Percentages don't favor Cowboys

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
10:51
AM ET
IRVING, Texas – On Tuesday I upset some people when I questioned the philosophy the Cowboys chose in 2011 and ’12 to select Tyron Smith and Morris Claiborne.

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I believe they left too much on the table by not taking a trade with Jacksonville in 2011, and then by giving up their second-rounder to move up to get Claiborne. To justify their non-move and move, Smith and Claiborne have to be close to all-world in my view.

I believe the more picks you have, the better off you will be. Jimmy Johnson showed that. But I want to add this obvious nugget: the more early picks (top two rounds), the better off you’ll be.

But that was yesterday’s debate.

So now I present to you the argument as to why many of you believe the Cowboys did the correct thing in staying put for Smith and trading up for Claiborne: The Cowboys struggle drafting.

Since 2007, the Cowboys have drafted 47 players and only 18 remain. That’s not good. After a quick perusal of the NFC East, it’s the worst percentage (38.3%) of any team in the division. From 2007-12, Philadelphia has 28 of 59 picks left (47.5%); Washington has 24 of 48 picks (50%) and the New York Giants have 24 of 46 picks left (52%).

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Now, teams will have fewer players left from 2007-08 because most of those players have moved on to second contracts.

As we all know the Cowboys don’t have a player left from the 2009 draft, but that was a year in which they didn’t have first- or second-round picks. The Giants have five of nine picks left from ’09. The Redskins have one of six picks left from ’09. The Eagles have two of eight picks left from ’09.

In the last three years, which should be the core of a team, the Cowboys have 15 of 21 picks left. The Eagles are the worst with 23 of 33 picks. Washington is the best at 21 of 27 and the Giants have 16 of 22 picks remaining.

So am I contradicting myself from Tuesday’s post? No. The Cowboys had a chance to gain an extra second-round pick in 2011 and keep their own second-rounder last year. Four of the Cowboys’ six first-round picks from 2007-12 remain in Anthony Spencer, Dez Bryant, Smith and Claiborne. Two of their three second-rounders from that span remain in Sean Lee and Bruce Carter.

The three departures are Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins and Martellus Bennett. They weren’t busts, but they weren’t hits either. The best thing you can say is they played out their contracts.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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