It's 2006 Cowboys...Can You Feel a Draft?
Okay, okay. I know some of you need a break from the super-hype pumping out of Austin or else couldn't care less.
Well, before I go to bed to dream of Peter Gardere and Vince Young revisiting us in the person of Colt McCoy, let's get wit Da 'Boys. After all, you may recall the NFL regular season starts at 3:15 pm on Sunday. You probably heard rumors that it started Thursday night, but last I checked, America's team was still resting at home.
So what better time to evaluate a coaches recruiting or, as the pros call it, the draft? Where teams find the players that help them reach the top. (Somebody needs to tell Daniel Snyder) It's year four for the class of 2003. Time to start making a difference, if you ain't yet with the program.
This was to be the year The Tuna came in and reversed years of bad drafts. How'd he do? Netted Terrance Newman, Al Johnson, and Jason Witten on day one. Grabbed Bradie James, B. J. Tucker, Zureil Smith, and Justin Bates on day two. It was a draft ESPN's Len Pasquarelli graded a C- and Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z gave a B to B+.
At this point, we can give it a B. It looks great at first. According to people around the league, Newman was a major snub for the Pro Bowl last season. He was also step two, following Roy Williams, of correcting a pitiful secondary. Witten quickly became a Pro Bowl tight end, a guy Troy Aikman could have only dreamed of after Jay Novacek retired. And James developed into the team's defensive quarterback. These three players fill major roles as the Cowboys attempt to end a ten-year playoff victory drought.
The rest of this class holds this draft back. Johnson and Bates were exhibits 1 and 2 against Tuna and Jonesies' ability to evaluate offensive linemen. It's this failure that concerns the Cowboys in a season in which the national outlets expect big things from the team.
Tucker and Smith were Parcells' first late round reaches in search for return men. He's seems to have learned that lesson uncovering free agents Tyson Thompson and Jamaica Rector to field kicks to use his draft picks elsewhere.
The result: you have a draft with making an impact this Sunday. This team may not be ready to take the next step, but the foundation remains for a serious future.