One thing that most of us can agree on is that Dallas has done fairly well over the past few drafts. One might even go so far as to say that the Cowboys have exceeded expectations in recent years. In the last few years the team has selected Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Morris Claiborne, Travis Frederick, and Zach Martin during the first round. Four of the five have earned their keep and then some, earning league-wide recognition for their efforts. Only Claiborne has been a disappointment. That, my friends, is a pretty good run.
One could also argue that during the same period the Cowboys have squandered picks as well. Dallas took a chance on a small school safety during that time-frame who never saw action more intense that the trainer's tub. In the same column with Matt Johnson we can also find Danny Coale, who was always wide open because you don't have to worry about covering the guy in the tub. Does anyone remember a guy named David Arkin? Yeah, the project that never panned out at guard. These are the risks that you take with guys in the later rounds. Draft a guy in the middle to late rounds and have him become a serious contributor and a GM looks like a genius. Draft one that does not, and fans will second guess you from now to doomsday. It does not matter if it is injury or a lack of ability, someone takes the blame.
Drafting is like fortune telling, sometimes the soothsayer is correct, but there are no guarantees in this business. Guys who work in the business invest their whole year in to the action that takes place on three nights in the spring. Those days are game days for the personnel types around the league. Their season, and their jobs, often ride on the results of their efforts. With few notable exceptions, nobody in those roles around the league is that much smarter than anyone else. Sometimes it just comes down to the roll of the dice. The odds are that Dallas should continue the trend of success in the early rounds, but drafts and teams are made on the second and third days. That is what separates the men from the boys as they say.
The Cowboys have done pretty good, but not spectacular, in recent years. Credit for that goes to the folks in the war room and the scouts out in the field. They have done an excellent job during the Garrett years, but things generally ebb and flow for most organizations. At the end of the day 32 franchises are playing a high risk game of poker. Like any game of chance there are winners and losers. Somehow everything comes out pretty even over time. The trick is that somehow a team needs to gain an upper hand against their counterparts and that is tough to do year in and year out. When all is said and done, most time thing equal out across the board.
The draft is a crap shoot, and that is what scares me every season.