As the Cowboys coaches prepare to coach the NFC Pro Bowl team, the scouts have been at the Senior Bowl and are knee deep in preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine at the end of the month. With the way that the season ended, many people feel like the team should concentrate on the defense to ease the Aaron Rodger memories sketched in Cowboys fans brains. The reality is that the Cowboys recent history has shown that they will take gradual growth rather than risk a bad contract or over emphasize a side of the ball over best available talent. This is the moment that fans should not fall for the Smoke & Mirrors of a lost season.
As a Cowboys fan, you should know what I am talking about. If not, let’s use exhibit A, which is the 2000 draft where the team drafted four defensive players out of five draft picks. This is the draft that produced CB Dwayne Goodrich, CB Kareem Larrimore, CB Mario Edwards and LB Orantes Grant, with Edwards being the only one who had a prolonged career. I’m not here to judge a draft that is over sixteen years old but organizational trends are just that, trends, and in case you are interested the other pick was Michael Wiley from Ohio Sate who had a short-lived career in Dallas.
As many of you know Goodrich was a CB from Tennessee drafted in the second round who made a terrible mistake in his life that derailed his career. As a fan and well as a human being it was good to see his redemption. If you’ve forgotten who the Cowboys first round pick in the 2000 draft was, it’s not your fault. In 1999 the team traded the first round pick to the Seahawks for our favorite Buckeye receiver Joey Galloway. You might have erased that part of Cowboys history from your brain due to the fact that Jerry was reaching, hoping that he could prolong Aikman’s career with a deep threat.
I could be wrong! One draft doesn’t constitute a bad trend of overreaction to a season. Exhibit B: The 2001 Draft which could go down as one of the worst drafts of Jerry Jones ownership. The team drafted QB Quincy Carter, S Tony Dixon, DT Willie Blade, LB Markus Steele, OG Matt Lehr, DT Daleroy Stewart, DE Colston Weatherington, DT John Nix and Char-ron Dorsey. We’ve all heard the story of Quincy Carter so there is no reason to rehash it but the reality behind this draft is that Tony Dixon is the only draft pick that had something resembling a career in the NFL.
For you young Cowboys fans reading this article, who may have never heard of the aforementioned players, it could be the closest thing to translating a foreign language and the beauty behind sports is that it transcends race and religion but for us long time fans it’s a reflection of the success that the 2016-2017 Dallas Cowboys had with two rookie centerpieces, front row and centered. If you’re a fan of America’s Team and would have predicted that the Cowboys would have been 13-3 at the end of the season without Tony Romo, you should consider betting professionally at Caesars Palace.
When you are a true fan, you take the incremental growths that your organization provides so that you can see a glimpse into the future. If you haven’t been paying close enough attention to the NFL standard of organizational growth, you have to look no further than the New England Patriots. For most fans it kills them to hear that but the the reality as a NFC East resident is that Robert Kraft and Bill Belicheat has built a model organization for teams to follow. The NFL is a monkey see, monkey do business and the problem is that the viewpoint has been always about the players not the organization. The stable organizations have seen the most playoff success consistently and that’s not something that you could argue.
When the NFL Draft rolls around in April and the Cowboys are on the clock, the real fans will be hoping that the team drafts building blocks that will sustain this team over the next two to four years to keep the talent level at a high level. The organization is in good hands with Will McClay and his scouting staff that evaluates the college talent on a year to year basis. As fans, we want immediate satisfaction of playoff wins and Super Bowl champions but having a program that churns out drafted players that produce at a high level will suffice enough for me.
As the team moves into the draft and free agency part of the offseason, all that I ask is that they add the right talent to allow them to compete at a high level and sustain the talent and systems that will make the organization a perennial playoff contender because what most NFL fans have learned is that once the playoffs come, it’s open season!
So Mote It Be!