After a season of watching them play, ESPN’s preeminent draft aficionado Mel Kiper has deemed the Dallas Cowboys’ 2011 Draft Class to be okay--not good, not bad. Kiper gave the team a “C-plus” for their last draft, which is passing and all, but still not great--especially considering that immediately after the draft, he gave the team a B-minus.
This class is comprised of tackle Tyron Smith, linebacker Bruce Carter, running back DeMarco Murray, guard David Arkin, cornerback Josh Thomas, receiver Dwayne Harris and fullback Shaun Chapas.
Smith started every game and Murray famously burst onto the scene as the Cowboys’ best runner before a fractured ankle ended his season prematurely. Carter and Nagy (who was actually a starter briefly) dealt with injuries for most of the year, Chapas saw limited action and Arkin was never active for a game.
Of the group, only Thomas is no longer with the team.
Anyway, here’s what Kiper had to say about the class, via ESPN Dallas:
Summary: I said then that I liked the conviction Dallas had to get younger on the offensive line, stay at No. 9 and take Tyron Smith, even though that was no home run in terms of value. Still, that pick turned into a win for the Cowboys. Smith, who started all season as a 20-year-old, played on the right side, but all indications are he could develop into a blindside tackle if they find it necessary to move him there. The grade rises if he can. Right now, a right tackle isn't your goal with a lineman taken at No. 9 overall. Bruce Carter’s NFL script is still unwritten, but DeMarco Murray obviously was a great value in the third before he went down for the year. Murray's injury, incidentally, is why it's hard to ever say a great running back out of the third round is a "steal" -- RBs land in the third because you expect them to get hurt. It's just reality. There isn't much else here so far. Dwayne Harris flashed in the preseason but wasn't a factor. Aside from Smith, the best rookie was kicker Dan Bailey, but alas, he wasn't drafted and thus can't be factored in here.
Hey, it could’ve been worse. We could’ve traded a bushel of picks to Detroit for Roy Williams.
Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe to this free service. Read more about it here.