IRVING, Texas – Earlier this week, I teamed up with Bryan Broaddus on this website for a Point/Counterpoint article on the idea of drafting players with some off-the-field incidents and baggage.
I took the point that sometimes these guys aren't worth the risk, and we specifically mentioned Nebraska's Randy Gregory.
Now that Gregory is a Dallas Cowboy, I'm not going to back off my opinion. At the No. 27 pick in the first round, taking Gregory, who failed a drug test at the combine, isn't worth the risk.
At No. 60, it's a different ballgame.
In this league, you really can't miss on your first-round pick, which is why the Cowboys went after a rather safe and solid pick in Bryon Jones.
But in the second round, and every round after that, it's about value. You can't get better value with the 60th overall pick than Gregory.
It's just not the same argument. The Cowboys can take a risk on a player like Gregory at No. 60 because the pressure to be elite isn't the same. The reward outweighs the risk because if he comes in, stays humble, works to correct his issues and takes to good coaching, he could be one of the best pass-rushers in the draft.
If not, well then he falls in line with yet another second-round pick that didn't pan out. It's not ideal because you're still counting on these guys to contribute. But second-rounders who don't help you consistently doesn't exactly set you back for years to come.
Now, the Cowboys will be linked to the running backs they didn't take here at No. 60, passing on Indiana's Tevin Coleman and Miami's Duke Johnson. Both players went in the third round and both players were guys the Cowboys figured to covet heading into Friday. And considering the Cowboys didn't get a back in the third round, Gregory will be compared to the two backs they passed on.
For the last few years, the Cowboys have stood in here and taken the best available player. Last year, Zack Martin was the best on the board at No. 16 and clearly the Cowboys were seeking other options. But when the defensive guys were wiped out, Martin was the best of the bunch. That turned out rather well.
Byron Jones wasn't the best on the board at No. 27 in terms of talent. As it turns out, Jones was the second-best player the Cowboys had rated.
The first was Gregory – a risky pick at No. 27. Those risks were diminished a round later and that's why both of them will be paired together as the two newest players on the Cowboys' defense.