Troubled Players Will Fall to the Cowboys


Randy Gregory, Shane Ray, and Marcus Peters are all great players who could fall to the Cowboys because of character concerns. Could the Cowboys pick one or will they avoid them altogether?

As we know, Jason Garrett likes to build a team with “the right kinds of guys” (RKG), but as we also know, talent will trump character in almost every situation. If a player is talented enough, even Jason Garrett will be willing to deal with him.

How else do you explain Joseph Randle, Rolando McClain, Josh Brent, and Greg Hardy? All of them have faced some very serious questions to their character, but all of them have a place on the team. This isn’t an indictment or even a moral slam on the Cowboys; it’s just stating the facts. The Cowboys really aren’t unlike the rest of the professional sports either. All teams are like this to at least some degree.

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Selecting one of those three players in the draft is perfectly possible, if the Cowboys brass considers the players controllable. They are all young kids who made mistakes. Thinking back to my college days, I’m amazed at some of the asinine things I did. I’m sure we can all think back to times in our youth where we were reckless, unlawful, or of poor character.

What the Cowboys brass must decide, is are the incidents in question isolated stupid mistakes, or an accurate reflection of the player’s character. The Cowboys are the ones interviewing. They are the ones running FBI-style background checks. They are the ones who are doing everything possible, so they know what kind of men these three are.

With the closed door nature of this, it’s nearly impossible to know who the Cowboys are considering, and who they are eliminating. Throw in the last-minute smoke screens, and it’s a crapshoot what the Cowboys will do.

The only player I feel that is eliminated is Randy Gregory. The fact that he willingly smoked weed before a scheduled drug test, tells me he either doesn’t have the intelligence, or the self-control to resist temptation. Obviously there could be more to this story, but at face value, it looks worse than the other incidents.

There is a place for all three of these players within the Cowboy’s system, should they pass the RKG test. Rod Marinelli is fairly creative and only insists on maximum effort. If a player can give that, he will sign off.

Shane Ray could play a little SAM on regular downs and nickel pass-rusher from DE when there is no SAM. Randy Gregory could play either DE spot from day one and Marcus Peters could play RCB from day one. They could all be immediate players, even cornerstone players, if the Cowboys were assured they could stay out of trouble and fit in the locker room.

The NFL is all about finding and retaining talent within the salary cap. First round picks must be cornerstone players. They don’t have to be Pro Bowlers (although that’s nice) but they have to be reliable parts.

Something often overlooked in all of this is the second contract. Players hit their primes often when playing in their 2nd contracts. 1st round draft picks must be good enough, and reliable enough, to warrant that second contract or the team takes a step back.

If a first rounder goes on the open market, it’s for a reason. The Cowboys can’t be looking at a first round pick as a 5 year investment. They need to see him as a 10 year cornerstone. If the Cowboys can’t see a player like that in the first round – they probably won’t draft him.

My prediction is two of those three players will be available at 27 – and the Cowboys will respond by trading down.

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