- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- The NFL draft is about a month away and we'll begin digging more into the Dallas Cowboys' interests in 2014 going forward, but let's review the past five drafts.
The 2009 draft was one of the worst in team history. With 12 picks, the Cowboys should have been able to capitalize on the number of selections to a roster that was considered deep at the time even if they did not have a first-round pick because of the Roy Williams' trade with the Detroit Lions.
The Cowboys did not have a player they re-signed after their rookie contract expired. The draft quickly earned the "special teams draft" nickname, which should never happen. And they did not get much special teams' help from the picks either.
First-round pick: None
Number of picks: 12
How they did: Terribly. Six of the picks did not make the 53-man roster, which might have been a sign of the depth the Cowboys had then, but those players did not go on to make any significant contributions to another club either. It was not a good sign in training camp when the kicker they drafted in the fifth round, David Buehler, beat the safety they drafted in the same round, DeAngelo Smith, in a 40-yard dash in training camp.
Pivotal pick: Their first pick, Jason Williams (No. 69 overall), could never find a role. He played a hybrid role at Western Illinois and his athleticism made up for the lack of football wisdom at that level. He could not make the transition to inside linebacker in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme. He even had trouble with the special teams' part of the game. The lasting image is of linebackers coach Reggie Herring coaching Williams for every second of every play in training camp and it never really sticking.
Best pick: Linebacker Victor Butler (No. 110 overall) was picked in the fourth round as a situational pass-rusher. He contributed 11 sacks in four seasons before signing as a free agent last year with the New Orleans Saints. He could not win a full-time role playing behind Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware, but when he did get some snaps in the base defense he struggled against the run. That he is the best pick shows you how poor this draft turned out for the Cowboys.
Worst pick: Robert Brewster (No. 75 overall). The Cowboys gave up their second rounder to the Buffalo Bills and got the Bills' third- and fourth-round picks in return. Brewster tore a pectoral muscle working out in the offseason and missed his rookie year. He dressed for one game in 2010. He was a project when he was picked, in part because of his conditioning. The Bills used the second-round pick on guard Andy Levitre with the 51st pick. Had the Cowboys chose Levitre, they would not have had to spend money in free agency on Nate Livings.