The second round of the NFL Draft is one that has not been overly kind to the Dallas Cowboys in recent years. Part of the reason for this is because the front office seems to view the second round similar to how some of us would view a trip to Las Vegas. The Cowboys like to roll the dice to get the second night of the draft underway.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained seems to be the tone of the second round. Dallas likes to gamble on a guy who may have been a first-round talent had he not suffered an injury or if it were not for character concerns. The are also willing to wager on a talent at a position where there is not a pressing need.
The last time the Cowboys were rewarded with a respectable payout was in 2010. That was the year that they selected an injured linebacker out of Penn State by the name of Sean Lee.
Since that draft the team has rolled the dice several times, mostly without much success.
In 2011 Dallas took another risk to strengthen their linebacker corps with Bruce Carter. The North Carolina prospect had suffered a season-ending ACL injury that likely dropped him out of the first round of the draft. Carter flashed potential at times while with the team but he never seemed to fully grasp the concepts of any defensive scheme that he was in.
Dallas traded away their second-round choice in 2012 as part of the deal to acquire Morris Claiborne, so a solid argument could be made that it was a wasted pick as well.
The following season saw the Cowboys venture a selection at a position that was clearly not a position of need. Gavin Escobar may well prove to be an asset in this league once he moves on to another franchise, but in Dallas he never stepped up and became the weapon that we were promised.
DeMarcus Lawrence may yet prove to be a solid choice. If he can finally manage to put some injury issues behind him and stay out of the league’s doghouse, and play like he did in the second half of the 2015 season, Tank could be a good return on the franchise’s investment.
That brings us to Randy Gregory. At first glance, the gamble on his talent was a good one. A failed drug test cost Gregory tremendously on draft day, and once he was selected by the Cowboys, Randy said all the right things. The problem was that he kept doing the wrong ones. Randy Gregory has launched himself down the Joseph Randle career path and until he decided to extract his cranium from his hiney hole, his cause is hopeless.
The Cowboys second round pick from 2016, Jaylon Smith, has all the makings of being a player in the mold of Sean Lee. There has been nothing but positive news being heard from Dallas about his progress. Several Twitter videos posted by Smith reacently seem to confirm he is on the road to recovery. Still, call me skeptical if you will, but until I see Smith on the gridiron I am not going to get wrapped up in the hype.
If history holds true, Dallas will once again bet big on someone in the second round. I suspect that it will be on someone the team may feel would be an impact guy for the offense, perhaps a WR2 to pair up with Dez Bryant. A guy that can flat out run and stretch defenses would be a good gamble in my opinion. Unfortunately the Cowboys track record of late says that the guy they select will not be the difference maker they hope for. Guys like Sean Lee just don’t come around that often.