Dallas Cowboys: What Draft Weekend Taught Us

Jan 29, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC wide receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys (88) reacts during the second half against the AFC at the 2017 Pro Bowl at Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 29, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC wide receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys (88) reacts during the second half against the AFC at the 2017 Pro Bowl at Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys actions spoke volumes at the NFL Draft last weekend. Here’s what we learned…

The Dallas Cowboys had quite the eventful weekend, selecting nine players over the course of the weekend, and filling significant needs along the way. Some of their choices were expected. Some were unexpected.

All of these we’ll no doubt be looking at in the lean weeks ahead, but before we break it down to the molecular level, let’s take a moment to recap what happened and state what we learned:

  • Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, and Barry Church were even more replaceable than we thought. And I thought they were pretty darn replaceable. The strength of the draft and the way the dominos fell, allowed the Dallas Cowboys to fully rebuild their secondary without reaching for need. They let the draft come to them and upgraded in the process. They had a pretty good idea this was going to happen early in the year when they allowed their free agents to depart in the first place.
  • The Dallas Cowboys clearly know that draft day gambles cannot be made every year. Two years ago it was Randy Gregory they gambled on. Last year it was Jaylon Smith they gambled on. This year they played it safe all the way through despite multiple opportunities to roll the dice on injured players.
  • Some may say drafting a player with a domestic abuse charge like Jourdan Lewis constitutes a gamble. But Lewis insists on his innocence and Jason Garrett insists on calling him high-character so I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Dallas Cowboys did their due diligence and investigated this fully themselves.
  • We learned, once again, Rod Marinelli loves versatile players and avoids those with niche roles. Chidobe Awuzie can play safety, outside corner, or nickel corner. Taco Charlton can play both defensive ends and inside nickel. Xavier


    can play both safety spots and cover tight ends and receivers from the slot. Ryan Switzer can play slot receiver, punt returner, and potentially handle jet sweep opportunities that were previously handled by

    Lucky Whitehead

    . Marquez White can even play both inside and outside.

    More from Cowboys Draft

    We learned the Cowboys weren’t as bullish on T.J. Watt as most of Cowboys Nation was. In fact, it didn’t seem to even cross their minds. To them T.J. was a 3-4 OLB who would be nothing more than a pass-rushing specialist on the Cowboys. I was ok with that but they clearly were not. Not from a first round pick. Taco Charlton, selected instead, has a 4-down skillset and position flex that Rod Marinelli craves. I penalized the Cowboys for this pick because I felt the Cowboys need someone who can be a dominant pass-rusher (if only situational). I feel a pass-rushing specialist would have made a huge difference in those season-ending losses to the Packers in 2014 and 2016. I’m not sure Taco makes any difference in the outcome of those games. Still, I learned Jerry, Stephen, Jason and Will McClay don’t read my blog and/or were not convinced by my argument. They want complete players and prefer to save the niche guys for offense.

    I also learned that the Cowboys are not interested in fragile-minded players. They let two of them walk in free agency (Mo Claiborne and Brandon Carr) and replaced them with two guys who are not lacking for ability OR confidence. Carr and Claiborne were always one bad play away from an avalanche of terrible. Having players who are strong minded, confident, and talented will be good for the Cowboys moving forward.

    Next: Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades: Did they get 5 starters?

    Ryan Switzer could eventually spell the end for Lucky Whitehead AND Cole Beasley. Just running the numbers I don’t see any way Lucky makes the team in 2017. Bease is safe this season for sure, but he’s a free agent in 2019 and can actually be bought out in 2018. If Ryan Switzer shows what he’s shown in college, he could be a nice cost saving replacement to Cole down the road.