They said don’t take a running back with the fourth overall pick, especially not when Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris would be “good enough” behind that monstrous offensive line.
They said throwing away your second round pick on a “redshirt player” will ruin the whole draft class. And they said you will get nothing out of your fourth round rookie quarterback who won’t be able to play in a professional system.
Almost a full year later, we can all agree that “they” were wrong, and the so-called draft experts have now validated our opinions on the Dallas Cowboys’ 2016 NFL Draft Class.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. grades every team’s draft class the week after the draft concludes, based entirely on his own big board. After last year’s draft, he gave the Cowboys a “C,” citing the need for Dak Prescott to adapt to a pro-style offense and the decreased value of the running back position in his explanation.
This week, Mel Kiper re-visited his 2016 draft grades to re-grade each team, and as you would expect, the Dallas Cowboys were the biggest risers.
“This was obviously a fabulous draft, netting a franchise-changer at the quarterback position and useful players elsewhere, with only one major question mark that directly affects the ability of this team to be a Super Bowl contender in 2017.”
Now given an “A-,” with Jaylon Smith’s return the only domino left to fall before being given an “A,” the Cowboys’ rookies played well above all expectations in 2016, and have the franchise set up incredibly well for the future.
While it was cool to see Kiper re-assess his grades and admit how wrong he was on the Cowboys last year, let this be a cautionary tale for this year’s draft as well.
The Cowboys might not “wow” people with their 2017 draft class in April. Some even may say they underachieved on draft day, or maybe failed to address the dire needs on the defensive side of the ball properly.
But no matter what the grades say in April, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is how those same rookies perform in September and beyond, hopefully until it’s time for a second contract with the Cowboys.
All in all, I think Will McClay and company have earned our trust these past few years when it comes to the NFL Draft.