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Draft Countdown: Dallas Cowboys '09 Draft Review

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Big Dakota, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    August 5, 2009
    Dallas Cowboys '09 Draft Review Scott Wright
    President, Draft Countdown

    The Dallas Cowboys were once considered the gold standard when it came to Draft Day success but since Jimmy Johnson left the organization in the mid-1990’s the results have been mixed. The Cowboys traded their first round pick in this year’s draft to Detroit in a deal to acquire Roy Williams but that appears to have been a wise move. Not only would Dallas have been unable to land a wide receiver as talented as Williams at #20 overall but it’s highly unlikely a rookie would have been capable of stepping in and being the true #1 target they needed in 2009. There is no question this draft was more about quantity than quality for the Cowboys but that may not be such a bad thing.

    [IMG] The Cowboys weren’t pleased with their options in round two so they chose to move down and stockpile more picks. As a result they didn’t wind up turning in a card until #69 overall, when they selected Western Illinois LB Jason Williams. A three-year starter for the Division I-AA Leathernecks, Williams played quarterback in high school and actually began his college career as a strong safety. Williams wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine but he really opened some eyes at his Pro Day workout, running a 4.4 forty, registering a 39-inch vertical leap and bench pressing 225 pounds 26 times. Williams is still raw and lacks great instincts but he has all the physical tools you look for and is a rare athlete. As a rookie Williams will help replace Kevin Burnett as a backup inside linebacker while seeing action in coverage situations and on special teams but long-term he will likely be groomed as an eventual successor for Keith Brooking, who will be 34-years-old this fall. The Cowboys were reportedly targeting Max Unger in round two but after missing out on the Oregon blocker by just a couple of picks they chose to address their offensive line by reaching for Ball St. OT Robert Brewster in round three. A four-year starter for the Cardinals, Brewster is a decent athlete with good size (6-4, 325) and long arms but he will have to work on keeping his weight in check, getting stronger and being more physical. Ironically after not missing a single game in college Brewster will miss his entire rookie season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle suffered in off-season workouts. When he returns in 2010 Brewster will provide valuable depth at both right tackle and guard. There is no question that Dallas needed some reinforcements along their offensive line but Brewster probably would have been available a couple of rounds later. With their next pick the Cowboys opted to bring in a developmental signal caller, selecting Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee in round four. One of the Top 50 recruits in the entire country coming out of high school, McGee was miscast in the Aggies option offense and never quite lived up to expectations during his time in College Station. However, strong showings at the East / West Shrine Game and Scouting Combine gave McGee’s draft stock a major boost and in a weak crop of quarterbacks he emerged as arguably the top second-tier signal caller available. An above average athlete with good physical tools and first-rate intangibles, McGee is still a work in progress but he offers a lot of upside for the future. As a rookie McGee will serve as the #3 signal caller while being groomed as a replacement for the soon-to-be 37-year-old Jon Kitna as Tony Romo’s backup. McGee does have some long-term starting potential and with the proper development he could emerge as a valuable trade commodity for the Cowboys.

    With their next two selections Dallas added a couple of pass rushers in Victor Butler of Oregon St. and Brandon Williams of Texas Tech, who both played defensive end in college but will be making the transition to outside linebacker in the Cowboys 3-4 scheme. Butler, who was projected to be more of a late round pick, was utilized in a backup role for most of his Beaver career but he finally earned a starting job as a senior and enjoyed a breakout campaign, racking up 21.5 tackles for a loss and 12.0 sacks. Butler isn’t very big (6-21/4, 248) but he is super athletic with long arms, great speed and a terrific motor. A three-year starter for the Red Raiders, Williams opted to enter the draft following a junior season in which he was named 1st Team All-Big 12 after compiling 12.5 tackles for a loss and 11.0 sacks. Williams was originally projected to come off the board a round or two earlier but his stock took a hit when he only managed to run a 4.92 forty at 6-21/2 and 261 pounds at the Scouting Combine. However, despite his less than impressive timed speed Williams is actually very quick and a great athlete who has shown a knack for rushing off the edge. Butler and Williams are slated to serve as backups to DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer as rookies and if the injury bug were to strike they could be forced into key roles, regardless of whether or not they’re ready. Dallas owned three choices in the fifth round and they used the first on Cincinnati DB DeAngelo Smith. A versatile player with experience at cornerback and safety, Smith was overshadowed by Mike Mickens during their time with the Bearcats but he actually emerged as a better pro prospect than his highly-touted teammate. A great athlete with nice size and good ball skills, Smith is also very physical and aggressive which is why Dallas intends to start him out at safety. As a rookie Smith will serve in a backup role and compete with a bevy of other young defensive backs for playing time.

    [IMG] Dallas may have landed a steal with their next pick when they chose Clemson S Michael Hamlin, who was considered to be a solid second or third round value throughout much of the process. A super productive (326 career tackles) four-year starter for the Tigers, Hamlin doesn’t have great speed but he is a reliable tackler with good instincts and excellent intangibles. Hamlin is definitely best-suited to play in the box but he has also shown the ability to make plays in coverage, intercepting 14 passes throughout the course of his college career. Initially Hamlin will compete for a backup job and provide depth but it wouldn’t be a shock if he eventually pushed journeyman Gerald Sensabaugh for the strong safety job. Just two years after drafting an All-Pro kicker the Cowboys went back to the well for USC’s David Buehler. An extraordinary athlete for the position who actually runs a 4.5 forty, Buehler was a two-year starter and also worked at safety and fullback during his time with the Trojans. Buehler’s big leg makes him a logical favorite for the kickoff specialist job but the Cowboys may also utilize him as a holder, backup punter and on some special teams coverage units. Even though Nick Folk underwent offseason surgery to repair torn hip cartilage he is entrenched as the starter but after investing such an early pick on Buehler you have to assume he stands a good chance of making the roster. In round six the Cowboys chose yet another linebacker, this time opting for Stephen Hodge out of T.C.U. A bit of a ‘tweener, Hodge worked as a safety / linebacker hybrid during his time with the Horned Frogs but Dallas plans to use him as an inside linebacker. A great athlete with excellent speed and a non-stop motor, Hodge is perfectly suited for a situational / coverage role and should also excel on special teams.

    Later in round six the Cowboys added some depth at tight end by selecting Virginia’s John Phillips. The next in an impressive string of Cavalier tight end prospects, Phillips is the type who does everything well but nothing great and he profiles as more of a career backup in the pros. With Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett locked into the top two spots on the depth chart Phillips will battle for the #3 job as a rookie, a role he appears to be ideally suited for. Dallas had two picks in the seventh round and they got good value with both of them. Cincinnati CB Mike Mickens was never the pro prospect that some made him out to be but it was still a surprise to see him fall as far as he did. A four-year starter for the Bearcats, Mickens is a ballhawk in the secondary but a lack of ideal bulk and a knee injury that hampered him throughout the pre-draft process were responsible for his Draft Day freefall. As a rookie Mickens will try to make the roster as a backup and his playmaking ability could give him an edge over his competition. With their final pick the Cowboys tabbed Oklahoma WR Manuel Johnson, who really made the most of his lone season as a starter for the Sooners. Johnson doesn’t have great size or speed but he’s a good athlete with reliable hands who runs good routes and will do all the little things. Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Austin Miles and Sam Hurd are basically locked into the top four spots on the depth chart so Johnson will likely battle veteran Isaiah Stanbeck and undrafted free agent Kevin Ogletree for the final wideout job.

    This draft class has been the target of a lot of criticism and that is understandable because it certainly doesn’t feature a lot of star power or impact potential. However, it’s not like Dallas had a half dozen holes in the starting lineup to fill. By and large the Cowboys were looking to supplement their roster with role players and quality depth and when you look at it from that perspective it was mission accomplished. This class probably isn’t going to produce a bunch of starters and Pro Bowlers, although the addition of Roy Williams has to be factored into their final grade, but the Cowboys already had those types of guys in Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Terence Newman, etc. This wasn’t a sexy draft but bringing in a group of complimentary players who know their roles might be just what Dallas needs to get over the hump and back into the Super Bowl, which at the end of the day is really what it's all about.

    GRADE: C+
  2. Biggems

    Biggems White and Nerdy

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    I know we needed OL help......but I wish we would have taken Roy Miller instead of Brewster. This way, we would have a legit backup to Ratliff at DT. We could have then taken TJ Lang in the 4th instead of Stephen McGee, since QB was not as glaring a need as depth at NT or OL. We probably could have gotten Stephen McGee at the spot we got Brandon Williams.

    IMO, we need to utilize most of our picks for 2010 to upgrade OL and NT. I would like to see us draft about 4 OL, 1-2 NT, and a WR. Then we can trade the rest of the picks for 2011 picks.
  3. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    I've been saying backup NT for two years now. Hopefully we find one in camp:pray:

    I know Spears can play a few snaps there, but we really need either Anderson, Siavii, or Seawright to come through.

    It wouldn't shock me if Igor got some snaps on passing downs.

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