It was revealed earlier this month that the Dallas Cowboys are once again the most valuable football brand in the world, with a turnover of $4.8 billion. However, this has raised questions of why success isn’t forthcoming, with that elusive Super Bowl still waiting. When you cast an eye over the winners from the past few years, a detail sticks out: how the draft process is being played out.
Like in the UK with soccer’s Manchester United, it’s proven that a high turnover doesn’t guarantee success. The proof might be in targeted drafting and generating a strategy that revolves around focusing on the best programs. Homemade players sometimes feel the best for the fans, but as Ezekiel Elliott has shown, some of the key players are from outside the local program.
The successful colleges and their attributes
To get an idea of where the best talent comes from, you need to look at the colleges of the winners. For that, there are few people who would object to calling Alabama the strongest football college, with 44 Alabama alumni in the NFL, as reported by Business Insider. What makes them tick?
Obviously, there is the quality of the training and facilities.
Like Florida, Alabama has elite training facilities and training methods. However, many other states lay claim to this, too, and while the win record of Alabama teams is laudable, that doesn’t necessarily generate NFL players.
Part of the reason that Alabama does so well is around the student life and the cost of living. As Alabama is the fifth cheapest place to live in the USA, this gives students the flexibility to relax and focus on both their studies and football, ultimately developing into superior players.
Where the Cowboys could make an impact
To credit the Cowboys, their draft strategy seems to have taken a nod to today’s powerhouses of college football. 2018 has seen the arrival of Bo Scarbrough from Alabama, Xavier Woods arrived in 2017 from talent-heavy Louisiana, in addition to Ohio’s Noah Brown. Taking a look at the draft picks of other teams could hint at where the direction is headed, and how the Cowboys might benefit.
The form of Georgia State has seen the Patriots draft two players concurrently, and have seen – alongside Florida – their birth rate for NFL players shoot up the rankings.
The highest rates of NFL talent come from the Southern states, Texas aside. These states also have some of the lowest cost of living rates in the country, outside of the larger conurbations, and provide real educational opportunities.
This is something Texas has moved toward, with SMU offering STEM fields to football students. Looking to their next drafts, the Cowboys could benefit from looking at these states and taking advantage of football students from the low-cost, high-win rate programs.
As the Cowboys search for further success and the holy grail, the Super Bowl, they might benefit from refocusing their draft strategy. Statistics show that some states are simply better than others, from a combination of their preferable quality of life and facilities.
With changes already being made, it might be that Dallas has better and better players coming through the draft every year.