Patience is a virtue, but too much of it can be a problem for NFL decision-makers.
Roster decisions are too often influenced by draft investments. Teams are hesitant to give up on a guy they graded highly coming out of college. They’re hesitant to admit they’re wrong. They’re worried that the player will prove them right … on somebody else’s roster.
“The worst regret is the one that says, ‘Oh, that guy can never do it,’ and you let him out of your building and then all of the sudden he has 14 sacks for your opponent or catches 85 balls for somebody else or goes on to become a Pro Bowl player,” Garrett said. “You have to be patient, but you also have to see evidence and there is a timeline. It’s not unlimited time, but it’s a balancing act.”
Garrett remembers hearing Tom Landry talk about the importance of the third season of an NFL player’s career. Garrett says that timeline has been sped up in the modern NFL due to contracts and free agency.
You can criticize a lot of the Cowboys’ recent decisions on draft day, but give them credit for being willing to admit mistakes without wasting much time.
Five of their top seven picks from the disastrous 2009 draft were gone by midway through their second season. That included linebacker Jason Williams and offensive tackle Robert Brewster, third-rounders who were the top two picks in the dozen-player dud crop. (Granted, the patience shown with fifth-round kicker David Buehler, a Jerry Jones pet project, was puzzling.)
They cut 2010 fourth-round safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah before last season. He’s back on the roster now, but he’s not guaranteed anything other than a trip to Oxnard, Calif., for training camp.
Consider this a warning for David Arkin, the offensive guard who was selected in the 2011 fourth round and was inactive every game his rookie season.