Saturday, April 28, 2012
I have no idea what the Cowboys are doing
By Dan Graziano
The one thing I'll say is I thought the Dallas Cowboys had to make this just about a defense-only draft, and so far they have. They have made four picks, all have been defensive players, and they just wrapped up the fourth round by taking strong safety Matt Johnson from Eastern Washington. I'd love to tell you something interesting about Johnson, but I just don't have anything. Our Scouts Inc. rating service ranked him the No. 72 safety available in this year's draft, and his scouting report page on our site is blank. I found him on Draft Scout, which ranked him the No. 16 strong safety in this draft and says he's been rising on boards this spring. Kid ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, which I'm sure opened some eyes. He's 6-foot-1, 212 and made the Big Sky's preseason all-conference team. He was a very productive college player, with 17 interceptions in his career.
So I don't know. The Cowboys have scouts and they have coaches and those guys know what kinds of players they like and look for. There's no reason to take a guy in the fifth round that everybody else likes if you find something you like about a guy much further down the list. Perhaps Rob Ryan sees something in Johnson that he believes will ultimately make an impact.
My issue is that the Cowboys have drafted three straight head-scratchers. Tyrone Crawford, Kyle Wilber and now Johnson are all guys who appear to be long-range projects if not (in Johnson's case) outright fliers. And they used their first-round and second-round picks on one player, albeit the best defensive player in the draft in cornerback Morris Claiborne. For a team that had as many needs at as many positions as the Cowboys did going into the draft, I'm just not sure they've done anything since early Thursday night to make their 2012 team better. We may look a few years down the road here and say they built a monster championship defense with their quirky picks in this year's draft, but in the instant-analysis period, it's hard to understand what they're up to.