Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Teaches: Drafting on a Budget 101

Steve DuranContributor IMay 13, 2009

Unbelievably, it might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Cowboy football.  I know at first glance it would be like watching The Grinch take service calls, but putting Jerry Jones on a budget forced him to listen to his coaching staff, something he has been reluctant to do in the past.

Year after year, one of the hardest choices a coach has to make is benching the high dollar contract and getting a more productive player on the field. 

This year, Jones put on a clinic, we are now all hoping, what the rookies lack in star power, they make up for with guile. 

There is a caveat, (if you consider a $1.5 billion stadium, that hasn't sold out and without a naming rights deal, a caveat), but whatever the motivation, it was like watching Jones shop in the basement of Macy's, and he did good.

The players he brought to the Cowboys appear to be a mixed bag of production players and workout wonders. Reasonably, Jones was quoted as saying he expected seven or eight of these names to make the roster: 

Rd3, OLB, Jason Williams:  6-1, 241 lbs, clocked 4.49 at his Pro Day. While not invited to the Combine was credited with having a better workout then any outside linebacker at the NFL Combine.

Rd3, OT, Robert Brewster:  6-4, 325 lbs, clocked at 5.24. Credited with 13 touchdown blocks in 14 games.

Rd4, QB Stephen McGee:  6-3, 223 lbs, clocked at 4.66. Limited to three games his senior year because of a tear in his throwing shoulder labrum. He did have decent totals prior with 4,606 yards and 60 percent completions.

Rd4, DE, Victor Butler: 6-2, 248 lbs, clocked at 4.84. Standout pass rusher but considered undersized. 

Rd4, DE, Brandon Williams: 6-5, 252 lbs, clocked at 5.0. Tall with room for 20 lbs, quick off the snap.

Rd5, CB, DeAngelo Smith: 5-11, 194 lbs, clocked at 4.57. Aggressive, long arms, and good hands.

Rd5, FS, Michael Hamin: 6-2, 213 lbs, clocked at 4.62. Reliable tackler, good run support and instincts.

Rd5, K, David Buehler: 6-2, 227 lbs, clocked at 4.62. Big accurate leg, athletic with ability to make open field tackles.

Rd6, SS, Stephen Hodge: 6-0, 235 lbs, clocked at 4.58. Long arms, big hitter, excellent special teams prospect.

Rd6, TE, John Phillips: 6-5, 251 lbs, clocked at 4.79. Four year starter, long arms, good instincts, accelerates smoothly with good hands. 

Rd7, CB, Mike Mickens: 6-0, 186 lbs, no time available. Good cover corner, quick feet, reads well, has a second gear.

Rd7, WR, Manuel Johnson: 5-11, 189 lbs, no time available. Adequate speed, good agility, reliable route-runner, good hands, tough, missing only one game after serious injury to elbow. 

I am going to argue that the Cowboys were already a good football team and without the distractions of Pac-Man Jones and Terrell Owens are a better team, addition by subtraction.

I am also going to argue that Jason Garrett wasn't criticized as much as he should have been, as many point to a long list of injuries for this leniency:

TE Jason Witten (ribs)
CB Anthony Henry (quadriceps)
LB Anthony Spencer (hamstring)
QB Tony Romo (finger)
CB Terence Newman (sports hernia)
RB Felix Jones (hamstring)
LG Kyle Kosier (foot)
S Pat Watkins (neck)
P Mat McBriar (foot)
WR Sam Hurd (ankle)
S Roy Williams (forearm)

The real question is, if this is the list of injuries that caused the Cowboys to stumble last year, did Jones fill these needs with the draft?  

There is still time to pick up a few extra pieces, like Anquan Boldin, but I would say Jerry Jones is now actually a better owner because of this experience.


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