And to help their woeful defense, the Cowboys with their top draft pick add a ... running back?
10. Hate to be Buzz Killington, but I’m not about to cut my old Joseph Randle No. 21 jersey into a crop top and dive into your celebratory mosh pit over Ezekiel Elliott. Why? Because the Cowboys had - have! - much bigger holes to fill than running back.
9. They apparently had identical draft grades for Elliott and Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey. If so, shouldn’t the tie be broken by need? With Joey Bosa shockingly going to the Chargers at No. 3, maybe they couldn’t take a pass-rusher. But it’s clear a team that was 25th in sacks and forced an NFL record-low 11 takeaways needs playmakers on defense. Elliott simply doesn’t help in the area the Cowboys need the most help. Hard truth: In the 1st round the nine best pass-rushers, five best cornerbacks and two best safeties were all drafted. Poof. Gone.
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8. Allow me to merely echo the initial sentiments of a certain someone who wanted the Cowboys to draft Ramsey. Tweeted Dez Bryant to Elliott: Welcome … Let’s see what happens. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Elliott might be a slight upgrade over Darren McFadden/Alfred Morris/Lance Dunbar. But is that really going to be noticeable when the defense surrenders 30+ points per game?
7. Hope all these fans slobbering “Zeeeeeke!” over the pick are happy when in Week 1 the Cowboys attempt to stop the Giants’ passing game with pressure on Eli Manning from Jack Crawford, and coverage on Odell Beckham by Brandon Carr. Good. Luck.
6. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the importance of running backs has been greatly diluted in today’s NFL. Sorry, Elliott isn’t Emmitt Smith and this isn’t 1995. No. 4 for a running back is just too high. Why? Because 25 of the league’s 32 starting running backs weren’t drafted in the 1st round. Because the last six running backs drafted in the Top 5 have combined to make exactly one Pro Bowl. Because the Broncos just won a Super Bowl with Ronnie Hillman, and because Adrian Peterson has won only one playoff game in his career. The NFL now converts 3rd downs and scores points via the pass, and it crowns champions with defenses that rush the passer and create turnovers. In a drag race that favors big tires and huge horsepower, the Cowboys just paid for a shiny new paint job.
5. A former Cowboy was also miffed by the pick. Said Deion Sanders on NFL Network, “I love Ezekiel Elliott. But this is my dilemma. The teams that have gone to the Super Bowl and fared well, they got there by defense. Now you have the opportunity to get a real corner and you pass that up? See, that's one of those guys that is really gonna change the game. That's what I feel. I don't know about that one Cowboys.” Making the pick even more confusing: The 2017 draft will feature blue-chip running backs Leonard Fournette (LSU), Nick Chubb (Georgia) and Darwin Cook (Florida State).
4. If you were going to draft Elliott, why did you just sign Morris as a free agent? The former Redskin rushed for 1,600 yards as recently as 2012 and gained 1,000+ in three of his last four years. And, oh yeah, McFadden last season rushed for 1,000 yards in only 10 starts and without a healthy Tony Romo or Bryant. In 2015 McFadden was the NFL’s 4th-leading rusher and the Cowboys’ ground game finished in the Top 10. I mean, seriously, was this a broken running game that needed repairing? And we’re not even factoring in Dunbar, who was on a record pace for receptions by a running back before tearing up his knee. I dunno, maybe the Cowboys are going to run the Wishbone?
3. I’m less than half-joking when I say this: Cowboys fans are giddy at the pick because they saw highlights of Elliott running into the end zone a lot in college, because “Zeeeeeke!” is really fun to yell/Tweet, and because they are warped Fantasy Football owners who greatly overvalue running backs.
2. I’m sitting here lamenting the lack of defensive help, but apparently it could’ve been much worse. Owner Jerry Jones admitted to reporters last night at Valley Ranch that he attempted to trade picks No. 34 (2nd round) and No. 67 (3rd round) for Seattle’s No. 26 pick in the 1st round to draft Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. The Broncos, fortunately, beat them to the punch. Said Jones, “We were working real hard to get up there for that quarterback.” What the what?! That would’ve left the Cowboys with no picks until the 4th round and without a drop of defensive help.
1. Elliott is a good player, but a bad pick. Just not the right fit. The Cowboys have a loaf of bread but no water. So what’d they do? Went to the grocery store and bought … another loaf of bread?
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.