IRVING, Texas -- When I am asked what I thought about how a draft went for a team, my answer is always the same: we will know in two to three years.
While I was in Philadelphia, we had a draft in 1998 where a scout from another team told me one week after the draft that we had the worst one in NFL history.
A few short years later, four of those eight selections made the Pro Bowl: Tra Thomas, Jeremiah Trotter, Allan Rossum and Ike Reese, all taken in that draft. My point is that you really cannot evaluate a draft until the players have the opportunity to play in the league.
"The Stack" is the scouting term that is used during draft meetings to determine the order you have the players ranked on the board. The Cowboys generally have between 130 to 140 names on their draft board as they execute a draft. The Stack is used to keep the order of how much you like the players if there is a tie grade-wise on the board and you have the opportunity to draft either player. I know that appears to be a small number, but just to give you an example, in this past draft, the club had eight names left on the board when the draft ended.
In taking a look back, here are some examples of players that were drafted in 2012 and are playing well for their teams and where the Cowboys had them ranked in "The Stack".
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis – No. 1
Morris Claiborne, Dallas –No. 2
Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia – No. 5
Michael Brockers, St. Louis – No. 6
Ryan Kalil, Minnesota – No. 7,
Luke Kuechley, Carolina – No. 10
Kendall Wright, Tennessee – No. 13
Dontrai Poe, Kansas City – No. 16
Olivier Vernon, Miami – No. 37
Trumaine Johnson, St. Louis – No. 39
Bobby Wagner, Seattle –No. 43
Lamar Miller, Miami – No. 48
Malik Jackson, Denver – No. 57
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis – No. 78
JR Sweezey, Seattle – No. 100
Players that were off the board for medical reasons or character issues:
- Quinton Coples (New York Jets), Chandler Jones (New England Patriots), Alshon Jeffrey (Chicago Bears), Lavonte David (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). [embedded_ad]
Players that were drafted but were on the board as free agents:
- Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks), Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins), Alfonzo Dennard (Patriots), Rishard Matthews (Miami Dolphins), Bryce Brown (Philadelphia Eagles), Daryl Richardson (St. Louis Rams).
There are two boards in the draft room that the front office will go off during the draft -- which is the Stack and Position Board. I have always found that the Stack was the best way to draft because it always allowed you to take the best player available, especially early in the draft when you are focusing on trying to hit on that right player.
Examples are what they have done the last two seasons with Travis Frederick. In 2013, Frederick was taken 31st overall with a Stack ranking of No. 22. Third-round pick Terrance Williams was taken 74th overall with a Stack ranking of No. 22.