2002 Draft is Still a Success
I know its looking pretty dark for that class's future for our beloved team.
Derek Ross? We hardly knew ya. Jamar is long gone, AB right behind him (and Morgan yet to distinguish himself in AB's place) and now Hunter too is officially kaput.
Meanwhile the ice is growing increasingly thin underneath the feet of Andre Gurode & Tyson Walter.
That leaves Roy as potentially the last man standing and while I am still of the opinion that we need to see how Roy plays with a real set of CB's (now in place for the first time) and a decent FS (uhhh, might have to wait a bit longer on that one) and at his true position of strength, SS. But does it bother anyone else just a little that we have to keep making excuses for Roy. The flip it the other way, isn't he supposed to be the type of player that made others better instead of being held back by them. Anyone just a little tempted to consider a different player in that slot if we could "do over".
But I digress...
My real point is that inspite of the well developed storm clouds representing the failure of player after player in that much heralded Cowboy draft class, their remains a rainbow in this whole mess. A very REAL rainbow.
Now we all wish all those players had delivered on the considerable potential many experts pointed to when assessing that draft on the morning after. Yeah, we're bummed. But don't let that cause you to gloss over an important fact. Even if everyone of those players washes out tomorrow, 2002 was still a turning point because it was the draft when conventional wisdom was invited back to VR on draft day after having been banished along with Jimmy back in 1994 and allowed only on a couple brief ocasions since to offer any counsel at all (see Greg Ellis & Flozell Adams).
The point is conventional wisdom was back front and center in 2002. Roy was highly, highly regarded by almost everyone. The Cowboys surprised no one when their pick at 6 was called and they moved on down. Wasn't that their clear MO since 94? If a real player falls to you - trade down to let someone else grab him (see Tony Brackens). So when Dallas moved down to #8 it seemed certain that someone else would swoop in and grab Roy - leaving us once again with leftovers. That is when the new Cowboy draft era stepped forward. Roy was in fact the pick at #8 and we grabbed an extra 3rd & 6th to boot. GASP! Cowboys get their man AND a couple extra picks. Then came Gurode - and everyone sat up once more. This was no Kendall Watkins but rather a highly regarded OG that fell right in our laps and instead of letting someone else grab him (can't get Brackens out of my head), we simply said thank you very much.
Next came Antonio Bryant, a 1st rounder in the minds of many, who fell due to a troubled reputation. But hey that's cool cuz we nabbed two sure-fire players already. Time to gamble a bit and those extra picks (via KC) just lowered the stakes a bit. Ditto Ross.
At that point some (and I don't mean folks with Silver & Blue glasses) actually suggested that each of our 4 picks to that point were potentially 1st round material. SHOCKING.
Martin, Hunter, Walter & a guy I can't recall (was Lehr in 2001?) completed the draft.
Sadly, this class has fallen badly from where expectations initially began. Maybe that draft will ultimately grade as a D. But don't forget that on April 2002 it was initially graded an A by many impartial and astute observers. Sometimes even conventional wisdom fails. But on that day it was at least invited back to run the draft and appears to have taken up residency there once more.
Throw stones at the final results if you wish. But be glad that conventional wisdom returned in 2002 and resultingly has increased our odds of success many times over vs the previous approach - whatever that was.