Dallas Cowboys Often Struggle With No First Round Pick

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

History shows the Dallas Cowboys face steep challenges when entering a season followed by no selection in the previous NFL Draft.

The Dallas Cowboys know, along with all other NFL franchises, that there’s no guarantee a first-round draft pick will meet expectations.

Having said that, it’s much like the lottery: If you don’t play, you can’t win.

To start with, let me say the Dallas Cowboys have done a pretty good job of drafting in recent years. This is especially true when looking at second-round selections, like Jaylon Smith in 2016, Demarcus Lawrence in 2014, Bruce Carter in 2011 and Sean Lee in 2010. There’s been the tendency to gamble a bit on sliding players with injury concerns, but at the time the selections were made they were considered steals or at least worthwhile investments for the future.

This year is one of those years the Dallas Cowboys have to really hit it big, because recent history tells us America’s Team can really find quick sand in seasons following a draft with no first round pick.

I’m not going back as far as the 1960s, a time when a selection in the teens was already the second round. The league was far smaller back then and it was easier to recover the loss of a first-round draft selection, for whatever the reason. The draft was much longer, too.

Since the era of free agency and the salary cap, the draft has become the place to shop for new talent at bargain prices. I believe Stephen Jones said it best when he offered the following on why free agency is the trap that it is.

"You’re going to pay good players like they’re great, average players like they’re good, below average players like they’re average. It’s just not a great way to build a football team."

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In other words, free agency is like buying used cars at new car prices, but the draft is like buying a new car at a used car price – those are Jones’ words as well.

Remember when Jerry Jones sent two first-round draft picks over to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for Joey Galloway just after Y2K?

No, the problem wasn’t Galloway at all.

The issue was that Troy Aikman was entering his last season and there would be no first-round pick in 2001, which could have used on a guy like – well, how about Drew Brees?

The Dallas Cowboys went 5-11 over three consecutive seasons following the Galloway acquisition.

How about the most recent debacle involving a given away first-round selection?

Remember Roy Williams, the wide receiver?

The Dallas Cowboys made that trade in early 2008 and gave up a first, third and sixth round pick for a wide receiver whose best days had come and gone – if there ever really were any best days. That led to the trade up for Dez Bryant just two years later, and that gutted the 2010 NFL draft, in large part. Beyond the selection of Lee, this draft meant absolutely nothing with no third or fifth-round selection, no offense if you’re still a fan of Sam Young and Jamar Wall.

The Dallas Cowboys would go 8-8 in three consecutive seasons from 2011-2013, finally emerging as largely rebuilt in 2014.

Is Amari Cooper worth two players, himself and a top-32 pick?

Next. Dallas Cowboys Draft: Misleading Nature of Elite Athleticism. dark

We’re about to find out in a few more months.

The Dallas Cowboys could end up having a great draft, given the circumstances. I’ll be the first to praise what Cooper’s addition meant to this football team in 2018.

But hopefully, for Cowboys Nation, that price wasn’t too steep to remain in contention over the next three seasons at least.

  • Published on 04/16/2019 at 11:00 AM
  • Last updated at 04/16/2019 at 08:08 AM