out quickly to limit loss or realize greater potential in another investment. Conversely, you could also be looking for a long term strategy to park your gains without too much oversight. In an investment of that nature you typically want a safe steady rate of return, the emphasis being that when the investment matures, you want it all to be there without depreciating.So which strategy could best apply to our draft choices? The answer is debatable, but as with any investment strategy, you want a good mix to both minimize risk while ensuring a good gain. Too much of one or the other, and you are either exposing yourself to unnecessary risk, or not taking enough risk to realize a proper gain.
I feel that under previous regimes, they focused too much on the long term, and we were missing out on too many short term "liquid" opportunities, and our overall "portfolio" suffered.
During Jason Garrett's tenure as head coach so far, we have seen waves of change, both from a procedural stand point and from a cultural standpoint. I was hoping that one of those changes, which we were unfortunately robbed of the opportunity to properly gauge due to the lockout, was a change in the propensity of the club to play their rookies and 2nd year players.
With the previous regimes, often we as fans were burdened with watching declining play from veteran starters, with what seemed to be a capable younger player waiting in the wings. Often, the only reason a younger player was able to crack into the starting line-up was due to an injury, and had little to do with outplaying the entrenched veteran starter. Even when they did play, it always came with the understanding that they were likely not the answer or a long term solution ("Don't get out the anointing oil" and Columbo replacing Free in the starting lineup during the 09 playoffs specifically come to mind, though there have been many others). This all severely tempered my expectations from drafts, as returns where very often not realized until three years down the road, or in some cases even later.
What we saw last year from Garrett, even with a shortened (non-existent?) offseason, gives me optimism that in the coming draft, rookies will not be held back simply because it is their freshman season in the NFL. If they outplay their competition, they will earn the spot and playing time. With rookies and 2nd year players Tyron Smith, Demarco Murray, Dan Bailey, Sean Lee, Dez Bryant and to a lesser extent, Bill Nagy, Kevin Kowalski, Phil Costa, Sean Lissmore, and Phillip Tanner all seeing significant play time is an unexpected, and pleasant, approach from what we have seen in seasons past, and I have hope that it will be continued this season.
Also, as we watch for our next round of pet cats, it is interesting to note that in the draft last year, the first time we dipped into the small school pool was in the 4th with Arkin, and he was not active for the year. All of the impact young ‘uns came from large schools/conferences. Kowalski coming from Toledo would be the exception, though that is due to all the injuries suffered and not because he overtook a position. Lissemore also did some impressive things this season, though it seemed like the coaches had him fighting an uphill battle and didn't play as much as many of us would have liked. Regardless he had to fight and claw his way into the rotation. This should be something to consider when looking at these prospects, and may be a reason to look at a guy like Leonard Johnson from Iowa State, as opposed to someone like Josh Norman from Coastal Carolina. Likely this has something to do with level of competition, and trying to keep the game from overwhelming the player.
With this in mind, as I keep an eye out for the next group of Cowboy's draft prospects, I now look not only for those that are talented at their position, but also those that with a full off season, may be able to make an impact this season, as opposed to seasons down the line. Finally, I feel that our enthusiasm for the draft is well placed, and we no longer will have to temper our expectations with the draft completely, as Garrett and co will look to cash in with more liquid investments.