News: THE WULF DEN - The Long Haul

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Wulfman, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    THE WULF DEN - The Long Haul
    April 28, 2004

    We shouldn’t be surprised. We really shouldn’t. Not just about the trade down, but about the players that were actually taken. After all, this is Bill Parcells we’re talking about. And make no mistake; this was a Bill Parcells draft. Had Jerry Jones still been pulling the strings, he would have traded up to get Steven Jackson or Kevin Jones, drafting on need for the here and now, even if it meant mortgaging the future. He’s done it before. Remember, this is the guy who traded two first round picks for Joey Galloway trying to make one more Super Bowl run. The same guy who traded up to pick David LaFleur. The guy who has overpaid time and time again for aging veterans, trying to plug holes to repair the here and now, rather than realizing that he needed to rebuild for the long haul.

    Parcells, on the other hand, is in this for the long haul. Not for himself, necessarily, although he does sound like a man planning on being around for a while longer than previously expected. No, he’s planning for the long haul with this team. And, we all have seen the type of game Parcells plays, and the types of people he wants playing for him. We also know that he would rather have more picks than the five he had to work with going into the draft. So we really shouldn’t be surprised at his moves or his picks—any of them.

    In the first round, the unexpected happened and both Steven Jackson and Kevin Jones were available at #22. But the player they really coveted was likely OT Shawn Andrews, who was already gone. SO, have graded the RBs and seeing six who could come in and help immediately, they couldn’t turn away the Bills’ trade proposal—a second and fifth round picks this year and a highly coveted first rounder in 2005. Hmm…an extra pick this year and a first next year, and still be able to get one of those six RBs in the second round? Sounds like an obvious choice, at least for Parcells. And don’t forget that they tried to trade back up into the late first round to take a RB, most likely Virginia Tech’s Kevin Jones, who rumor has it was at the top of the RB list in Dallas. But the price was evidently too high, so they decided to just stay where they were and let the draft come to them.

    So, in the second round, they took the top RB on their board—Julius Jones. Parcells comments? “He can run…this guy can run a little bit.” Typical Parcells. Also typical was his admiration of Jones as a high-character guy, citing Jones’ dramatic turnaround and getting re-admitted to Notre Dame after being suspended for a year on academic grounds. So we have a guy who, from a talent standpoint, was near the level of the backs taken in the first round, and who is a high character guy. Sounds like a Parcells guy to me. And Big Bill may have sensed something coming, because he had already told Jones that if he was available in the second round, and they hadn’t already taken a RB, he was the guy.

    With their second pick in the second round, they took the best player available to address the other glaring need on the team – OT. Yes, Kurt Vollers and Torrin Tucker started games last year, and did fairly well. But no one—Parcells, Jerry Jones, or fans—wanted to enter the season depending upon one of them to carry the load again this year. And don’t forget that Tucker played G in college, and still could be used there if something were to happen with a Larry Allen trade. Rogers has a history of nagging injuries, but he also has a history of playing through those injuries. And he has a national championship under his belt, which means he can get it done when it counts.

    It was that same mindset that led to the next pick, LSU G Stephen Peterman. Not the most glamorous of picks to be sure, but he is insurance in the event of a Larry Allen departure, and brings that same caliber of player with national championship ability…and a mean streak.

    So…day one comes to an end, and we’ve picked up two offensive linemen and a RB, plus a 5th round pick and a 1st rounder in 2005. Looks like a Parcells draft to me. Not to many fans’ liking, but a draft designed to fill current needs as well as look out for the Cowboys’ long-term interests. Maybe day two would provide more of what we “experts” would consider good picks.

    But, no! In the 4th round, they took CB Bruce Thornton. Maybe a good pick, maybe not. Certainly, it fills a need, but many thought it was a little early for him to come off the board. He’s only played the position for a little over a year, though, and seems to have a lot of potential. Only time will tell.

    But some good players were sliding, and surely the Cowboys would get one in the 5th. Maybe they got a good player, but it wasn’t the good player many fans wanted. But again, this is a Parcells pick. Ryan is a solid blocking TE to use alongside Dan Campbell in 2-TE formations, who also has the ability to catch the ball, if needed. Can anyone say smash-mouth football, boys and girls?

    And then came the trade downs and special teams picks. CB Nathan Jones. WR Patrick Crayton. CB Jacques Reeves. All of them with one purpose, and one purpose only—to help on special teams. It is no secret that Parcells was not overly happy with the return game, even after drafting WR Zuriel Smith last year. These guys will either contribute, or they’ll be lucky to make the practice squad. But before we bemoan those choices, consider that we came into the draft with only 5 picks, and the Cowboys made 5 picks before any of these three choices. So Parcells didn’t waste any of our picks to make purely special teams picks…he simply moved around to get a few extras.

    And to grade this draft without counting that first round pick from Buffalo next year would be foolhardy. And don’t think Parcells didn’t think it out before he pulled the trigger. It wasn’t just that he could get a first round pick, but that he expects that pick to be fairly high. As he pointed out in his press conference, Buffalo has two teams ahead of them in their own division—New England and Miami—and another with whom they may be considered equals. Add in a number of tough games against quality opponents from last season, and that pick could very easily be in the top 10. But even if it isn’t—even if it is, say, #22—we now know that you can still maneuver around and get multiple picks and/or quality players.

    Closing Thoughts
    As with any draft, we won’t really know how to evaluate this one until a couple of years down the road. Right now, just based on the picks, I’d have to give it a C. But depending upon how high that first round pick is, and how our top three picks contribute this year, it could go up or down. Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure—this is not just a quick fix-it-up solution, or a short-term solution. We’re in this for the long haul.

  2. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    Very good Read as usually Wulfman

    I look forward to your articles.
  3. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Great job Wulfie. Keep them coming bro.
  4. Hot_Toddy

    Hot_Toddy Active Member

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    Excellent read Wolf, thanks. Keep 'em coming.
  5. TheHustler

    TheHustler Active Member

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    jt - how did you get an avatar???
  6. MaineBoy

    MaineBoy Active Member

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    Congrats - consistently some of the best material on the board - thanks
  7. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    Wulfie, man you just make my day when you post your articles.
  8. Bach

    Bach Benched

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    Wulf: Who do you think you are, the anti-Mickey?

  9. Strong

    Strong Member

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    Always insightful and well written. It is too bad that you couldn't replace Mickey altogether.

    A "C", though, is a little tough given your right-on analysis. Filling needs with the first three picks, collecting a likely top 15 pick next year, getting depth with the fourth round, looking for special teams with the rest, and then picking up some projects from the UDFAs seems more like a solid B- to me.

    Plus, it is not like Steven Jackson would have put us in the SuperBowl. There have been too many busts in the NFL to suggest that pre-draft rankings are more important than pure volume of picks.

  10. NOVA 22

    NOVA 22 Member

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    Great post as usual.

    Let's hear your thoughts on the past two drafts now that we have more to go on. I'll chime in with the following:

    2002: C - significantly down from what it looked like originally after disappointing years from just about everyone in that class. I for one thought Roy's year was actually a little disappointing as well (yes I know he was All-Pro but seemed to make a lot fewer plays this year) Either way - the jury is still very much out here as we head into the 3rd and most crucial year for everyone except Roy. Hunter, Bryant and Gurode could all still end up as solid players in this league.

    2003: B - Johnson's injury definitely hurt, and the bottom of this draft was almost a complete waste. Tucker and Bates never even made it out of camp. Zuriel was inconsistent at best. James incomplete - but Witten and T-New look like studs.
  11. es22

    es22 Member

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    Thanks for the insight. It is always a pleasure to read a well written article that Mickey or DMN cannot come up with.
  12. adbutcher

    adbutcher K9NME

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    Great job Wulf! Thanks!
  13. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    The thing is, right now we don't know if those needs were filled--just that they were addressed. If Jones rushes for 1200 yards this season, either Rogers starts or Peterman contributes significantly throughout the season, we get solid competition from Thornton for the nickle spot, and at least one of the special teams people makes the squad and helps the return game, this could develop into an A- level draft...especially if that pick in 2005 DOES turn out to be in the top 10 or so.

    If half of these things happen, I would be willing to bump it up to a B.

    If we get to the end of the season and have to address these same areas in next year's draft, the grade could drop to a D.

    It will simply depend on what happens with these players. But right now, I'll stand by my C. (FYI - it was a borderline C+, if that makes you feel any better.)

  14. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    I think we need one more year before we do a final evaluation for the 2002 draft, and two more before we know what we have with the 2003 class.

    Right now, the 2002 draft still looks pretty solid. Williams is a Pro Bowl player, and he contributed at least his share in having the #1 defense in the NFL. Gurode had a down second year, but I expect Parcells to motivate him this offseason. So, for him, the jury is still out. Antonio Bryant also had a sophomore slump, but he should learn a lot working with Keyshawn Johnson--a WR that is just as intense as he is. Ross was a knucklehead, the very reason he slid in the draft to begin with. Picking him was a known risk, and it didn't pan out. Martin missed a season with an injury, but looked decent when he got a chance late last season. He'll have his hands full beating out Darian Barnes and Lou Polite in camp this year. Hunter will get his chance to start this year, so we'll know whether he can be what we hoped soon. DeVeren Johnson, Bob Slowikowski, and Justin Bates aren't with the team. But then, they were 6th - 7th round picks, so they were longshots to make the roster anyway.

    As for 2003, we have a ways to go before we'll know for sure. Newman looks like the real deal, and should only get better. Johnson missed the season with an injury, but is ahead of schedule on his rehab and should be back in the starting lineup. Witten contributed well, and is expected to have an even bigger role this year. James developed into a nice special teams player, and Parcells is already talking about how much better he looks this offseason. Smith made the roster as a special teams guy, but struggled. If he doesn't beat out at least 3 or 4 other guys, we won't make the squad this year. B. J. Tucker and Justin Bates aren't on the squad.

    Seems like a pattern developing to me. Good, solid picks in the early rounds, potential role players in the middle rounds, and special teams possibilities in the later rounds.

    Using that scenario, we should be able to expect the following:

    Julius Jones will be a solid starter.

    Jacob Rogers, Stephen Peterman, or Bruce Thornton will get injured and miss the season.

    Sean Ryan should be a solid contributor in limited playing time.

    At least one of the three potential special teams guys (Jones, Crayton, and Reeves) has a legitimate chance to make the squad.

    One or two of the undrafted rookies coming into camp will make the roster (James Newson is the favorite, at this point, IMHO).

    Now, only time will tell...
  15. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    For the record, I just wanted to say thanks for all the props. I know I've been away for a while, and it's a nice feeling to be welcomed back so warmly. I love the Cowboys, and I love writing these articles. I hope everyone enjoys reading them as much as I love writing them.
  16. M'Kevon

    M'Kevon A Love Supreme

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    Excellent job. Thanks for the effort.
  17. jdnalls

    jdnalls New Member

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    Great article Wulfman.
  18. Sarge

    Sarge Red, White and brew... Staff Member

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    Great job Wulfie. Nice read.
  19. jamez25

    jamez25 Active Member

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    Thank You that was a nice read.

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