Jared Odrick, Devin McCourty Were Next in Line for Cowboys
Coach Wade Phillips just confirmed on Galloway & Co. that, had the Cowboys not traded up to select Dez Bryant in the first round, they would have selected either Penn State DT/DE Jared Odrick or Rutgers CB Devin McCourty (in that order).
Since Odrick didn’t get drafted until Miami’s 28th overall selection, we can safely conclude he would have been the Cowboys’ selection. We point this out because we had Odrick being selected by Dallas in a few mock drafts, including here, here, and here, and thought he would be a good fit in Big D.
This is what we said about Odrick in February:
This pick may come as a bit of a shocker, but we really think it is a strong possibility for the Cowboys. So many mocks have Dallas selecting Idaho G Mike Iupati, a player for which team execs “perked up” during the Senior Bowl. With him still on the board, he could be the selection. In our opinion, though, Odrick could have a more immediate impact. Kosier and Davis figure to be the starting guards next season, so Iupati would really just take the place of backup guard Cory Procter. Odrick, however, would have the ability to join the defensive end rotation immediately. Also, with Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher, and Stephen Bowen all restricted free agents this year, the Cowboys will most likely have a hole at the position by next season. Odrick would be the perfect 5-technique 3-4 defensive end to fill the spot.
Had the Cowboys selected Odrick, we have a feeling the draft (and people’s perceptions of it) would have been altered drastically. First, the Cowboys would have likely let go of defensive end Marcus Spears for a late-round selection. The team put out word that they would not accept less than a third-rounder for the veteran, but that asking price would have dropped after the selection of Odrick.
The middle picks may have been the same (as the Cowboys had Sean Lee so high on their board they were going to do everything possible to acquire him) but the team wouldn’t have drafted William & Mary DT/DE Sean Lissemore. Lissemore was of course only a seventh-rounder, but coaches have already likened his ability and motor to that of Jay Ratliff–quite the praise.
The largest alteration that would have accompanied the selection of Odrick would be in the perception of the Cowboys’ draft success. Most fans with which we have spoken have given the Cowboys either an ‘A’ or (at worst) ‘B’ grade. However, we have a feeling that grade is more representational of their thoughts regarding the Cowboys’ first round pick as opposed to their entire draft.
Admit it–had Dallas come out of this draft with Odrick, Lee, Owusu-Ansah, Young, Wall, and Lissemore (or another seventh-rounder), you would probably be, well, livid. That isn’t to say that that combination of players would ultimately be a bad draft class or that the team wouldn’t have been attaining good value in selecting them, but simply that the “wow” factor would have been absent.
Thus, the Dez Bryant selection was even more important than we all may have realized. Disregard the fact that the Cowboys acquired a true play-maker who has already drawn rave reviews at mini-camp. Disregard the fact that defense coordinators will now have to game plan for, like, six legitimate offensive threats. You can even disregard the fact that Wade Phillips has labeled Bryant one of the best rookies he has seen in 33 years of coaching.
The most crucial aspect of drafting Bryant is the attitude and mindset with which the Cowboys (and their fans) will head into the 2010 season. Coaches, players, and fans are all on the same page. There is an excitement in the air.
Of course there is always that buzz around Valley Ranch, but this year is different. This year there is a feeling of change. A feeling of rebirth.
The Cowboys sure are lucky they have Dez Bryant.