We may be wrong to assume new Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy will change the way Will McClay selects players in the NFL Draft…
Cowboys Nation rejoiced in the streets when the decision was made to replace Jason Garrett with Mike McCarthy. The longstanding coach associated with audibly slapping his hands together had worn out his welcome in most Dallas Cowboys circles and fans were happy to see something new. Anything new. Because what was being done clearly wasn’t working.
With a brand new staff this season, the Dallas Cowboys are expected to right some wrongs. Many of those wrongs revolve around personnel. After years of neglect Dallas would finally abandon their “long cornerbacks only” strategy. They’d finally invest in the safety position. They’d finally draft a run-stopping defensive tackle and finally take a stab at talented pass-rushers who didn’t fit the Marinelli edge mold (T.J. Watt ring any bells?).
But what if that doesn’t all change? What if the coaching staff wasn’t the problem? What if majority of these draft decisions were really Will McClay?
Not to completely damper the Lollipop Guild’s singing of “Ding-Dong…” but a lot of the reasons those aforementioned things were done – is because of Will McClay.
It’s not all bad either. The Dallas Cowboys may have been erroneously poo-pooing the use of analytics for their in-game decision making, but they have long been leaning on analytics for personnel.
They know a player who fails to hit minimum measurables has an uphill battle making it in the NFL. They know long-armed CBs have an advantage. They know safety is a position that can be filled in later rounds. They know young interior run-stoppers can be found after the draft. They know undersized edge rushers get exposed in other areas.
In the name of risk management, Will McClay avoids these types of players. The previous coaching staff certainly had influence but it was McClay with many of the minimum benchmarks in place.
What Kind of Players Does McCarthy Want?
We can look back at who the Packers employed on the field and draw conclusions regarding Mike McCarthy’s preferable type of player. But looking back we know McCarthy had very little say in matters of personnel. Ted Thompson shopped for the groceries. McCarthy just did the cookin’. He complained publicly about it.
Obviously Will McClay will adjust the type of players the Dallas Cowboys are looking for based on the new schemes and systems the Cowboys will run in 2020, but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys are suddenly going to consider players they wouldn’t before (again, think T.J. Watt).
Mike McCarthy is probably going to have more influence in Dallas than he ever had in Green Bay, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to override Will McClay’s hard and fast rules. And since we know McCarthy had little say in Green Bay, we really don’t know what he’s looking for in a particular position.
Just something to think about this draft season as we try to predict what Dallas will do based on assumptions about McCarthy. Will McClay is still the man.