Random thoughts, musings and misgivings from the BTB writers as we look back on the draft with a little more distance.
Do the Cowboys value Darren McFadden more than we thought?
Rabblerousr: Going in to the draft, I suspected that the Cowboys liked their current stable of running backs a lot more than fans do; that was one of the reasons I continually cautioned people that Dallas could conceivably come away from the draft without a running back at all.
However, I think I underestimated just how much the Cowboys value Darren McFadden in particular. At some point during the draft show, Nick Eatman joined the gang and said that he's heard in the hallways at Valley Ranch from the Cowboys coaches that, other than Todd Gurley, they didn't see a running back in this year's draft class capable of unseating McFadden as the starter. And I don't think that's a negative assessment of this year's crop of RBs; rather, its an indication of their regard for McFadden.
That was certainly news to me...
Michael Sisemore: I learned that the Cowboys are one seriously disciplined team when it comes to their picks. I loved how they let the draft come to them, and being in Draft Town's Cowboys tent for the duration was priceless.
The Cowboys fans there were screaming for Gregory at 27, but they loved Byron Jones, too. When the 'Boys selected Jones, all the fans were still ecstatic. And when the Cowboys then got Gregory at 60, Cowboys Nation erupted! The NFCE tents around us emptied right after that, they couldn't handle the celebration.
It was a fun event and meeting fans is great especially ones with that passion. These fans didn't spend time criticizing picks but instead welcomed them. This team has been disciplined and the majority of the fans are willing to grab these FO and Coaches hands and walk with them. It's pretty amazing.
Quick! Do something! The window is closing!
OCC: For years, I've been reading and hearing about how the window for Tony Romo is closing, and how as a result the Cowboys are in win-now mode. Many have even used this win-now mode as the central argument for why the Cowboys should try and sign Adrian Peterson, or pursue other perceived quick fixes.
Yet if we review the Cowboys free agency activity, do we see a team in win-now mode? Where's the Broncos-level splash you'd expect from such an approach?
And as we review the draft, the Cowboys certainly didn't give the impression of being in any type of hurry. Trader Jerry didn't try to move back up into the first round, didn't mortgage the future (unless you consider the sixth for Geoff Swaim 'mortgaging' the future), and was generally content to sit still and let the draft come to him.
It may be a subtle difference, but it's an important difference: The Cowboys used the draft to add more talent to an already strong team, which puts them in a position to win now. That doesn't mean they are in win-now mode with all the attendant short-term decision making and knee-jerk reactivity.
The Cowboys continue to stick to their plan
Tom Ryle: I learned that the Cowboys are very confident in what they are doing, and really don't give a hoot (to be polite) about what anyone outside the organization thinks. I don't say this is a big revelation, or that it's very different from how any other teams feel, but I just find myself both amused and frustrated by all the voices bemoaning what Dallas "should" have done, mostly about not taking a running back.
I understand disagreeing with picks, but it is rather arrogant to state that the team is wrong. Even the most dedicated journalist is not able to put 1% of the effort and resources into scouting that the teams do, and that is being very generous. Of course there are some grievous mistakes made, but we won't really know who those are for a while.
In the case of the Cowboys, they clearly have a plan. And that plan includes a willingness to embrace some risk and go for players that Dallas sees as more valuable than other teams do. It has been working pretty well the past couple of years, at least, but I am willing to put some faith in the staff, at least until we start seeing how these newest picks work out on the field.
Are the Cowboys becoming a model organization?
Dawn Macelli: This draft reinforced some things for me. It was very clear that Dallas has the utmost faith in the folks who are making evaluations of player personnel. The culture change that we have discussed so many times during the Garrett era was very evident throughout the draft. This team is well on its way to establishing itself as being a supremely well run business operation.
Sound and defensible decisions are being made at the top of the leadership charts and that is only possible when the people down the flow charts are highly competent and their work is trusted by those at the top. The best of organizations in any field achieve success by cultivating this culture and Dallas is well on its way toward becoming a model organization once again.
Nerves of steel
Gary Morris: I don't know if you can call it learned, but the draft reinforced three things for me.
- We have been told for a while that the running backs we have will be able to get the job done at a high level. Ryan Williams, Darren McFadden, and Joseph Randle will fight it out for the starting spot and the others will fill in as needed. (The more I think about it, the more I think Randle is in a bad spot.)
- Jerry is very comfortable with this group of coaches and is also very pleased with the progress and program.
- It took nerves of steel to sit and wait for Gregory through almost all the second round. In the past, we more than likely would have seen a trade up for him.