The NFL Draft is practically here. Thursday night will begin what the draft world refers to as Football Christmas. Front office and scouting personnel wake up that day like little boys and girls around the world on Christmas morning, hoping there'll be presents under their tree.
Opening that present and discovering a lump of coal can be heart-wrenching for a franchise; especially when that first round pick doesn't work out. There are countless stories from around the league of first round draft picks turning out to be that dark, boring, lump of coal.
Think about how ineffective the Morris Claiborne pick was. He was a serviceable player, but when you trade up for a player at the sixth overall pick, the expectations are sky-high.
While Mo was good in stretches, his inconsistency and inability to stay healthy hindered the franchise at cornerback.
On the flip side we have Anthony Brown, the 2016 sixth round pick.
A lot of people from Cowboys Twitter seemed to like the pick, but nobody expected Brown to play a significant role for the team in his rookie season. He showed, however, that he was up to the significant challenge of starting on the outside and helping in the slot.
Your Dallas Cowboys have had their fair share of goodies and coal throughout the years; as has every franchise. And as we've seen from the 2016 NFL Draft, one group of rookies can change the fortune of your franchise's future for years to come.
That was a rare draft class that produced four impact players in their rookie seasons.
With Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Maliek Collins, and Anthony Brown, this group has the potential to be part of the core of this team for the next decade. If the optimistic reports (which I tend to believe, as the eternal optimist) about Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper come to be, last year's draft class could provide six players that have a starting or rotational role for years to come.
There will be a lot of columns from around the football world following the draft assigning grades to the Dallas Cowboys 2017 draft class. That grade will likely be based on how the individual grader views each player.
Let's not forget that the Cowboys front office was universally panned for selecting Travis Frederick 31st overall in the 2013 draft. All he's turned out to be is a perennial Pro Bowler with All-Pro ability as he anchors the league's best offensive line.
2016 may have spoiled us as a fan base with the amount of rookie contributions we got from the four rookies mentioned above. Typically we don't see a rookie class have that kind of impact in their first year, and we may not in 2017.
The great thing about this Football Christmas is the things on your wish list will be well stocked.
They will have plenty of weak-side pass rushing defensive ends, which is the top thing I'm asking Santa for this year.
Defensive back high on your list? There's plenty of those to meet the demand in 2017.
Need a tight end to replace the one that has a lot of sentimental value, but just isn't working like he once did, there are excellent options in the first four rounds of the draft.
The point being, the Cowboys front office won't have to overpay like Toby did for “Princess Unicorn” in The Office to find impact players that will have a chance to contribute in 2017 and for years to come.
That said, we likely won't know how good or bad the 2017 NFL Draft turned out for the Dallas Cowboys for several years.
This year when we wake up on Football Christmas, there will be a ton of hope and excitement for the gifts the Cowboys will open up, don't let national “draft gurus” dampen your excitement with premature draft grades.
I'm dreaming of a War Daddy
To be picked at Twenty Eight
Who has speed to spare and
Pass rush moves that can win
And can blow by tackles everyday
I'm dreaming of an impact rookie
Who will be a starter from day one
May your Sundays provide wins and delight.
And may all your Lombardi's shine bright.