How the Cowboys 'build' through the draft

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
2:30
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- When Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones meets with the media sometime next week before the May 8 NFL draft, he will undoubtedly mention the importance of building the roster through the draft.

It is the perfect way to build a team, but the Cowboys lost their way for a spell, especially in 2009 when they had a horrid draft that did not produce one starting player.

ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert offers up a story about how teams have built their rosters. The Green Bay Packers have the most original draft picks on their roster with 33. The Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals have 30.

The Cowboys have 21, ranging from Jason Witten (third round, 2003) to DeVonte Holloman (sixth round, 2013). The case can be made that Dwayne Harris should not count because the Cowboys cut him in 2011 and kept him on the practice squad for a few weeks before bringing him back to the active roster.

Only eight teams have fewer original draft picks on the roster than the Cowboys: the New York Jets (20), Carolina Panthers (19), Cleveland Browns (19), Indianapolis Colts (18), New Orleans Saints (18), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17), Jacksonville Jaguars (17) and Chicago Bears (15).

The only team on that list without personnel chief change in the last three years is New Orleans.

Seifert wrapped up his piece with this:
If anything, this analysis speaks to the cost of front-office turnover. The mandate of a quick turnaround belies everyone's top goal. Building through the draft will always be preferable, but it takes years to approach the accomplishments of the best in the league.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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