Grading Jerry’s Drafts; Cowboys Draft Scorecards Part II


This is part two of a two part series on the history of Jerry Jones‘ first round draft picks since he took over as owner of the Dallas Cowboys. If you missed part one of the series, you can view it here.

Describing Jerry Jones’ draft picks as somewhat impulsive may be an understatement. It seems as if Jones is never shy to shock everyone, and pick someone totally out of left field. Whether James picks a player at a position already loaded on the roster, or picks someone at the same position as the year before, Jones will always have more than one surprise up his sleeve.

After more busts than booms in the 90’s, Jerry Jones began the 2000’s with two straight years with no first round pick.

2000– none

2001– none

2002– The first pick in the 2000’s was both a success and a failure for Jerry Jones. Roy Williams, the defensive back from Oklahoma not the current wideout, made 5 Pro Bowls as a member of the Cowboys and finished runner up in Defensive Rookie of the Year in his first season. All of this said, Williams was extremely injury prone and lacked the cover skills that a safety needed to have. He basically was an extra linebacker for the Cowboys, but overall a pretty good pick- BOOM

2003– Very similar to the Roy Williams pick, Terrence Newman, had many positives but has slowed recently. Newman has been the subject of much debate this offseason over how the Cowboys should adjust what was a very porous secondary in 2010. Terrence Newman was great early in his career for the Cowboys. Known for his tremendous speed and lock down ability, he was chosen to pro bowls in 2007 and 2009. However, recently as his speed has slowed his cover skills have began to diminish, and he has provided mixed results. All in all it was another good pick for Jerry Jones.- BOOM

2004– none

2005– With the exception of Emmitt Smith, Jerry Jones may have made his best pick in 2005. It is always tough deciding on players that played in small conferences. The Cowboys guessed right on Demarcus Ware from Troy. He has been to 4 Pro Bowls in his 6 seasons with the Cowboys as well as being NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. This was a particularly great pick for Jerry Jones because he overruled Bill Parcells and selected Ware before Marcus Spears who eventually fell to them at pick 20. Ware is widely considered the best pass rusher in the NFL by many pundits and analysts.- BOOM

Spears, a defensive end from LSU, was the Cowboys second first round pick that year. Jones eventually let Parcells get his way, but it was not a very good choice. Spears never recorded more than 2.5 sacks in a season for the Cowboys even though he was the full time starter for 4 seasons. – BUST

2006– With the 18th overall pick the Cowboys selected Bobby Carpenter. Carpenter was never able to establish a starting role and was eventually traded to St Louis for Alex Barron where he was eventually cut. The biggest issue about Carpenter is that the next linebacker selected was DeMeco Ryans who has been unbelievable for the Houston Texans. Cowboys fans can second guess the selection of Carpenter all day long, but few in the NFL anticipated the immediate and game-changing impact that Ryans would make as soon as he entered the league.- BUST

2007– At pick 26 the Cowboys decided to keep going for the defensive side of the ball in the first round by selecting the defensive end, Anthony Spencer from Purdue. In his first two seasons he struggled to make the transition to outside linebacker in the 3-4. However over the last 2 years, he has come around and has averaged 65 tackles and 6 sacks per season. The only issue with the pick is that the next outside linebacker in a 3-4 that was taken was LaMarr Woodley of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but all in all, it has been a good pick for Jerry Jones-BOOM

2008– The Cowboys made an interesting pick by selecting running back, Felix Jones, with the 22nd overall pick. They already had Marion Barber, but the pick was still made. Slowly, Jones has become the main back as last year he had 800 rushing yards and 450 more receiving. He has a career average of 5.3 yards a carry which is phenomenal. His dynamic skills and versatility make it hard to keep Jones off the field.- BOOM

With their next pick in 2008 at number 25. The Cowboys tried to find a second cornerback next to Newman to help the defense. The selection was Mike Jenkins from USF. Mike Jenkins is still a work in progress as he has way to many mental lapses on the football field and still needs a lot of work with his passing is he ever wants to be a really great corner. Jenkins had a good rookie year, but took 10 giant leaps backward since that season.-BUST

2009– None

2010– The Cowboys traded up from 27 to 24 to guarantee that they could land the WR from Oklahoma St, Dez Bryant. Although Wide Receiver was one of the smallest needs for the Cowboys, it is tough denying the raw gifts that Bryant possessed. After only playing in 12 games and starting just two his rookie year, Bryant had almost 600 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns to go along with 2 other return touchdowns. I think he will end up being a top ten receiver in the league at some point in his career- BOOM

2011– After a not so hot 2010, the Cowboys had the number 9 pick. Tyron Smith, an offensive tackle from USC, definitely filled a team need at Offensive Tackle and has the potential to be great for a long time. It is hard to tell what this pick will be without seeing him play, so the jury is still out on the 6’6 325+ pound offensive tackle from the Trojans.

So the overall scorecard for Jones’ 21 years at the helm stands at 10 busts and 9 booms. Those numbers slide right in with the NFL average. On average per NFL draft, 16 of 32 first round picks pan out to be worth their value.

So while Jerry has confused us with some picks, he has awed us with others. He can always take credit for selecting the greatest running back of all time in his first draft.

Tyron Smith could tie the scorecard at 10 busts and 10 booms. While it is tough to tell the value of an offensive lineman, Smith seems like a safe pick that filled a definite need for the Cowboys.

You can follow Tyler Paslick on Twitter @tpaslick