How long have the Dallas Cowboys been at this? “This” meaning a team that’s always heavily reliant on the offensive side of the ball while hoping the defense can be good enough to commit. It seems up until 2021 they had drafted significantly better on offense than on defense and the proof is entirely clear.
What’s rather stunning is the good balance of premier selections on each side of the ball. As a matter of fact, in the last ten drafts the Cowboys have selected five offensive players in the first round and five defensive players. This includes trading for Amari Cooper.
It may be time to let Dan Quinn finish what he started on this Dallas Cowboys defense
In the second round things get lopsided and the Cowboys go defense-heavy. Eight of the last 10 second round picks have been on defense.
Over the last 10 years the Dallas Cowboys have a perfect balance of offense and defense in the first round.
OFFENSE: 2020 CeeDee Lamb, 2019 Amari Cooper Trade, 2016 Ezekiel Elliott, 2014 Zack Martin, 2013 Travis Frederick
DEFENSE: 2021 Micah Parsons, 2018 Leighton Vander Esch, 2017 Taco Charlton, 2015 Byron Jones, 2012 Morris Claiborne
The only problem is the Dallas Cowboys hit rate has been one sided. Mo Claiborne cost two picks and wasn’t only derailed by injuries, but never made a strong enough contribution when healthy. And Taco, a selection that needs no introduction, speaks for itself.
Leighton Vander Esch gave glimmers of gold at times, but was still debatably a low value selection while never getting over his injury history. Byron Jones was a great pick who was played out of position half of his rookie contract before the Dallas Cowboys elected to allow him to walk in Free Agency.
Micah Parsons is a generational player who, perhaps, the team ended up selecting on accident after being washed out of two cornerbacks they targeted. The Cowboys brass did, in fact, make the selection, so they deserve the credit.
So, congratulations Cowboys front office. One tremendous hit. One quality hit. One mediocre at best pick and two stinkers. That’s how the Dallas Cowboys have drafted on the defensive side of the ball in the first round over the past decade.
With Dan Quinn now working alongside Will McClay we saw a big, beaming light of hope in 2021 for the Cowboys when drafting on defense. You couldn’t help but wonder, what might a Dallas Cowboys team look like if they were to fully commit themselves to completing this defense and perhaps giving the team a new identity.
Let’s take a look and see what could be done in the 2022 draft to fill offensive needs while continuing to bolster the defense.