Dallas Cowboys '06 Draft Review
Dallas Cowboys '06 Draft Review
President, NFL Draft Countdown
Last year the Dallas Cowboys had one of the best draft's in the league with Demarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Rob Petitti, Chris Canty and Marion Barber III all making major contributions in 2005. While this class doesn't appear as if it will produce results up to that level it was nevertheless a very solid effort and should provide quality depth to sustain them for the long haul.
Since early in the college season I was a big fan of Ohio St. linebacker Bobby Carpenter, always talking about him as one of the most underrated prospects out there. As time went on others saw in him what I did and even though he became a legitimate first round pick and I could no longer call him "underrated" I was still one of his biggest supporters. Even though he was overshadowed by A.J. Hawk in college Carpenter is an outstanding player in his own right and in my opinion he was one of the most complete linebackers in the entire draft. What really sets him apart though is his pass rush ability, which was so pronounced that the Buckeyes even used him as a defensive end in certain situations. Carpenter is an ideal fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker as well as a Parcells type of player, with his father having played for the Tuna back with the Giants in the 1980's. A year ago in round one Dallas hit a home run with Demarcus Ware and this time around they add another great prospect in Carpenter, who can be Carl Banks to Ware's Lawrence Taylor.
In round two the Cowboys surprised me to a degree when they chose Notre Dame tight end Anthony Fasano. It's not that I don't like Fasano as a player and I can certainly see the connection since he has often been compared to Mark Bavaro, a classic Parcells guy, but with one of the best in Jason Witten already in the fold I just felt they had bigger needs than a #2 tight end. With that said Fasano is a great all-around player who will contribute as both a blocker as well as a receiver and if the team does indeed go with more two tight end sets, as they have talked about, there should be plenty of action to go around for both guys. With their third round pick the Cowboys reached a bit for Grambling St. defensive end Jason Hatcher, who was very productive and one of the top sleepers available but probably more of a mid-Day Two guy. Once again though Hatcher is a great fit for the 3-4 scheme Dallas runs and will provide great depth behind Spears, Canty and Greg Ellis as a developmental prospect.
One of Dallas' big concerns was wide receiver depth, especially since the status of Terrell Owens is always up in the air, so in round four they brought in some help with Skyler Green of L.S.U. Known as more of a return specialist than a wide receiver in college, Green will serve as the #4 or #5 wideout while really making his mark as a return man in 2006. In round six the Cowboys chose safety Pat Watkins of Florida St., which I think is a very intriguing selection. Free safety was arguably the teams most glaring weakness and even though Keith Davis was brought back and Marcus Coleman was signed it is still a bit of a question mark. What Dallas really needs is a ballhawking playmaker with range to compliment Roy Williams, who is more of an in-the-box type, and while I would have preferred to see them address the position earlier Watkins is an interesting prospect with some great measurables who could maybe turn out to be a steal.
With their sixth round pick the Cowboys chose defensive tackle Montavious Stanley of Louisville, who is a big space eating two-gapper in the middle. Jason Ferguson was a high-profile free agent acquisition a year ago but they could still use a top backup at the nose and Stanley could be that guy for them. With their final two picks, both in the seventh round, Dallas brought in a couple of offensive tackles in Pat McQuistan of Weber St. and E.J. Whitley of Texas Tech. McQuistan's college teammate and brother Paul got most of the attention and was chosen in the third round by Oakland while Whitley carries on a strong recent tradition of the Red Raiders sending offensive linemen to the next level. Depth was certainly needed along the offensive line though and it wouldn't be a major surprise if both players were able to make the squad as developmental prospects.
One thing you have to give Dallas a ton of credit for is bringing in players who will fit in well schematically, which is a very underrated quality. It will be very hard for this class to match what last year's was able to accomplish as rookies but at the same time Carpenter should be an instant starter while others such as Fasano, Green, Watkins and Stanley could make an impact relatively early on in their pro careers. The Dallas Cowboys won't earn many style points this year and I would have liked to have seen them grab a free safety earlier but they did get a bunch of guys who will contribute for a legitimate playoff contender, which is easier said than done.