Did I miss something?
Best I recall the Cowboys were 4-12 last year. Aside from Tony Romo’s injury, they were beset by a glaring lack of defensive playmakers that led to a record-low 11 takeaways. Entering the draft they had well-defined defensive needs, and the pick ammunition to adequately and immediately satisfy them.
So why did the Cowboys draft like a 12-4 team?
They drafted running back Ezekiel Elliott, although they have the NFL’s 4th-leading rusher and just signed a solid veteran backup in free agency.
They attempted to trade two primo picks to select quarterback Paxton Lynch, even though owner Jerry Jones expects Romo to play as many as five more seasons.
They spent a high pick on injured linebacker Jaylon Smith, who likely won’t step on the field in 2016 and is not guaranteed to ever return to 100 percent.
After failing to trade up to draft Lynch and Connor Cook, they stubbornly settled for Dak Prescott in the 4th round.
And with their last pick in the 6th round they drafted, yep, a guy who hasn’t played football since the 6th grade.
In between the confusion, I like the picks of defensive linemen Maliek Collins and Charles Tapper, cornerback Anthony Brown and safety Kavon Frazier. But otherwise, the Cowboys drafted like a team that could afford the luxury of taking risks. And they can’t.
In Elliott they didn’t fix a problem, but merely strengthened a solution. With Elliott, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar on the roster, they totally wasted a pick in the 6th round with yet another running back in Darius Jackson. Prescott is a talented athlete, but it's difficult to fathom him beating out Kellen Moore to be Romo’s backup this year. (Stop with the Cowboys "like him all along" rhetoric. Yeah, I really liked my prom date, too. Especially after the first two girls turned me down.) And I know Antonio Gates started his Hall of Fame, tight-end career as a basketball player, but does Rico Gathers have real potential or did the Cowboys draft a player that otherwise would have gone undrafted?
Bottom line: The Cowboys drafted nine players. Four of them – Smith, Prescott, Jackson and Gathers – have no chance of getting on the field and helping them in 2016.
High risk-reward picks are well and good for 12-4 teams or defending Super Bowl champs that can afford the luxury of patience. But the Cowboys haven’t sniffed a Super Bowl in 20 years. They need help. And they need it now.
This was the draft where the Cowboys needed to better their team. Instead, it feels like the front office tried to prove to the NFL how clever it could be.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.