Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was asked on Wednesday if it was part of the team’s strategy to get draft by value by selecting a player with first round talent but dropped to the second round because of injury history on concerns.
The Cowboys did that the last two years with linebacker Sean Lee in 2010 and Bruce Carter in 2011. A history of knee injuries at Penn State raised red flags about Lee, causing him to drop to the second round. At least he was able to play at the beginning his rookie season.
Carter suffered a season ending knee injury late in his senior season at North Carolina and missed the first six games of 2011 on the non football injury list.
Both are expected to start at linebacker in 2012 but Garrett said it was more coincidence than intentional that they took injured linebackers in the second round in back to back years.
“It certainly was not intentional to say Ok, ‘We’re going to take a guy who had ACL surgery last year, that’s what we want to do in the second round,’,” Garrett said. “Bruce’s was much more clear-cut about when his injury was and what we were going to be able to get from him. Each of those guys has different skills sets, different strengths. They come from different places. I understand why you’re asking the question but that’s not something we intentionally try to do, like this is our philosophy in the second round. We want to take linebackers who have injury histories. That’s not what we want to do.”
Garrett said the Cowboys have no regrets about the decisions as they have turned out as expected with them getting two quality players and contributors.
“With every evaluation of a player you evaluate the whole player and you say, ‘This is what we like, this is what we don’t like, this is what we love, this is what we can live with’,” Garrett said. “In regards to Bruce Carter, we just like the kind of football player he was coming out. One of the things we felt like that forced him to slide was the injury and now we have to get our arms around what the injury is. What the history of players is coming back from injuries like that and can we take this player who we think a lot of maybe a little bit later feel like it’s a good value for us, with the understanding we have some veteran players at his position, we’re not going to get a lot out of him this year but at the end of the year he’s going to have a role for us and going into the following year he might have a much more prominent role and everything we thought about prior to drafting Bruce Carter has kind played out up to this point. We want to see him play more and how he plays on a everyday basis as a healthy football player, we felt that was a good bet. And what you’re doing is you’re making these educated decisions we like this about him, he came from there and you’re trying to put that together and make your best decision. We felt he was an injured player and felt like we could get him at a pick that was good value for us relative to the player we think he can be and we’re going to live with that injury.”