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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Dreadful Dozen 2009 draft class done in Dallas

By Tim MacMahon

John Phillips’ departure to San Diego isn’t a major loss for the Cowboys.

James Hanna, a sixth-round pick last season, offers more potential as the Cowboys’ No. 2 tight end. Hanna has elite speed for the position, making him an intriguing complement to Jason Witten.

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The role of Phillips, whom ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports agreed to a three-year deal with the Chargers, likely would have been significantly reduced if he had returned to Valley Ranch. The Cowboys could use a good blocking tight end, but Phillips was only adequate in that department anyway.

Perhaps the most significant thing about Phillips’ departure: The Cowboys now have absolutely nothing to show for the 2009 draft. A dozen picks, not one remaining on the Cowboys’ roster, barring a change of heart regarding their lack of interest in keeping unrestricted free agent Victor Butler.

The Cowboys’ biggest mistake in that draft arguably occurred before the trade deadline the previous season, when they shipped their first-, third- and sixth-round picks to Detroit for perennially underachieving receiver Roy Williams and a seventh-rounder. Williams set the unofficial Cowboys record for the highest dollars-to-impact ratio before being released two and a half seasons later.

The Cowboys ended up trading out of the second round as well after the Seahawks swooped in a couple of picks ahead of them to take their target, center/guard Max Unger. The Cowboys picked up third- and fourth-rounders from the Bills, who used the No. 51 overall to take guard Andy Levitre, who agreed to a five-year, $39 million deal with the Tennessee Titans today after starting every game the last four seasons for Buffalo.

The top-rated player on the Cowboys’ board at the time, by far: running back LeSean McCoy. Dallas had a first-round grade on McCoy, but they were all set at running back with the trio of Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.

The Cowboys instead turned that pick into offensive lineman Robert Brewster and Butler. Brewster, like most of the Cowboys’ draft class that year, is out of the league and didn’t do anything to help the Cowboys. At least Butler hung around for four years, contributing as a reserve outside linebacker.

Phillips and Butler, a couple of decent backups, were the success stories from the draft. With them leaving in free agency, it’d be nice just to forget about that draft, but the lack of depth on the Cowboys’ roster is a constant reminder of the Dreadful Dozen.