In three seasons, Jason Garrett is just a .500 coach.
His football team has finished 8-8 in all three of his seasons running the Dallas Cowboys on the football field.
But the man, or men, running the football team in the front office might have failed him.
Free agency and the draft are where NFL teams build for the present and the future and in three seasons Garrett has seen 22 draft picks come through his office at Valley Ranch.
There is potential in 2012 draft picks Tyrone Crawford (third round) and Kyle Wilber (fourth round). Last season, third-round pick J.J. Wilcox and sixth-rounder DeVonte Holloman flashed signs they can play in the NFL, but we need to see more.
As Garrett enters the final year of his contract, the only possible way he receives guaranteed employment from the Cowboys in 2015 is to make the postseason.
The man, or men, running the draft need to make sure Garrett gets impact players among his picks this year, more than ever before.
Jerry Jones, the general manager, is the final decision-maker for the Cowboys and doesn’t shy away from letting people know. But Jones has help in making these decisions, and while the Cowboys received come flak for trading down in last year’s draft to eventually get Frederick, who produced a solid rookie season, 2014 can’t have major failures.
Picking at No. 16 overall is an interesting spot for the Cowboys. They’re in need of help along the defensive line, but free-agency moves have improved that part of group.
Yet, upgrades along the interior of the offensive line, secondary and wide receiver are also of interest. Finding a young No. 2 quarterback in the middle-to-late rounds is also something worth considering.
A defensive player has been taken at No. 16 in four of the last five NFL drafts. Buffalo selected quarterback EJ Manuel last year.
Would the Cowboys invest in a quarterback at No. 16?
A defensive player such as Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan? Yes.
Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence from Boise State? Yes.
Safety Calvin Pryor from Louisville? Yes.
All possibilities for the Cowboys.
Whatever the Cowboys do on Thursday night, the player Jones settles on better start in Year 1. The player Jones settles on in Round 2 has to make an impact in Year 1.
If these things don’t happen, Garrett won’t have another season to go 8-8.
In fact, 2014 won’t even end that well.