While there have been many legitimate complaints of some of the more recent draft experiences for the Dallas Cowboys war room (remember the "special teams" draft that lived up to the word "special" in a very disappointing manner), the last few opening nights have turned out pretty good for the 'Boys. Looking back over the last four seasons we see that the Dallas Cowboys have selected four men on opening night who are still on the roster and three of them are significant impact makers and the fourth, well the jury is still out on him. Still a 75% success rate isn't the worst in the world. Now Jerry Jones and Company have an opportunity to make that percentage even better.
The players I am referring to are, of course, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Morris Claiborne, and Travis Frederick. Of that group Bryant and Smith recently made their first trips to Hawaii as members of the Pro Bowl team. That counts as success in anyone's book, and there is no reason to believe that both will not continue to be stellar players into the foreseeable future. Bryant has become the Cowboys undisputed #1 wide receiver while the Tyronosaurus has solidified himself as the left tackle and best player on the offensive line. To make the recent first round success even sweeter Smith is joined upfront by fellow offensive lineman,Travis Frederick, and together they will lay the foundation of what may become the next edition of the great wall of Dallas. As a rookie center, Frederick also earned honors of his own by becoming a member of the 2013 NFL all rookie team.
Only Mo Claiborne, the somewhat infamous "Pick-6", has been something of a disappointment. Even at that, Claiborne is not yet a player that should be referred to as a bust. His rookie year was filled with growing pains as he attempted to rebound from off-season surgery that delayed his ability to get on the field early on. In his second season, Pick-6 struggled to adapt to playing zone coverage, something that he has very limited experience in. For him there is still time to become the player that NFL scouts (not just in Dallas, but around the league) saw and compared to Deion Sanders. The potential is there, and it is up to new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson to get it out of Claiborne.
While the jury is still out on the 2012 pick of Claiborne, there can be little doubt among Cowboys fans that the team has hit on the other three picks. In spite of some initial concerns for Bryant and Frederick, the war room has proven their worth in first-round talent evaluation. Bryant, Smith, and Frederick can be assumed to be critical pieces of the Dallas Cowboys for some time to come. At least for the first round, the team is currently experiencing a run of success, and I see no reason to doubt their ability to maintain that streak. While there is always room for improvement, I have to paraphrase the old song from Meat Loaf and say "three out of four ain't bad".
On Thursday night I expect the team to make it four out of five.