When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Travis Frederick, Gavin Escobar, Terrance Williams, Joseph Randle in the 2013 NFL draft it was because, as Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said, the team felt like it had to focus on the offensive side of the ball because so much had already been spent on the defense, in terms of dollars and draft picks.
Allow that to sink in and rest in your Cowboys brain for a moment. Now try not to be too sick. This defense - ranked No. 32 in the NFL - is as a result of the team focusing on the defense in recent years. Yes, injury has a role, but ... my God.
A defense that was horrible last year has managed to do the impossible and actually devolve to the point of embarrassment. This is not on Jason Garrett, or Monte Kiffin. It's on a series of drafts and player acquisitions that have either bombed, resulted in injury, or been overpaid.
7 players drafted; 5 defensive players
Morris Claiborne CB - Too early, but early results not good for sixth overall pick
Tyrone Crawford DL - Season-ending injury in training camp; would have been a factor
Kyle Wilber OLB/DE - JAG
Matt Johnson S - Never played; already cut
Caleb McSurdy ILB - Who?
8 players drafted; 2 defensive players
Bruce Carter LB - Looked great last year, was hurt and this year been a constant source of frustration.
Josh Thomas CB - Uhh ...
6 players drafted, 4 defensive players
Sean Lee LB - An All-Pro, when healthy
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah DB - Gone
Jamar Wall DB - Gone
Sean Lissemore DT - Gone
12 players drafted, 7 defensive players
None of them made it. That this class was such a bust and contributed zero NFL players is a major reason this team is stuck. Three of those guys should have hit and done something.
6 players drafted; 6 defensive players
Mike Jenkins CB - Had some productive parts, but he should have been a two-contract player.
Orlando Scandrick CB - Developed into a nice player for a fifth-round pick.
Erik Walden LB - Cut but caught on eleshwere; plays for Colts.
Notice no mentioning of the massive contracts and expectations hoisted on Anthony Spencer, Jay Ratliff, free agent Brandon Carr and DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys built their team, and hopes, on older guys with monster deals who were beyond, or on, the wrong side of 30 and were not developing quality players behind them.
"Next man up" makes for a nice slogan on a locker room wall, but if the player reading it does not have the skills to do the job - who cares?
The regular season is the most enjoyable, and productive, time of the calendar year for your Dallas Cowboys professional football club. The real horror show is about to begin - January through April, and player acquisition.
How/why does this keep happening? Why can't the blue and silver squirrel find an acorn - ever?
There are not dumb football people that litter the Dallas Cowboys front office. Cowboys director of scouting Tom Ciskowski is a good football man who has a clear direction and idea of what he wants in a player. It doesn't mean he won't miss, but this is not some dummy.
The problem is more apparent than ever - Jerry Jones hires people he likes, respects, listens to, and then does whatever he wants despite whatever the reports he paid people to write. He writes the checks, so it's his right.
Alas, with three games remaining the NFC East title is still very much possible and because it is in the holiday season we should hold onto that like a child's hand crossing the street. We can't let go.
We can't because the real horror show is about to begin - the Senior Bowl, the Combine and the Draft.
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