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A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football



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By Vince Grey

My initial thoughts after reading some blogs was that most fans didn’t care for most of the Cowboys’ 2011 draft picks, with Bruce Carter and Demarco Murray being the most despised.  The draft grades from the “experts” were more positive, ranging from one or two As to a D-, but most in the B range.

Since forums, boards, blogging and tweeting came into existence, it sure is amazing how many potential NFL personnel men and draft experts there are out in cyberspace.  What’s even more amazing is how so many of them, every year, so vehemently disagree with the players their team takes, as well as when they draft them.

Draft for offense?  Idiot, it’s the defense that needs help! Draft for defense?  What a moron… any fool can see we need offense!

Trade up?  Waste of valuable picks.

Trade down?  Quantity over quality never works.

Stay with the picks you have?  These guys have no guts or imagination.

I wonder what it would be like to look into another dimension.  One where in 1989 the internet and cell phone were as advanced as today.  Let’s glance over there via our spiffy new cross-dimensional viewer and see what the world is saying about those earlier Dallas picks…

1989 NFL Draft

The situation:  Cowboys have just been sold to Jerry Jones.  Jimmy Johnson is hired and Tom Landry is fired.  Fan base is in turmoil with most siding with Landry.  Media infers the JJs are buffoons with no chance to succeed.  Cowboys have top pick thanks to 3-13 record.  Most experts feel Tony Mandarich is best player overall and a “can’t miss” prospect.  Dallas does need a quarterback but needs offensive line help too.

— New owner and coach are idiots!  Take so-so QB over greatest O-lineman ever?

— Mandarich will be 10-yr all pro and hof!  Aikman quit Oklahoma `cause he’s a big baby!  No quitters at QB for boys!

— Arkansas $$$ = stupid a** owner.  Turn dwn sure thing for maybe QB. Where is Tom?  We need gil brant…

— Great pick Jimmy. Who’s gonna block for this kid?

— d-fense wins championships. Should have taken deion…

— we take a O-lineman and then trade him to raiders!  Idiots!  Then take a FB… A blocking fullback. Who needs a FB?

— round 2 way too high to take fullback.  Wasted pick with so many other needs.  Could have gotten this guy much later.

— finally take a lineman and it’s a freakin center.  A real small center.  Aikman will get killed.  Hope he can run.

— Stepnoski way too small to play.  Big NFC east defenses will destry Troy next year!

— Why not take a receiver? Irvin hurt all the time!  Guy a bust already.  No speed!  Can’t believe we passed on Lawyer Tillman for a stupid FB.

— Understand Tolbert lasted till 4th because of bad knees.  He’s too skinny to play the run at all.

— Grade this draft a D.  Aikman has no line and can’t read defenses.  Not tough at all.  Defense was hardly addressed.  No receivers or tight end.  Only TE we have is Cards Plan B castoff named Novacek who can’t block.  Terrible start for new coach and owner.

1990 NFL Draft

The situation: First year for Jimmy, Jerry, and Troy is bad. . .as in 1-15 bad.  Team stinks in all areas.  Going nowhere, trade best player (on paper) for crapload of picks and players to Vikings.  Take Steve Walsh in supplemental draft, costing team 1st pick overall and any shot at Cortez Kennedy or Junior Seau.  Go into draft set on picking for defense but players they like are grabbed first, and they have to “settle” for Emmitt Smith.

— It’s clear this team feels Aikman is a bust already!  Gave up number one for Walsh.  Maybe we can trade Troy for a 3rd

— Trade our best player (Hershel) for a bunch of maybe’s.  JJs are fools.

— Let me get this straight.  We trade superstar big, fast strong RB Walker for a short, small, slow RB from Florida?  How is that a deal?

— Emmitt Smith instead of defense?  Guy is too slow AND too small!  Will be hurt all the time and out of the league in 2-3 yrs.  Bad pick!

— Keep hearing Jimmy loves speed.  LOL… will NEVER beat big ol `Skins, Giants and Eagles with runts like Smith! Ha ha!

— Wake up JJ… Parcells wins SBs with power and size.

— Emit Smith is 2 slow!

— Once again we ignore D and O line… Jerry, please hire a guy who can coach in NFL…

— We MUST get a receiver!  No question Irvin is a total bust.  Has done nothing since being here and is hurt. Trade or cut this loser and let’s move on…

— Right on with Alexander Wright!  FINALLY a fast wide out!  Speed kills baybee!  See ya later Mike Irvin!

— Stole a superstar with Wright.  Maybe he’ll light a fire under Irvin and get him to want to play.

— Need to trade Aikman and Irvin NOW.  Walsh and Wright are Cowboy’s future.

— Jimmie Jones in 3rd. Another Miami guy who can’t play in NFL… sigh.  Someone please stop Johnson from drafting all these Florida guys!

— No picks in rounds 4 thru 8. `nother busted draft for JJ’s.

— Only pick late is Ken Gant from Albany (Nowhere) st. Small, slow DB.  Can you say camp fodder?

— Draft grade C-. Reached for Smith when better was available. Wright was great pick, but the others will struggle to even make this bad team.

1991 NFL Draft

The situation: Cowboys now figure Aikman is the man and trade Walsh to New Orleans for several more picks.  Surprise many by going 7-9 and probably would have made playoffs if Troy doesn’t get hurt late.  Smith signs late and struggles early but comes on for a nice season.  Moving up, down, and all around, Dallas winds up with 18 selections (one, Kelvin Pritchett, is traded to the Lions).

— Russell Maryland with the 1st pick.  What a joke.  Jimmy takes another`cane.  Why not trade down and take Turner or Todd Lyght? No love for the 2ndary!

— OT’s McRae and Davis right there for the picking and we take another Miami guy. Our O-line sucks! Will never beat the Eagles with this bunch.

— Alvin Harper to go along with Wright.  Why is Irvin still on the roster?

— Harper can fly… awesome pick.  He’ll be the number one guy soon.  Irvin won’t make end of training camp.

— Cowboys have no pass rush but don’t take (DE) Huey Richardson?  What are they doing in there? Huey will be a sack machine, guaranteed.

— We take a stud DT like Pritchett and then trade him to the Lions.  Just great.  The JJ’s make trades just to hear themselves on TV!

— Lions just made `92 SB. Cowboys at home as usual.

— 3 picks in the 1st and not one O-lineman, pass rusher, or DB.  I am stunned at how stupid the JJ’s are.

— Dixon Edwards.  Another runt LB. This is the NFC Beast! Can’t win with shrimps!

— Eric Bieniemy was sitting right there for the taking. Mark my words, he’ll be twice the runner Smith will ever be.

— Godfrey Myles… more LB’s! Jimmy has gone LB crazy!

— FINALLY some help for the O-line. James Richards is a stud.  He’ll start this year and be in the Pro Bowl next season. Great pick Jimmy!

— More O-line help, but what is Central State U?  Can this Williams play?

— Parcells always goes for the big school guys cause they have proven themselves.  Jimmy seems to want to grab these nobodies from nowhere tech.  That’s why the Giants are in the playoffs every year and Cowboys sit. LOL…

— Erik Williams? Never heard of him.  Couldn’t we have gotten this guy later on?

— Stupid pick.  Way to high to take a project like Williams.  Cowboys really reached here.  Might be a decent backup one day.

—- Curvin Richards!  Look out Emmitt… he’ll take your spot!

— Faster than Smith and Jimmy loves speed.  Emmitt will likely lose his job.

— Tony Hill.  Another tweener guy who can’t play DE in a 4-3.  Too skinny.  Wasted pick.

— Bill Musgrave.  Great pick.  Might take Aikman’s job one day if doesn’t step it up.

— Some guy named Leon Lett from Emporia State.  We’re drafting guys who will never play.  Free agent kind of player.

— The Cowboys are clueless on how to draft.  Taking players why higher than they should go.

— Last pick is Larry Brown from TCU.  At least he won’t have far to drive when he’s cut. LOL…

— Draft Grade D+.  Ignored O-line in 1st round, bypassing OT’s like Antoine Davis, Charles McRae and Pat Harlow.  All are considered sure fire starters in the NFL.  Took too many chances on small school players like Williams and Lett.  Best move: Curvin Richards could be a steal.  Worst Move:  not addressing pass rush or secondary until last pick, and who here thinks Larry Brown is the answer to anything?


I could go on, but I trust I’ve made my point.  While these segments are all theoretical, I could easily see many such posts and tweets from the fan base and so called “experts” at the time of those drafts.  And you know what?  AT THE TIME they didn’t sound all that bad, did they?  Until 1991, Michael Irvin looked like a complete bust.  Many, many people considered Mandarich a surefire done-deal 15-year Hall of Fame tackle, while Aikman had both supporters and detractors.  Even I thought Aikman was too mechanical, though I grudgingly thought we made the right decision.

Back then, I was drinking the Kool-Aid and thought a running back had to be big and/or fast, and Emmitt Smith was neither.  I also didn’t have a clue who all these small-school guys were or why we were taking so many tiny linebackers.

The bottom line is, nobody knows right now.  The 2011 Cowboys draft class could be an awesome one.  Or a stinker.  Or just OK.  It’ll be at least three or four years before we can make a determination, and does it really matter if the ‘Boys end up winning another Super Bowl in that time?

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  1. bW says:

    haha….awesome article and right on. I can totally see/read people saying those things about the drafts of the past.

  2. bW says:

    Vince, it would be interesting to hear who you would guess would be a guy that turns things around like your Irvin example.

    Who’s the bust in everyone’s mind now, that will be a great player?

    Just a guess….we wont hold you to it. =)

  3. JJ says:

    Points well made Vince. Unfortunately it did not take 3 years to find out much about the 2009 draft.

  4. Vince_Grey says:

    BW – Honestly, I think these days people are far too quick to label a guy a bust, and a star too for that matter. (The one that really sets me off are when they call some guy a “sure-fire” hall of famer, and he’s not even 30 yet.)

    As for your question, who knows? Which is exactly the point, but I’ll say that Felix Jones and Mike Jenkins are two high draft picks who, while certainly not busts yet, could either go boom or go away very soon. Jones really needs to stay healthy this year and take control of that number one RB spot. He seems content to play on half the snaps or less and he needs to be dominant at least some of the time. Emmitt was selfish, but in a good way. I want to see some of that from Felix. Demand the ball.

    Jenkins just needs to grow a pair and man up. He turned total wuss last season, physically and mentally. But, he has the tools to make himself a consistent Pro Bowler if he wants it bad enough.

    Probably Spencer in this group as well. The guy is thisclose to being a star.

    Also, I think Sean Lee will be a very good LB for a long time IF he can stay healthy.

  5. Vince_Grey says:

    JJ – I completely disagree. We took some projects and by that very definition those guys take longer to develop. I think several of these guys will be solid players. Maybe not Pro Bowlers, but solid starters.

    Some of you are way to quick to write off a kicker like David Buehler. Personally, I’m generally against drafting kickers and punters period, but this guy is not the worst kicker I’ve seen. Right now, he’s borderline I’ll admit, but if we cut him now, I can easily see some other team picking him up and having themselves a solid kicker for the next 10 years. I truly believe there’s a really good kicker in there somewhere.

  6. JJ says:


    If you look saw my posts from last season, you’ll know that I’m one of the few that says “stick with Buehler” and I really like Victor Butler and John Phillips but my point is that we should have starters from every draft.

    Jason Wiliams, Robert Brewster, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Smith, Mike Hamlin, Stephen Hodge, Mike Mikens….ughhh. You can certainly see Wade’s hands on this draft.

    As I stated, I have hope for Butler and Phillips. Brewster and Brandon WIlliams are still in play as is McGee but who are the solid starters? Outside of getting nothing from a draft…the fact that the Cowboys have a kicker, whom most want to chase off, a solid 3rd TE, emerging backup OLB and a undeveloped 3rd string TE by all accounts is a poor draft.

  7. Trent says:

    i would add marty b to list of players that a lot of people hate, but that i think will (could) still be great.

    great article.

  8. willis says:

    Vince – let me first say that the idea behind this article took some real imagination, loved it.

    As a guy who has had something to say about this draft and previous ones (especially 09, BTW that was the only cowboys draft party I have ben to so maybe it is a little personal we traded out of the second round to draft …. oh yeah, Jason Williams) I understand that in this day in age there is plenty of criticism especially on the internet. However, I must say that the09 draft was one of the worst of any I can remember(which I understand isn’t that long compared to some of you longertime c-boys fans).

    However, your point is well recieved, we can’t know how this draft will pan out. Was I happy taking another “finesse” linebacker who is injury prone? no. But I’m hoping he proves me, and all the other detractors wishing for a different pick wrong. It would be easy to get on the bandwagon for drafting Ijalana, williams, yada yada yada.

    In reality none of us know, not even the guys drafting, except ozzie newsome, for some reason that guy has been on fire for like 10 years (which makes me wonder why we have several of the highest paid coaches in the league but not the best drafter?)but …. i’m getting off topic.

    This was garrett’s first draft. I know jerry Jones wants to win, and Garrett wants to win as well. they would not have picked these guys if they did not think it was the best scenario. Was it? I don’t know. I’m honestly not a huge fan of garrett ( see double right tight strong article… and articles regarding why in the world he would keep colombo so long as a starter.) But I do sincerely hope, as a true cowboys fan, that this is the next draft we can look back and say ‘see there, the kipers and Mcshay’s, internet bloggers, and draft gurus don’t know a damn thing.’ Because this was the draft that started it all. I hope your right.

    I can dream Tyron Smith is a 15 year left tackle like Walter Jones, Bruce plays like a first round pick and Demarco Murray is an eight time pro-bowler. Now really, who knows? What I do know is I get my cowboys fix by talking about it as well as reading these articles and comments, which is what I really think stokes the fire behind all of this speculation anyway. If I had to pick an addiction, this is a damn good one to have.

  9. willis says:

    garretts first draft as head coach*

  10. Vince_Grey says:

    JJ- Did not mean to imply that you in particular were anti-Buehler, though after re-reading my own post again I can easily see where you would get that idea. My apologies.

    I think Phillips has vast potential. He very, very much impressed me right before he was hurt. Might be more than just a solid starter there. In fact, I think “Marty B” had better watch out for his job.

    Willis – Many thanks for the kudos. The idea just sort of popped in my head while reading various opinions on the Cowboys draft. Probably the medication from my recent surgeries are causing my mind to “expand”. LOL.

    These drafts, even the `09 draft, is great compared to many of Gil Brant’s after the `77 one. Just putrid. Go back and look for yourself.

    Everyone calls Brant and Jimmy draft geniuses, but from what I see in retrospect, are two guys who more than anything else worked the system for extra picks almost every year, which what I LOVE about the Patriots.

    Look, with rare exception, you’re doing well if you “hit” on 30% of your picks. Actually very well. So, in a normal 7 round draft that’s slightly more than 2 picks.

    Makes a lot of sense to me that the more picks you have, especially in those 2-5th “meat” rounds, the far better chance you have of hitting a home run. And if you’re the Pats, maybe in a few years you package some of them to trade up and get Brady’s successor. (No, I don’t think Mallett is that guy at all.)

    Oh, and for all of Ozzie’s skill, he has kind of bombed picking QB’s. (The jury is still WAY out there on Flacco, IMO)

    Let’s see how he does when Lewis and Reed hang it up.

  11. Vince_Grey says:

    BTW, I think Carter was Rob Ryan’s pick all the way. I’ve seen that “finesse” stuff about the guy too, but I just can not under any circumstances see a Ryan DC taking a guy with that inclination, especially a LB.

    Wade yeah, maybe. (Obviously, `cause he did.). Ryan? No way.

  12. moses says:


    We gotta give it a few years and also compare it to what was on the board at the time.
    In addition, we have to evaluate the ramifications of trades like 2 #1 for Galloway, #1 and #3 for Roy Williams.
    When we look at the last few years it does not look like our scouting and draft selections are anything to brag about. Average at best
    Ravens, Patriots and Colts always seem to find the right guys. I would cut these teams some slack because they are perennial Super Bowl contenders. At 5-11 the Cowboys deserve more scrutiny

  13. Vince_Grey says:

    Moses – I pray Jerry has learned his lesson on this: Never trade premium picks for anything other than a top QB. It almost never works out for the team getting the player.

    Especially a receiver. You can get good receivers anywhere, any time.

  14. Mont Seventeen says:

    The Cowboys have drafted 1 Olineman in the first round in recent memory… If you are going to rag on fans at least get it right… This fan base has witnessed Nate, Tui and Gogan play for a 3-13 Tom Landry team and then called the Greatest Line in NFL History just 3 seasons later. Cowboy fans don’t care if the Cowboys pass on Olinemen and Tony Manadrich didn’t have the Star power of other names in that draft! If you would have said Deion on Barry you may have an argument ab Cowboy fans, especially since 90% of the fan base wanted Prince Amukamara over Tron. You blew the first analogy by a mile I didn’t bother to read the other ones… But I get the gist of the assertion but you have to admit a lot of that is generated from Jerry’s failures drafting… In 92 not one Cowboy fan said a word when Jimmy drafted former high school recruits Darrin Smith and Kevin Willims Jerry doesn’t have that track record.

    So your insinuating the fans don’t know what they are talking ab and they may not… But its proven that Jerry doesn’t know much more.

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