Offseason | 2021

Second-Round Chances Nothing New For Cowboys

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FRISCO, Texas – What is that player still doing there? Something must be wrong for him to fall like that.

Those are the statements that get asked every single year during the draft. It never fails that a player or two, or even a handful, had expectations of going in the first round but for one reason or another, they find themselves still available in the second round.

It some senses, the second round can be dubbed as the "value" round. Or maybe, it's the "taking a chance" round.

And for the Cowboys, both of those monikers have been true, especially here in recent years.

The Cowboys haven't been shy about the fact they like to take some risks in the second round, especially if there's a chance to steal some value on a player that has either fallen because of injury, character issues or any other reason that might cause a player to drop.

It happened again this year for the Cowboys, who desperately wanted a cornerback – so much so they were likely willing to take either Patrick Surtain or Jaycee Horn in the first round despite having higher grades on Micah Parsons and Rashawn Slater.

So in the second round, they got their cornerback – one that likely has first-round talent in Kelvin Joseph.

So what's the issue? With Joseph the only questions – ones the Cowboys most certainly answered before the pick – is that of his commitment to football and his team. He reportedly left LSU's squad after the 2018 season after he was sent home from the bowl game. Joseph transferred to Kentucky where he played half of last season before deciding to "opt out" and prepare for the draft, although it was widely reported that the decision to part ways was a mutual decision by Joseph and Kentucky's staff.

Joseph is also an accomplished rapper with several produced albums. But he insists football is his top priority and the Cowboys are obviously willing to give him that chance.

This certainly wouldn't be the first player the Cowboys have taken a chance on in the second round. Here are some recent 2ndround risks:

  • Jaylon Smith – One of the biggest question marks of the 2016 NFL Draft, Smith was an intriguing prospect because he was a legitimate Top 5 pick before he sustained a severe knee injury in the bowl game in January. Smith remained focused on a full recovery, teams were undoubtedly concerned. He fell to the second round but the Cowboys drafted him 34th overall, knowing he wouldn't play his entire rookie season. Since then, he's been a starter on the defense with a Pro Bowl selection and a contract extension.
  • Randy Gregory – The Cowboys thought about drafting him 28th overall in the 2015 draft but went with Byron Jones. But needless to say, when Gregory was around at No. 60, they didn't blink. Gregory's off-the-field issues that plagued him in college were obviously still with him in the pros as he's missed 42 games either to injury or suspension and has only played 38. But the arrow seems to be pointing upward with Gregory, who is expected to start at defensive end this season.
  • Bruce Carter – The Cowboys graded out this linebacker with a first-round grade but he was coming off a torn ACL from the previous season in college. Carter was the 40th overall pick in 2011 and played right away for the Cowboys. His four seasons were rather uneventful aside from his five interceptions during the 2014 contract season, that helped him get a free-agent deal. Carter played four more seasons with three other teams.
  • Sean Lee – Another linebacker with a high grade but injury concerns. And once again, everything that teams were worried about with Lee, surfaced throughout his career. Lee was often injured and had six seasons where he missed at least five games. But also true to the scouting reports, when he was healthy, he was one of the NFL's best, evident by two Pro Bowl selections and an All-Pro pick in 2016.
  • Quincy Carter – The Cowboys knew this was a risky pick from the start but they were ready to play with a mobile quarterback in the post-Aikman era. Carter certainly fit the bill but there were concerns about how he'd handle the spotlight, not to mention if he was good enough to be a starter. At times, Carter proved to be good enough, leading the Cowboys to a playoff berth in 2003. But in the end, the Cowboys released him before the 2004 season, a move that ironically kept Tony Romo on the roster for that season.
  • Flozell Adams – This is taking it back several years, but Adams was a perfect example of a player that fell to the second round but the Cowboys took advantage. NFL reports surfaced around the start of the draft that Adams had a hearing problem in one ear. The Cowboys not only took the chance but benefitted with a five-time Pro Bowler. The ironic part of the pick is that the Cowboys took a chance on Adams but didn't pull the trigger on the Randy Moss pick and went with a safer option with Greg Ellis, a move that Jerry Jones has admitted regret over the years.

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