Yesterday, I mentioned the Walter Football Mock Draft, the Dallas Cowboys is likely to pick Alabama Crimson Tide safety Mark Barron in the first round. Dallas has needed help at safety for years now, so if Mark Barron is all-that, they could do worse. I don’t like drafting safeties that high, though, especially Jerry Jones drafting safeties that high.
Cowboys’ Defensive Back 1st Rounders
The Cowboys haven’t had a whole lot of success with 1st round defensive backs in the last 10 years. The Cowboys drafted Terence Newman in the Top 10. Newman was a good player for years and he was great in interviews (he did impressions), but Terence Newman was only elite for 1-2 years in the prime of his career. He’s been injury prone for years now.
Roy Williams 1st Round Pick
Then there was the Roy Williams safety pick. Though Roy Williams went to Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl, he was a big disappointment at safety. In many ways, I consider Roy Williams’ career was damaged by the new passing rules in 2004. In his first two years (2002-03), Roy Williams showed a lot of promise. He was playing alongside Darren Woodson in his final two years, and Roy Williams could take big chances and be a big hitter. But the rules were better fit for his playing style before 2004.
Woodson retired before the 2004 season, but the rules also changed that year. Defensive backs could no longer touch receivers down the field. After the rules changed, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady each broke the NFL single-season touchdown record. The NFL game changed. Roy Williams was a victim of that change. He was never the same after the new rules came into being.
Mike Jenkins 1st Round Pick
Then there’s Mike Jenkins. Good grief, Mike Jenkins.
Jenkins has had his moments, but he’s also had ignominious moments. He shied away from Brandon Jacbos his rookie season. Then Jenkins shied away from tackling a Packers receiver in the 45-7 loss which cost Wade Phillips his job as head coach. Don’t get me wrong; Wade needed to be fired. But Jerry Jones fired Wade Phillips in the middle of the season because the team quit on him. Mike Jenkins is a football player who’s afraid of contact, and he’s a coach killer. I guarantee he won’t be back when his contract runs out in 2013.
Dallas Cowboys Draft Disasters
So the Cowboys have a pretty bad history with 1st round defensive backs in the past 10 years. So does Jerry go a different direction or try to cover his team’s supposed biggest hole by drafting safety? Frankly, I prefer the idea of drafting another 3-4 OLB to replace Anthony Spencer opposite of Demarcus Ware. The one time the Cowboys Defense has been elite these past 3-4 years was that half-year Spencer was a force. Without him, teams can double-, even triple-team, Demarcus Ware. In the current NFL, the only sure way to stop a passing game is with a pass rush. That’s why the Giants keep winning Superbowls and what was the different in the 2010 and 2011 Green Bay Packers title runs (or lack thereof).
Without a good pass rush, even the best NFL defensive backs are like backyard football players in games with no pass rush: you just run around until the defense gets tired and someone gets open. So getting a replacement for Anthony Spencer is like replacing a one-thousand-five pass rush rule with a one-thousand-three pass rule.
That’s not going to happen, of course. Jerry Jones has offered Anthony Spencer over $8,000,000 to return to the Cowboys next year. Their only chance is if Spencer stupidly refuses that offer, which he’s done so far.