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. 28 overall|
|2016||Joshua Garnett, G, SFO||0||1||15|
|2015||Laken Tomlinson, G, DET||0||2||32|
|2014||Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR||0||2||32|
|2013||Sylvester Williams, DT, DEN||0||3||60|
|2nd Round, No. 60 overall|
|2016||Cyrus Jones, CB, NWE||0||0||10|
|2015||Randy Gregory, OLB, DAL||0||0||14|
|2014||Kony Ealy, DE, CAR||0||1||47|
|2013||Robert Alford, DB, ATL||0||3||57|
|3rd Round, No. 92 overall|
|2016||Brandon Williams, CB, ARI||0||0||13|
|2015||Jeff Heuerman, TE, DEN||0||0||12|
|2014||Trai Turner, OL, CAR||2||3||45|
|2013||Stedman Bailey, WR, STL||0||0||38|
|4th Round, No. 133 overall|
|2016||Rashard Robinson, CB, SFO||0||0||14|
|2015||Max Garcia, C, DEN||0||1||31|
|2014||Nevin Lawson, DB, DET||0||2||32|
|2013||Levine Toilolo, TE, ATL||0||3||64|
|6th Round, No. 211 overall|
|2016||Kelvin Taylor, RB, SFO||0||0||0|
|2015||Reshard Cliett, OLB, HOU||0||0||0|
|2014||Jay Prosch, FB, HOU||0||0||47|
|2013||Michael, TE, DET||0||0||15|
|7th Round, No. 228 overall|
|2016||Riley Dixon, P, DEN||0||0||16|
|2015||Austin Shepherd, T, MIN||0||0||14|
|2014||Zach Hocker, K, WAS||0||0||8|
|2013||Jawan Jamison, RB, WAS||0||0||0|
|7th Round, No. 246 overall|
|2016||Tyler Matakevich, OLB, PIT||0||0||16|
|2015||Geoff Swaim, TE, DAL||0||0||13|
|2014||Charles Leno, T, CHI||0||2||38|
|2013||Carter Bykowski, OL, SFO||0||0||0|
When I first set out to compile the data above, I thought it would show how there was a good chance the Cowboys would be able to put together another quality draft. And while they may still be able to do that regardless, the last four years detailed above don't provide a lot of reasons for optimism.
The Cowboys have done a good job of drafting future Pro Bowlers recently. In fact, the Cowboys have drafted more future Pro Bowlers than any other team in the league over the last ten years. Since 2007, the Cowboys have selected 81 players in the draft, 13 of which went on to make at least one Pro Bowl. Here's how that compares across the league over the last 10 years.
|MOST PRO BOWLERS DRAFTED SINCE 2007|
|Team||Draft Picks||Pro Bowlers||in %|
Granted, Martellus Bennett and Dwayne Harris are both included in those 13 players and both made the Pro Bowl after they left Dallas, but they were drafted by the Cowboys so they count against the Cowboys' tally.
But when you look at the 28 players drafted over the last four years with the Cowboys' 2017 draft picks, there's only one Pro Bowler to be found, a success rate of just 3.5%. That's disappointing, but not every drafted player can be a Pro Bowler anyway.
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 28 and pick 92 have combined for just 15 starter seasons out of a possible 30.
And it doesn't get much better beyond the top 100, even when considering that pickings have always been slim beyond the third round. Over the last four drafts, only 19% of the prospects drafted on the third day of the draft became starters for at least one season. Of the 20 players drafted with the Cowboys' final four picks, just four (20%) have managed to play at least one season as a starter.
Picking where they are at the bottom of every round, the 2017 Cowboys don't have a lot of draft capital to begin with. You can calculate the draft capital of each draft class by simply adding up the value of each team's picks on the Trade Value Chart to arrive at a total value of each draft class.
Using that approach, I calculated how the Cowboys' 2017 draft capital compares to the draft capital in each draft since 1992. The 2017 draft ranks 21st out of those 26 drafts:
|Year||Draft Capital||-||Year||Draft Capital||-||Year||Draft Capital|
Historically, the Cowboys have not done particularly well in drafts where they haven't had a lot of draft capital, but then again, nobody said you weren't allowed to pick multiple future Pro Bowlers and multi-season starters when you're drafting at the bottom of each round.
How the 2017 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."