The Cowboys had a great draft last week. And while any notion to grade the players before they even step on the field may seem like an exercise in futility, it doesn’t stop people from trying. It seems pointless, but people just have a desire to have other people tell them how well their team has done. And if the results are favorable, then we gladly accept them, but if they’re not - then clearly this so-called “draft expert” doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about.
One of the problems with draft grades is that they are solely based on the perceived talent of the collection of players. For example, the Cleveland Browns had three picks in the first round so they stand a great chance of picking some really good players. Of course they’re going to grade well. But does that mean they made good picks at each spot? Not necessarily. Conversely, teams picking late in the draft like say, the Cowboys, are going to have a much more difficult time accumulating the same level of talent. But does that mean they didn’t draft well? Of course not.
In order to get a good idea of how well each team did in making their decisions, it’s good to take a look at the value of each pick. That is, if a team took a player that is rated higher than the position they drafted him, then that’s a good decision and will be awarded positive points. And reaching for a player that is rated lower than when he was drafted is negative points. The points are assigned based on the value of your basic draft trade chart. Just as a player selected in the first round is worth a lot more points than a player taken late in the draft, the better picks made early are worth more than those made late.
I recently came across this article by Jibbstradamus that assigns a numerical value to each draft pick. This value is compared to the value of each player on his big board. The difference becomes the true value of the pick. After comparing all the players that each team selected, the Cowboys ended up ranking seventh overall in the draft.
7. Dallas Cowboys
Overall Score: +3,070 Points
Highest Value Picks (in descending order):
1. CB Jourdan Lewis +868 (92nd overall)
2. OLB Taco Charlton +840 (28th overall)
3. CB Chidobe Awuzie +700 (60th overall)
4. WR Ryan Switzer +461 (133rd overall)
5. S Xavier Woods +202 (191st overall)
The Cowboys scored well in this evaluation process for a couple reasons. First, the players Dallas selected were ranked favorably on Jibbsy’s big board. Second, the Cowboys continued to rack up some good points in each of their first five selections. All six of the teams ahead of Dallas had some great value player of at least 1,500 points. For example, Washington’s DL Jonathan Allen was worth 2,050 points because he was fourth on the big board, but selected 17th overall. While the other top teams landed a big value player, the Cowboys got their points without a big score player, but rather by consistently making good picks.
For you to buy into this evaluation, you would first need to feel that Jibbsy’s board was put together in a reasonable manner. Here is how he ranked the Cowboys first five picks:
23. Taco Charlton – Michigan – EDGE – 6’6″ 277 lbs – athleticism – bend
43. Chidobe Awuzie – Colorado – Defensive Back – 6’0″ 202 lbs – physicality
56. Jourdan Lewis – Michigan – Defensive Back – 5’10” 188 lbs – competitiveness
63. Ryan Switzer – North Carolina – Wide Receiver – 5’8″ 181 lbs
138. Xavier Woods – Louisiana Tech – Safety – 5’11” 197 lbs
How’s that look?
One thing that is great about his board is that it passes the eye test as all these rankings are feasible. It also does a great job aligning with how the Cowboys front office felt about these players. Taco Charlton was highly adored by Will McClay and company to where 23 seems like a perfect spot for him. And many have said that Chidobe Awuzie would go between rounds one and two so 43 fits well too. Some rave that the Cowboys got two second-round corners; having Jourdan Lewis at 56 depicts that. If you’re wondering why Dallas couldn’t pass up Ryan Switzer in the fourth round, having him ranked in the 60’s would justify it. And we now know that Xavier Woods was the team’s 68th ranked player so that explains why the Cowboys fourth-round decision required some extra discussions.
Time will tell whether or not this haul of players makes a big difference for the Cowboys, but in the meantime, it’s satisfying to see that there are so many darts that have a good chance to stick. Dallas had a draft of the ages last year, but they had the luxury of picking fourth in every round. This year, they were at the back end but went out there and showed they can make great picks from anywhere in the draft.
How did the Cowboys division foes fare?
2. Washington Redskins Overall Score: +4,039
15. Philadelphia Eagles Overall Score: +2,136
23. New York Giants Overall Score: +1,602
Do you agree with this evaluation?