The NFL recently finalized the full order for 2016 Draft. The Cowboys will have nine selections in the draft in total, including four compensatory picks.
To get a better feel for what type of player could be waiting for the Cowboys in each round, here's an overview of the players selected in the past four years with the picks the Cowboys hold this year, along with a few selected metrics:
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|1st Round, No. 4 overall|
|2015||Amari Cooper, WR, OAK||1||1||15|
|2014||Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF||0||2||29|
|2013||Lane Johnson, T, PHI||0||3||44|
|2012||Matt Kalil, T, MIN||1||4||64|
|2nd Round, No. 34 overall|
|2015||Donovan Smith, T, TAM||0||1||16|
|2014||Demarcus Lawrence, DE, DAL||0||1||13|
|2013||Justin Hunter, WR, TEN||0||1||13|
|2012||Coby Fleener, TE, IND||0||4||45|
|3rd Round, No. 67 overall|
|2015||A.J. Cann, G, JAX||0||1||13|
|2014||Billy Turner, T, MIA||0||1||12|
|2013||Bennie Logan, DT, PHI||0||3||38|
|2012||Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN||0||1||15|
|4th Round, No. 101 overall|
|2015||Trey Flowers, DE, NWE||0||0||0|
|2014||Jaylen Watkins, DB, PHI||0||0||0|
|2013||Ace Sanders, WR, JAX||0||0||4|
|2012||Omar Bolden, DB, DEN||0||0||1|
|4th Round, No. 135 overall|
|2015||Marcus Hardison, DE, CIN||0||0||0|
|2014||Tom Savage, QB, HOU||0||0||0|
|2013||Denard Robinson, WR, JAX||0||1||12|
|2012||Matt Johnson, DB, DAL||0||0||0|
|6th Round, No. 189 overall|
|2015||Charles Gaines, CB, CLE||0||0||4|
|2014||T.J. Jones, WR, DET||0||0||0|
|2013||Mike James, RB, TAM||0||0||3|
|2012||Christo Bilukidi, DE, OAK||0||0||0|
|6th Round, No. 212 overall|
|2015||Anthony Chickillo, DE, PIT||0||0||0|
|2014||Marquis Flowers, LB, CIN||0||0||1|
|2013||Joe Kruger, DE, PHI||0||0||0|
|2012||Michael Smith, RB, TAM||0||0||0|
|6th Round, No. 216 overall|
|2015||Christian Covington, DT, HOU||0||0||0|
|2014||Andre Hal, DB, HOU||0||1||11|
|2013||Charles Johnson, WR, GNB||0||0||10|
|2012||D.J. Campbell, DB, CAR||0||0||4|
|6th Round, No. 217 overall|
|2015||Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT, KAN||0||0||0|
|2014||Ted Bolser, TE, WAS||0||0||0|
|2013||Armonty Bryant, DE, CLE||0||0||4|
|2012||Jordan Bernstine, DB, WAS||0||0||0|
When you first looked at the chart, there's a chance your eyes may have caught on the two Pro Bowlers in this table. If you go purely by the data in this table, there's a 50% chance that the fourth pick could get a future Pro Bowler in 2016. And if you consider that four of the Cowboys last six first-round picks made the Pro Bowl, there may be reason for optimism for the Cowboys' top pick. But frankly, that's what you would expect from the fourth-overall pick, in fact, if the Cowboys first-rounder this year isn't a future Pro Bowler, it'd be a huge disappointment.
But after the first round, there's a big fat row of zeros in the Pro Bowlers column. Despite the first four picks being very high in each round, the net result over the last four years in terms of Pro Bowls has got to be disappointing.
It's a commonly repeated phrase that the top 100 picks are where you get your future starters in the draft. Except that hasn't worked out too well for the teams drafting in the spots the Cowboys hold this year. The 12 prospects drafted here between pick 34 and pick 101 have combined for just 13 starter seasons out of a possible 30.
And it gets even worse beyond the top 101. The 20 players drafted with the Cowboys' final five picks have managed just two combined starter seasons between them. Apparently, it's become a thing to hyperventilate about the Cowboys' lack of success in rounds four and beyond like it's some kind of a new insight or revelation. But pickings have always been slim beyond the third round, not just for the Cowboys. Over the last six drafts, only 19% of the prospects drafted on the third day of the draft have become starters for at least one season.
The Cowboys have assembled more draft capital in the 2016 draft than in any other draft since 1992. But as we can see from the historic draft picks assembled in the table above, this draft capital does not automatically give you a stellar draft. This could turn into a draft that yields multiple Pro Bowlers and multi-season starters but could just as easily yield a lot of zeros behind the name of most drafted players.
How the 2016 draft class ultimately turns out is anybody's guess right now, but if the Cowboys have done their homework, then they have a chance of having a good draft, as Jason Garrett summarized after the 2013 draft:
"We use the expression, ‘If we,’" Garrett said. "If we evaluated these guys the right way and saw them the right way, we feel good about their potential to compete as starters, compete for roles or be special teams guys.
"If they are who we think they are, you have a great chance of having a good draft."