Rolling Dice At No. 27


Clark to Chicago. He played all of one year in Dallas. Then there was 1994 when the Cowboys traded up from 28 to 24 to select Shante Carver. In 1995 they went the other way, trading out of the 28th spot for two second rounders, regrettably turning those into RB Sherman Williams and OG Shane Hannah. 

They did the same trade down in 1996 after winning Super Bowl XXX, turning the 30th pick into a second and third which brought Kavika Pittman and Clay Shiver. And in 1997, making it five straight years of trading when having a pick between 25 and 32, they traded up from 25 to 22 for TE David LaFleur. 

Yeesh. 

Now then, when they actually remained with picks between 25 and 32, and you will be excused if you don't even recognize some of these names, here are their selections: 1961, G Steve Barber (30); 1971, DE Toby Smith (25); 1972, RB Bill Thomas (26); 1976, DB Aaron Kyle (27); 1978, DL Larry Bethea (28); 1979, C Robert Shaw (27); 1981, OT Howard Richards (26); 1982, DB Rod Hill (26); 1984, Billy Cannon (25); and 1990, WR Alexander Wright (26, 2nd round). If all that makes you a tad woozy, also factor in two of those guys never played for the Cowboys, Barber signing instead with the AFL and Cannon discovering spinal problems that kept him from ever playing a down. 

Not at all encouraging. 

But if you are sticking with recent and modern history, since 2005 the Cowboys have done a wonderful job of following their board and nabbing starters. In fact, they have found in the first round four and possibly five starters in the past five drafts, depending on if Felix Jones ends up starting at running back this season: DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Spencer and Jenkins. Not bad. 

The only miss when it comes to a starter is Bobby Carpenter, with the 18th pick in 2006. 

So that should give you some perspective on what the Cowboys will be up against come April 22. And I know everyone seems dead set on the Cowboys taking an offensive lineman or safety in the first round, but do you realize Richards in 1981 is the last time the Cowboys selected an offensive lineman in the first round. And that they have done so only two other times in 49 drafts, with guard John Niland in 1966 and Shaw in 1979. That's it. 

And when it comes to selecting safeties in the first round, they've done so only once, that being Roy Williams in 2002, and we all know how that turned out. What are the odds then for selecting a guy at either of those positions in 2010? 

Oh, and wide receiver? Not since Alvin Harper in 1991, and at that only two other first-round receivers in their history: Michael Irvin in 1988 and Mike Sherrard in 1986. 

Just sayin'. 

It would seem highly unlikely in the first round for the Cowboys to take a quarterback or running back or fullback or tight end or outside linebacker or nose tackle or cornerback. But if the Cowboys follow their first-round philosophy of going with speed, size or guys who touch the ball a lot (quarterbacks or running backs) or need to touch the ball a lot (cornerbacks), then this leaves one position not many are talking about: 

A 3-4 defensive end, and that's if there is one available at that point in the draft. Sure, not sexy, but you know what, Russell Maryland and Randy White weren't so sexy at the time. Neither was some guy known as Ed Jones. Neither was Jim Jeffcoat or Greg Ellis. And I can't vouch for Bob Lilly, but he was only the 13th pick in the first round. 

But here is all I know: Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher all are restricted free agents, and the one-year tenders they've signed aren't guaranteed. Only Igor Olshansky is under contract past the 2010 season. All four basically are role players. There are no other 3-4 defensive ends on the roster, except for two-year practice squader Marcus Dixon. Like, what if you found a complete 3-4 defensive end, one able to play the run yet capable of providing a serious pass rush, even staying on the field on third down lining up between Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware? 

Hey, just a thought. 

And as good as anyone might have at this time when trying to figure out what will go down at No. 27.             

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