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Eatman: Don't Underestimate Half-Dozen Picks in 7th Round

Posted Apr 10, 2014


When the Cowboys heard the news back in late March that they were getting three extra picks, there seemed to be a lot of excitement. I’m not sure the club expected to get three, and to them it doesn’t matter if they’re seventh-round picks.

And remember, compensatory picks cannot be traded, so it’s not like they can stockpile their six, yes six, picks in the seventh round to get a higher one.

If history proves anything, the Cowboys should go ahead and take them all. Don’t forget this team has been pretty good in rookie free agency. They’ll get two or three undrafted rookies to make the team every year. Well, with six picks in the seventh round, consider it an early jump on the rest of the league. A player that they’re not sure will come to them in free agency – whether it’s because of signing bonus, potential to make the team or just location and proximity to family – now the Cowboys don’t have to wait until then. They’ve got the picks to draft them.

With seventh-rounders, you really just want them to make the team that first year. Expectations to eventually start down the road are a little far-fetched, but it happens.

Going back over the last 10 seasons, the Cowboys have drafted a few seventh-round picks, who not only made the team, but started. Some of the players have started games for other teams, but that tends to happen with late-round picks. The patience for them to develop isn’t the same as it might be for the middle-rounders.

Still, all the scouts can do is provide enough information to determine whether or not they can play in this league. Let’s look back at few notable seventh-round picks the Cowboys have drafted in the past 10 years:

 year

player

position

Games Played

NFL starts

2011

Bill Nagy

G/C

4

4

2010

Sean Lissemore

DT

44

8

2007

Alan Ball

CB

86

37

2006

Pat McQuistan

G/T

72

11

2005

Jay Ratliff

DT

109

89

2004

Nate Jones

CB

106

11

2004

Patrick Crayton

WR

105

35

2004

Jacques Reeves

CB

90

36

Obviously, Ratliff is the best of the bunch. In fact, he might be the best seventh-round pick in Cowboys history. While things didn’t work out well on the back end, the Cowboys would be ecstatic to find another four-time Pro Bowler in the seventh round.

Looking at that list, most of them occurred in the Bill Parcells era (2003-06). The Cowboys haven’t really hit on a seventh-rounder in recent years. Last season they didn’t have a seventh, but sixth-rounder DeVonte Holloman was arguably one of the better picks of the entire draft. In 2012, Caleb McSurdy suffered a torn Achilles injury as a rookie and then didn’t make the team when he returned last year.

But the Cowboys will get plenty of chances to right the seventh-round ship this season.
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