Have The Dallas Cowboys Drafted Enough Defensive Linemen?

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by waving monkey, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. waving monkey

    waving monkey Well-Known Member

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    It's the end of an era. In 2005 Dallas had one of the greatest drafts in team history. Not only did the draft bring us future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware, it also brought fellow defensive linemen Marcus Spears, Chris Canty and Jay Ratliff. The following draft brought us another future Pro-Bowler in Jason Hatcher. That group formed the core of Dallas' defensive line for the next eight years.

    With Ware going to Denver and Hatcher signing with hated Washignton, that core group is gone now. Which makes it a fitting time to look at a meme that has been occurring more and more frequently around these parts; the idea that Dallas does not devote enough draft picks to the defensive line.

    To begin with, that's a difficult thing to qualify. With the increase in "flexible" defenses that switch between the 3-4 and the 4-3, it's hard to know what exactly constitutes a defensive lineman as opposed to a linebacker. For this exercise I'm going to say that a linebacker who moves down to DE on passing downs qualifies as a defensive lineman. So has Dallas invested adequately in its defensive line? Let's look at what the numbers say.

    BigStar likes this.
  2. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    No... there wasn't enough investment.

    But it is what it is. They drafted 3 this year and we'll see how many next year.
  3. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Benched

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    Sure. But we invested heavily in OL instead. You have to invest in one of the lines to win. We've seen a complete change in philosophy in the past 4 years. Before we acted as if we were smart enough to coach up lower round picks. You can't invest heavily in both. Pick a side and consistently work it.
    Irvin88_4life likes this.
  4. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    They make an interesting case including lots of support for their theory but if you asked this question a few months ago there would have been no chance of getting a 'yes' answer. Not sure there is a lot of support for that answer today.
    waving monkey likes this.
  5. jday

    jday Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day, it's Best Player Available versus Most Needed Player Available. Most say BPA every time, but that's not always realistic in today's NFL. Take Demarcus Lawrence - he wasn't, in my opinion, the best player available and, in my mind, he definitely wasn't worth a 2nd and a 3rd, but because he was considered by many and our scouts as the best DE left, the Cowboys couldn't pass on him. The same thing seems to happen to the Cowboys every year. The guy they really want is off the board a few picks before their chance and they have to settle; which is why they made the leap they did for Lawrence and Claiborne. The jury is still out on both of these guys, but my point is, as much as the critics like to wag their proverbial finger at the Cowboys drafting prowess, rarely do they take in consideration that alot of luck is involved when it comes to the draft. I mean, you can't just draft a combination of DL and OL in the first four rounds and assume the draft was great based on the theory that building up front is the tried and true way of building a team.

    The other thing to consider is schematic fit. You need different body types and skill sets to run different offensive and defensive schemes. Some guys come out of college ready made and other guys have to be developed/gain or lose weight. Ideally, you get the player who already fits, especially if you are drafting him to be a day 1 starter. It's this lack of consideration that get's fans and mediots alike in trouble when trying to argue that the Cowboys didn't take the BPA. We really don't have any idea what they are looking for in many cases to run their scheme, so you can't say for certain who was the BPA at that given point in the draft.

    Finally, we are only two years removed from the 3-4. Prior to last year's draft, we were drafting defensive players to outfit a completely different scheme. So, of course the Cowboys are a little behind in terms of building their line correctly. Their DE were called linebackers. Their DT's were considered 1-tech's and the 1 guy on our team at that time whose body type actually fit that mold is now in rehab (Josh Brent). So grading the Cowboys defensive line right now is a bit unfair. I think you should give a defensive coordinator the same amount of time you give a head coach - 3 years. While Marinelli is in year 1, I'll still call it year 2. If Jerry Jones stays the course with this staff following this year, I think we can expect really good things from this team next year...with a little cap space for Free Agency and a small bit of luck in the draft.
    dstovall5, djmajestik, BIGDen and 2 others like this.
  6. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    This is exactly why I get tired of the constant refrain around here that now that we're drafting so many O-linemen high, we're almost guaranteed to build a great team. Well, when you use a mid-first round pick on a guard, that's a DT or DE you can't take. So while people are callling our OL one of the best in the league, our defense is counting on gambles and castoffs. Maybe Jimmy Johnson didn't like spending first rounders on OL for a reason.
    Idgit likes this.
  7. bkight13

    bkight13 Capologist

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    Melton, Crawford and Lawrence aren't exactly gambles and castoffs. Selvie, Mincey and McClain fit that title, but Selvie was a find last year after being miscast earlier in his career. The same has been said of the other two. Time will tell, but if Donald was there at 16 Dallas would've taken him in a heartbeat, so it isn't like they are ignoring the DL by design.
    BIGDen likes this.
  8. ccb04

    ccb04 Well-Known Member

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    While they drafted 3...they added:

    - Melton
    - Mincey
    - Lawrence
    - Coleman
    - Okoye
    - Bishop
    - Gardner
    - McClain
    - Whaley

    They also got Crawford & Bass back, and resigned Spencer.

    Would like to see them approach the D-Line like they have the O-Line in the upcoming draft(s)...but they weren't going to be able to address everything at once. Melton & Lawrence could be considered the upper-tier additions, but I also liked adding Bishop, Gardner & Coleman late in the draft. Think all 3 have a chance to be solid players.
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  9. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler

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    At least one of the lines needs to be strong and it appears it will be on offense. I am fine with a DL rotation as long as they stay healthy for this season. Since the OL is almost complete(almost), they can now focus on defense over the next couple of years. All we need is a mediocre defense in 2014 to compete IMO.

    Plenty of bodies, but is there substance? We will find out soon enough :cool:
    BigStar likes this.
  10. TwoDeep3

    TwoDeep3 Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    I don't believe so, but who knows until we see if the team suffers the Black Plague again this year.
  11. waving monkey

    waving monkey Well-Known Member

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    I am happy with our method but would love a little better luck.
    We certainly pick correctly in the 1st rd. We'll see about the 2nd.
    All Lawerence has to do is play to the level of bottom of the first rd.
    That's proof enough for me. Is that subjective, you bet.Play ball.
  12. noshame

    noshame I'm not dead yet...... Zone Supporter

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    We've been poorly coached on defense for the lions share of those years, drafting cannot fix that. I think we're good in that department now though, we should reap the benefits this year.
  13. Fredd

    Fredd Well-Known Member

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    prior to this year? no...but, that is the past...I wouldn't give up guys like we have on the OL as well as Dez, Murray, Lee (I know, I know)...they focused on CB a few years back, they have focused on OL, now it's the defense's turn (7 of 9 on defense this past draft)
  14. RonSpringsdaman20

    RonSpringsdaman20 Hold The Door!

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    quality over quantity
    every year we should be looking for quality lineman, both sides...
    casmith07 and EGG like this.
  15. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Well-Known Member

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    The Dallas FO is not know for drafting replacements for current areas of strength. That would take foresight and vision. They are normally busy plugging the other more pressing holes in the talent roster or taking southern mash inspired flyers on flashy players.

    Infact one of the quotes was that they can now get by with lesser players on the DL because they changed to a simpler system.
  16. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Yes, OL should always take priority over DL. A bad DL does not get the QB killed.

    Also, they started the 2012 season with the following front 5 in the 3-4.
    Josh Brent
  17. NJ22

    NJ22 Well-Known Member

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    They should draft Oline, Dline and secondary EVERY year in the first few rounds. You can get the skill players in free agency or later in the draft aside from QB.
    EGG and BigStar like this.
  18. daveferr33

    daveferr33 Well-Known Member

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    Well that depends on who you ask. If you ask a front page writer at BTB they will come up with a complex formula to "prove" that the Cowboys have indeed invested heavily in the DL.

    I will just employ Occam's razor.

    The last time the Cowboys took a defensive tackle in the top half of the NFL draft was Willie Blade in 2001.

    The last two draft classes were supposedly deep at the Defensive tackle position. The Cowboy came away with ONE Seventh Rounder--Ken Bishop.

    By contrast, Jimmy Johnson threw some serious currency at the position. Jimmy Jones was drafted in the third round in 1990. And In 1991 the Cowboys spent two first round choices on Russell Maryland (first overal) and Kelvin Pritchett (20th overall). They also stole Leon Lett out of the seventh round that same year.
  19. LatinMind

    LatinMind iPhotoshop

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    I think the cowboys did a nice job with Melton and McClain, add in rookies Lawrence, Gardner, Bishop and Coleman. That looks to be a nice group in one offseason. People want the big names. But in that group only Ware and Spencer were premium picks. People forget Ratliff failed at DE and was forced to go inside. Canty wasnt anything special in Dallas or NY just your classic overpaid average player


    I think Dallas will carry 10 DL and i see Bass, Hayden, Mincey and Wilson fighting for the last 2 spots
  20. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing

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    Never thought about it that way, but you are correct (some exceptions of course if they are truly special). All you hear is Line, Line, Line as if the secondary will miraculously take care of itself. AP may be considered an exception but Minni hasn't one a thing during his tenure. Also Love me some DEZ but same standard applies as with AP (not resulting in wins) Your general point is definitely correct in that you can find WRs/RBs/TEs/LBs that can start and excel later in the draft. Those three areas (4th including QB) are the most integral to long term success and SHOULD be prioritized accordingly on draft day.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
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