Before we dig into the 2015 NFL Draft, let’s take one discerning look back at the Cowboys’ 2014 haul.
A year ago fans were all abuzz about the possibility of the Cowboys taking Johnny Manziel. Instead, common sense prevailed and they took Zack Martin.
For that move alone, Jerry Jones gets an A for the draft and – oh, by the way – the NFL’s Executive of the Year award.
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1st Round - Martin was the 16th overall pick and was a starter at right guard from the first snap of Organized Team Activities. The Cowboys wanted linebacker Ryan Shazier, but the Steelers took him the pick before and, well, Dallas got lucky. Martin played all 16 games, paved the way for DeMarco Murray’s record-breaking year, and wound up in the Pro Bowl. Grade: A+
2nd Round – Dallas traded up to take DeMarcus Lawrence. He promptly broke his foot in training camp, missed the first eight games and didn’t record a sack in the regular season. But he showed signs of explosion and promise in a key sack-and-strip in the playoff win over the Lions and should be the starting left end in 2015. Grade: C
4th Round – Some teams claimed Anthony Hitchens wasn’t even on their draft board, but he ended the season with starts at all three linebacker positions. The Cowboys’ confidence in his bright future allowed them to let Justin Durant and Bruce Carter walk away in free agency. Grade: B
5th Round – Devin Street played special teams and caught two passes for 18 yards. Not enough of an impact for a middle-rounder. Grade: D
7th Round – Ben Gardner’s season never started because of shoulder surgery. With Greg Hardy arriving and DeMarcus Lawrence improving, it’ll be tough for him to ear playing time – or even make the roster – in 2015. Grade: D
7th Round – Will Smith spent the season as a rookie linebacker being signed to and cut from the practice squad. Grade: C-
7th Round – Former Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon made the Cowboys’ final cut, but was beat out of a job by C.J. Spillman. Grade: F
7th Round – Defensive tackle Ken Bishop was active for three games in the regular season and got on the field in the playoff loss to the Packers. He’s actually got a chance for quality playing time in 2015 at Dallas’ weakest position. Grade: A
7th Round – Receiver Terrance Mitchell was cut late in the summer and refused a spot on the Cowboys’ practice squad. Grade: F
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 currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.