Thanks to Sunday’s defeat at the hands of Washington, in conjunction with other results around the league, the Dallas Cowboys own the 4th selection in this coming April’s Amateur Draft. This is the current order of the Top 20 picks.
Dallas hasn't selected fourth overall in a draft since 1964, when they selected Scott Appleton, defensive tackle from Texas.
Held in Chicago for the second consecutive year, Dallas fans won’t have to wait very long in this year’s draft for their pick as they did last year. CowboysHQ targeted Byron Jones as the best-case scenario selection in 2015 when Dallas was picking 27th. Our draft team saw him as the second best fit of the secondary players to Marcus Peters, but Peters came with a ton of baggage from his days at the University of Washington. Jones, from Connecticut, was one of the best athletes the draft had ever seen, and was a very heady individual on and off the field. As Jones becomes the centerpiece of the Cowboys secondary plans, it is a pick that follows their recent trend of home-run first round selections.
Now, Dallas will have the pick of the litter. Save for three players, Dallas will have the opportunity to select whom they feel is the best of the best, something they’ve been able to secure regardless of where they selected in recent years. Here’s a look at Dallas’ recent Round 1 history:
|2015||27||CB||Byron Jones, Connecticut|
|2014||16||OT||Zack Martin, Notre Dame|
|2013||31||C||Travis Frederick, Wisconsin||Dallas originally had the 18th pick, traded to SF for 31 and 74 (Terrance Williams)|
|2012||6||CB||Morris Claiborne, LSU||Dallas originally had the 14th pick, traded 14 (Michael Brockers) and 45 (Alshon Jeffery) to St. Louis|
|2011||9||OT||Tyron Smith, USC|
|2010||24||WR||Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State||Dallas originally had 27th pick, traded 27 (Devin McCourty) and 90 (Taylor Price) to New England|
Without seeing how free agency plays out, it’s impossible to say what Dallas’ biggest remaining needs will be come draft time. The one glaring hole that will almost assuredly remain is at QB, as it’s extremely rare for a team to find a franchise quarterback in free agency. Teams simply don’t let those guys out of the building unless there is a serious medical or personality concern.
Head Coach Jason Garrett’s philosophy is to fill needs via free agency (not necessarily high-cost players, but starting caliber) so that the draft capital can be spent at any necessary position. This doesn’t always work out, but it is an outline to follow. With that in mind, here’s a look at the last 20 years of the fourth overall selection.
|Year||Team||Player||School||Conference||Years||Career AV||Avg AV|
|1996||Baltimore||Ogden, Johnathan, OT||UCLA||Pac-12||12||122||10|
|1997||Baltimore||Boulware, Peter, LB||Florida St||ACC||9*||70||8|
|1998||Oakland||Woodson, Charles, DB||Michigan||Big 10||17||146||9|
|1999||New Orleans||Williams, Ricky RB||Texas||Big 12||11||90||8|
|2000||Cincinnati||Warrick, Peter, WR||Florida St||ACC||6||29||5|
|2001||Cincinnati||Smith, Justin, DE||Missouri||Big 12||14||132||9|
|2002||Buffalo||Williams, Mike, OT||Texas||Big 12||5*||27||5|
|2003||NY Jets||Robertson, Dwayne, DT||Kentucky||SEC||6||38||6|
|2004||San Diego||Rivers, Phillip, QB||NC State||ACC||11+||139||13|
|2005||Chicago||Benson, Cedric, TB||Texas||Big 12||8||39||5|
|2006||NY Jets||Ferguson, D'Brickashaw, OT||UVA||ACC||9+||61||7|
|2007||Tampa||Adams, Gaines, DE||Clemson||ACC||3||18||6|
|2008||Oakland||McFadden, Darren, RB||Arkansas||SEC||current||37||5|
|2009||Seattle||Curry, Aaron, LB||Wake Forest||ACC||4||18||5|
|2010||Washington||Williams, Trent OT||Oklahoma||Big 12||current||42||8|
|2011||Cincinnati||Green, AJ WR||Georgia||SEC||current||45||11|
|2012||Minnesota||Kalil, Matt OT||USC||Pac-12||current||25||8|
|2013||Philadelphia||Johnson, Lane OT||Oklahoma||Big 12||current||13||7|
|2014||Buffalo||Watkins, Sammy WR||Clemson||ACC||current||8||8|
|2015||Oakland||Cooper, Amari WR||Alabama||SEC||current||n/a||n/a|
AV, or Approximate Value, is a metric developed by mathematician Doug Driden for Pro-Football-Reference.com. What it does is attempt to put "a single number on the seasonal value of a player at any position from any year. It's a great tool for comparison of players over their careers.
Some notes from the above chart:
- The average career of an NFL first rounder is 9.3 years (per the league in 2011). With an Average AV of 8 for the last 20 years of fourth selections, Dallas should expect a Career AV of 72 from their selection should they choose not to trade the pick. So far, 5 players of the last 20 years have acheived this, with Ferguson having the chance to join the group and Bouleware just missing the cut. Include them, and eliminate the 6 players drafted from 2010 on, and we're at 7/14 guys who've managed the acheivement. Basically, there's a 50% bust rate at the No. 4 pick; a coin flip. Exactly what we've been preaching about draft picks being lottery tickets.
- OVer the past 10 years, the top selections with the fourth overall pick have been wideouts and offensive tackles. The three times teams have strayed, from 2007-2009, the players have not lived up to their billings at all. Would Dallas really consider adding another first rounder to their offensive line? How would LaQuan Treadwell look opposite Dez Bryant?
- Dallas loves players from the power conferences and it seems the fourth pick overall does as well. ACC: 7 Big 12: 6 SEC: 4 Pac-12: 2 Big 10: 1
Finally, here's a look at how Dallas has made out in it's history when selecting in the Top 5.
|1964||4||Scott Appleton, DT, Texas||Traded to Pittsburgh for WR Buddy Dials|
|1965||5||Craig Morton, QB, California||Started SB V, famously alternated plays w/ Roger Staubach in 1971|
|1966||5||John Niland, OG, Iowa||3x All Pro, 6x Pro Bowl|
|1974||1||Ed "Too Tall" Jones, DE, Tenn State||3x All Pro, 3x Pro Bowl|
|1975||2||Randy White||Hall of Fame|
|1977||2||Tony Dorsett||Hall of Fame|
|1989||1||Troy Aikman||Hall of Fame|
|1991||1||Russell Maryland||Pro Bowl|
|2003||5||Terence Newman||2x Pro Bowl|