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Draft Isn't a Black Hole Anymore

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Cowboys have defied conventional football wisdom by refusing to hire a general manager for quite a long time now.

    For much of that time, their refusal to do so has made them an easy target because of the lack of production from draft class after draft class. All you need to do is mention names like Isaiah Stanback, Jason Williams and Jacob Rogers to elicit snickers from those who think Jerry Jones doesn't have the slightest clue when it comes to talent evaluation.

    While we're not quite ready to say the Cowboys have been vindicated in their stubborn approach to building a roster, it does look like things are starting to clear at Valley Ranch. The team has pulled off two straight productive drafts, something that should go a long way toward keeping the team in contention in the years to come.

    There's probably not much need to wax rhapsodic about DeMarco Murray, because everyone's been doing that for the last three weeks. That said, grabbing the most productive player on your offense with a third-round pick is worth a pretty resounding pat on the back.

    Of course, no running back can succeed without a strong offensive line so the fact that the Cowboys found two starters in the draft is also worthy of praise. Tyron Smith wasn't seen as a sure thing when he went ninth overall, but he's been the team's best offensive lineman to this point in the season. Bill Nagy is done for the year, which is a shame because he didn't look totally overmatched in the middle of the line as a starter out of the seventh round.

    The jury's out on Bruce Carter after just two games, but hopes should be high for his future based on Sean Lee's development as an inside linebacker. It took Lee a while to fully acclimate himself, but he was playing at a very high level before dislocating his wrist and his showing definitely says something about the Cowboys' ability to recognize talent at the position.

    Dez Bryant's flaws get so much airtime that it can be hard to remember just how good he has been over the first 24 games of his career. Maybe he won't turn into Michael Irvin, but the fact that such a thing has been spoken about without much eye rolling says something about the value of grabbing him.

    Bryant and Lee draw the most headlines from the 2010 class, but Sean Lissemore has quietly put together a strong body of work on the defensive line this season. He's been outstanding against the run and asking for more than a strong situational player out of the seventh round is pretty greedy.

    There have still be misses, with three non-factors in the secondary at the top of the list, but five starters and one productive rotational player out of 14 picks with Carter coming on is a pretty good record for any team.

    For the Cowboys, it is virtually a windfall of riches.