After each and every draft, grades are handed out like candy on Halloween. These grades are based on where expert thinks the best value was found and who reached too early. Did a team get a steal with a guy in the seventh round? Did they reach way too early in the first?
The fact is, grading a draft the day after it happens is basically pointless. There is no way to tell how a good, or bad, a pick can be until they get on the field for a full season. And even after one season, it still can be difficult to get a true read on some guys. Most people think you need two or three years to fully grade ones draft class.
So with the 2013 draft right around the corner, we take a look at the 2010 Dallas Cowboys draft class and how those selections have fared.
1.24 WR – Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State
Bryant came in the league with some immaturity question, but his natural talent was something that Dallas couldn’t pass on. Dallas gave up their third round pick in order to move up and grab Bryant. He only started 2 games his rookie season, but finished with 45 catches, 561 yards, and 6 TD. He also added 2 punt return TD as well. He’s had a few minor off-field issues early on, but has stayed out of the spotlight this offseason, and after last season in which Bryant accounted for 1,382 yards receiving to go along with 12 TD, he’s looking the part of one of the top WRs in the league.
With Bryant developing into a true number one WR, and maturing off the field, the Cowboys seem to of hit a homerun with this pick.
Should have selected: Bryant – After a bit of a bumpy start, Bryant’s 2012 season was what the Cowboys were planning on getting when they drafted him. Has the skillset and talent to develop into one of the better WRs in the NFL.
2.23 ILB – Sean Lee, Penn State
Sean Lee fell on draft day due to concerns about a knee he injured in college. Known for his high football IQ and overall toughness, Lee was able to take things slow as rookie as he backed up Keith Brooking and Bradie James. He had a fantastic 2011 season leading the team in tackles with a total of 105. Also led the team with 4 interceptions. Was only in the teams first 7 games last season (toe injury) but looked the part of the Cowboys best defender with 58 total tackles.
Injuries have been somewhat of a concern early on in his career, but Lee has the making of the Cowboys next great defensive player. He’s a leader on and off the field and should continue to develop as a player that opposing offenses have to gameplan for.
Grade: A –
Should have selected: Lee – He’s everything that Dallas needed and wanted at the time. He looks the part of a franchise defensive player and should continue to flourish even with the switch to the 4-3
4.28 S – Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Indiana (Pa.)
Cowboys drafted Owusu-Ansah knowing they had to be patient while he developed as a NFL FS. But they anticipated he could contribute immediately as a kick returner. That never happened as battled injuries and he failed to make an impact on Special Teams or as a Safety.
Prior to his release late in the 2011 season, AOA totaled 28 kickoffs for 599 and zero touchdowns. Dallas looked to convert him to WR in hopes his playmaking ability could get him on the field, but that was a failed experiment as well. He was picked up by Jacksonville late in 2011, and spent the 2012 season in Oakland.
Should have selected: Kam Chancellor – The Pro Bowl Safety was selected 7 spots after AOA, and has totaled 220 career tackles to go along with 4 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles.
6.10 OT – Sam Young, Notre Dame
At the time, Young was considered good value in the 6th round. He came from a pro-style offense and amassed over 50 career starts while at Notre Dame. He had NFL size, and was thought he could be groomed as the teams future RT.
Instead he never developed the way the Cowboys had hoped. He stuck around for the 2010 season, but was cut in 2011. He landed with Buffalo and made 4 starts and is currently listed as their backup RT
Should have selected: Antonio Brown – While at the time Dallas wasn’t in the market to select two wide receivers, Brown has emerged as the Steelers top WR for 2013, and was the first person in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving and return yards in a single season.
6.27 CB – Jamar Wall, Texas Tech
Cowboys thought that Wall could come in right away and contribute on Special Teams and eventually battle for, at worst, the third CB position. Instead, what they got was someone who never saw the field as a Cowboys as he was one of the last players cut back in September of 2010. Tallied one career tackle and had brief stints with the Texans and Eagles
Should have selected: Trindon Holliday – When picking late in the draft you look for immediate contributors to your Special Teams unit. Holiday could’ve added just that as one of the more dynamic returners in the NFL. Picked one spot after Jamar Wall, Holliday was someone the Cowboys could’ve used at the time.
7.27 DT/DE – Sean Lissemore, Williams & Mary
Coming out of college, Lissemore was known for his relentless motor and untapped potential, and thats exactly what the Cowboys got out of him. He comes to work everyday and brings the intensity and hard work he was known for in college. He continues to develop, and while he will never be considered a week in and week out starter, Dallas saw enough to reward him with a three-year contract extension this past season. He will move to DT in the new 4-3 and once again be relied on to bring a spark off the bench.
Should have selected: Lissemore – Brandon Deaderick wouldn’t have been a bad option, but Dallas loves what they have in Lissemore.
This class will always be remembered for Dez Bryant and Sean Lee, and any time you can grab two long term starters in a draft it should be considered a very successful draft. However, having three picks in the middle of the draft basically wasted is a bit troublesome. Lissemore provided great value as one the last players picked in the draft.