FRISCO, Texas – Not sure what you guys think about leftovers. Me, big on them.
So, let’s dabble in some leftovers, draft leftovers. There’s always a few things that fall through the cracks in the heat of the three-day moment, creating warmed up shots four days later.
- Coooop: Kept hearing during the draft that had the Cowboys not traded away their first-round pick, at 27 for Amari Cooper, then they could have drafted Johnathan Abram, the safety the Oakland Raiders selected with the Cowboys pick. Ha! If the Cowboys didn’t trade for Cooper, no way they would have been drafting 27th. Do we remember that at the halfway point last year the Cowboys were 3-5? What’s to suggest they would have been better than another 3-5 the second half. That’s 6-10. Maybe 7-9. With that record, the Cowboys would have been picking somewhere between No. 8 and 16. That would have given them the opportunity choose between DTs Ed Oliver, Christian Wilkins or even Dexter Lawrence. But guess what? Finding a No. 1 receiver still would have been their No. 1 priority. But guess what? No wide receiver was taken until Marquise Brown at 25 by Baltimore. And the only other first-round wide receiver was N’Keal Harry, with the 32nd selection by New England. Helluva trade.
- My Man Deebo: Or, that is, the Cowboys could have traded way down and still got my man Deebo. Yeah. Deebo Samuel, ending up the third wide receiver off the board, fourth pick in the second round by San Francisco. At least give me credit for having good taste.
- Tony, Tony: Cowboys fourth-round pick Tony Pollard could have returned to Memphis for one final season. But with degree already in hand, and three full seasons under his belt, the red-shirt junior decided to move on after producing 1,359 all-purpose yards in 2018. Remember watching him against Missouri this past year. The guy can scoot. He ran the ball eight times for 84 yards in that game, catching two passes for 44. And get this in 2016, his kickoff return for a touchdown was the first for Memphis in 20 years. He also makes tackles as the gunner on punt coverage. If the Cowboys are to keep a third running back active on game day, that guy must play special teams, and more so than just returning kickoffs.
- On The Corner: This is amazing to me that Cowboys undrafted free agent Chris Westry is a cornerback . . . at 6-4. Now we know Cowboys secondary coach Kris Richard likes tall corners. But 6-4? And wait, at Kentucky’s Pro Day – he wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine – Westry ran a 4.31 in the 40, which would have been the second fastest defensive back time at the NFL Combine and would have matched the fastest run by wide receivers. Then a 38-inch vertical. With those measurables in his hip pocked, can’t wait to see if he can cover.
- Blinking Red Light: The Cowboys had no intention of selecting an interior offensive lineman in the third round of the draft. Thus, had no ulterior motive to grab Penn State’s Connor McGovern, like they still are worried about the health of Travis Frederick or they have visions of moving Connor Williams from guard to right tackle if La’el Collins becomes too expensive to re-sign in 2020 as a free agent. As Jason Garrett said to me, when they looked at the board bearing down on pick 90, the proverbial red light went “blink, blink, blink” on his name, as if to say, whoa, lookie who still is here. The guard/center with a second-round grade. Cowboys rightfully so couldn’t resist.
- Grade This: Bet you never realized how many draft experts have entered this cottage industry, seemingly everyone and their brother qualified to grade these NFL drafts. Give me a break. Plus, this is a projection-oriented business. No one knows all on every team in the league. Case in point, let’s take the 2016 draft. Friday is the deadline for teams to pick up the fifth-year option on their first-round picks – as did the Cowboys with Ezekiel Elliott, selected fourth that year. Man, if you’re drafting a guy in the first round at least through pick 20, that guy ought to be productive enough to pick up that fifth-year option, plus even earn a second contract. If not, you failed. But as of Wednesday, only 15 of the 31 teams – New England had to forfeit its first-round pick – had picked up the fifth-year option on their first-round selection. That included each of the first seven picks in the first and eight of the top 10. But that’s it. Now three years later, go grade that. As for the Cowboys, a draft netting Elliott, Jaylon Smith, Maliek Collins, Dak Prescott, Anthony Brown, Kavon Frazier, Darius Jackson and Rico Gathers, all still are on the team with the exception of one, Charles Tapper, produced mixed grades. Right after the draft the Cowboys, from a jury of reporters (only two local), received 2 A-minuses, 7 Bs (3 pluses, 4 minuses), four Cs (1 plus, one minus), one D and a thumbs-up from ESPN.com’s local reporter Todd Archer. Case closed.
Lastly in memoriam, Roger Emrich, the booming voice of AT&T Stadium during Cowboys games, passed away this past Saturday at age 62. Roger suffered a heart attack, that after suffering through multiple health complications and the emotional passing of his wife in 2014. If it’s been said once, it’s been said 1,000 times: Rog was the nicest man I’ve ever known. No matter following surgeries, having to peddle himself around with one foot while kneeling on one of those scooters following foot surgery, Roger always had a smile on his face, producing an upbeat approach. Remember him from way back in 1992 how nice he was to me while working at KRLD-AM radio when I was there scrambling part-time after the Dallas Times Herald folded, knowing nothing about the radio business. And will never forget the time after the football coaching clinic the Cowboys would put on at Texas Stadium, while trying to get an interview with owner Jerry Jones before the start of training camp, Jerry bringing the two of us down to his awaiting car, and big ol’ Rog in the backseat reaching over the front seat to get his microphone close enough to Jerry. Not sure why, but still makes me laugh.
Best tribute to Rog, a Texas Radio Hall of Famer, came from his son Ted, now a talented broadcaster himself, tweeting out, “The man with the voice of God is now in heaven.” And he’ll still be the best storyteller up there, too.
So, to the man of many top hats, hats off you to Rog for a life well lived.