With the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement to expire at midnight, and no deal on the way, the only event to look forward to for now is the 2011 Draft. Currently, everyone is talking about the combine and who the Cowboys will take come April. So it's only right to look backward before we look forward, so let's take a look at the Cowboys' 2008 draft.
#22 Felix Jones RB, Arkansas
In three seasons in Dallas, Jones has racked up 1,751 rushing yards and 579 receiving yards but just eight touchdowns. The low number of touchdowns can be attributed to Jones being a backup for the first two years he was in Dallas, as well as Marion Barber being used as a short-yardage back, especially in the redzone.
While many analysts have criticized the Cowboys for not drafting Rashard Mendenhall, who has had almost a thousand more rushing yards and 14 more touchdowns in his career than Jones, I still consider Jones a good pick. He's averaged over five yards per carry before last season and, after playing heavier last season, he realized that was a mistake and will play at a lower weight in 2012.
# 25 Mike Jenkins CB, South Florida
Mike Jenkins was solid in his first two years in Dallas, even earning a pro bowl selection in 2010. However, last season he was constantly beat by elite receivers and was also very prone to penalties as well.
Because of his terrible season, and the secondary in general, mock drafts have the Cowboys taking a defensive back Prince Amukamara out of Nebraska.
Jenkins still has the potential to be a great corner but has to rebound from last season. If the Cowboys draft Amukamara, they'll want him and Jenkins to be their corners for a long time. However, Jenkins has to show he deserves to be in that class and, if Amukamara has a solid rookie campaign with the Cowboys while Jenkins struggles, the Cowboys could start considering other options.
#61 Martellus Bennett TE, Texas A&M
Bennett was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round and was tabbed as a second tight end who wouldn't back up Jason Witten as much as play with him. However, Bennett hasn't shown much in his three years with Dallas besides immaturity and inconsistency.
Third-string tight end, John Phillips, had Bennett beaten out during camp last season, but tore his ACL which put Bennett back in the fold. However, it was another disappointing season for Bennett as he had just 33 catches for 260 yards and no touchdowns.
Bennett was drafted as part of a trade Dallas had with the Dolphins, with Anthony Fasano (who has outplayed Bennett since the trade) heading to Miami.
Analysts have been critical of this, as there was no need for the Cowboys to draft Bennett. They already had a solid tight end, but owner Jerry Jones felt Bennett would make the offense much better.
#122 Tashard Choice RB, Georgia Tech
This was another pick the Cowboys received from the Browns (they also received the pick they used to draft Jones) for a trade in 2007. Choice has spot started in his three years in Dallas and has succeeded every time he's gotten the start with the Cowboys.
When Marion Barber was injured against the Colts last season, Choice had 19 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Choice hasn't been able to consistently crack the Cowboys' running back rotation and, according to Jason Garrett, it was because of his lack of play on special teams. However, all signs point to the Cowboys cutting Marion Barber at some point this off-season, which would allow Choice to be the second-string running back.
Was this a good draft?
#144 Orlando Scandrick CB, Boise State
Orlando Scandrick was the Cowboys' fifth-round pick and was tabbed as the counterpart to Mike Jenkins as the Cowboys' secondary for the future. However, it was indicated in his second season that his strength was playing in the slot, not on the outside.
Last season, Scandrick also struggled in the secondary. That said, he did play better after Wade Phillips was fired as the head coach, and the Cowboys played more zone defense in the secondary.
If the Cowboys draft Amukamara, Scandrick will have to compete with him for the third cornerback spot. If he loses, he could see a significant cut in his playing time—especially if Amukamara excels along with Jenkins and Terence Newman.
#167 Eric Walden DE, Middle Tennessee
Eric Walden was the first pick in the sixth round. He was eventually cut from the team and has played with the Chiefs and the Dolphins before landing with the Packers last season.
He played in nine games with the Packers in 2010 and recorded 25 tackles and three sacks.