Grading the First Day of the Draft

The Cowboys began the first day of the draft with some confusion, but after it was all said and done, it was Jerry Jones and the entire Dallas organization that came out huge winners. Here is our round by round analysis of the Cowboys' first four picks in the 2002 NFL Draft.

SS Roy Williams (#8)
Let's not fool ourselves here. If Quentin Jammer would have been available, Jerry Jones would have drafted him at number six. But he wasn't, so the Cowboys went with the number two guy on their board, Oklahoma Safety Roy Williams.

Jerry Jones took a calculated risk when he traded down two spots with the Kansas City Chiefs. He figured that Roy Williams would still be available with the tenth pick, and fortunately for Cowboy fans, he was right.

"It just fell right for us," said Jones. "It's no secret around here Roy Williams is someone we coveted."

Williams, who will play strong safety next season along side Darren Woodson, just might be the best defensive back to come out of college football in the last 5 years. Dave Campo and company like him because he's a playmaker and a ballhawk and he certainly fills a specific need this team has in the secondary.

Some experts say that drafting a safety in the top 10 is a mistake, simply because a safety won't win football games for you. Obviously those people haven't been watching enough film of Roy Williams. The kid is an outstanding athlete who will likely take his position to a new level in a Cowboys' uniform.

"I don't have a starting job coming in here just because I'm a first-round pick," Roy Williams said. "I have to work for what I get and I plan to work hard. Jerry and coach Campo drafted me because they know I'm going to work hard and that I'm a team player and a quick learner."

This kid says all the right things, and he'll be a good one for years to come. Great move Jerry!

Grade: A-

OL Andre Gurode (#37)
We'll likely hear a lot of grumbling over this pick, but Gurode was the highest ranked player left on the Cowboys' board in the second round, so they took him while he was there.

Simply put, Gurode will be nothing short of a starter on the offensive line next season. He can play guard or center, he's enourmous yet athletic, and he dominated one of the toughest conferences in college football in 2001.

All you have to do is watch the Colorado-Nebraska game from a year ago to understand how great this kid really is. He dominated one of the top ranked defenses in the country in helping lead Colorado to one of their biggest wins in school history. Week in and week out, this kid out performed everyone he lined up against.

And of course, one of the main needs we identified in early January was depth on the offensive line, and even though we didn't necessarily expect it to happen in the second round, Jerry Jones came through in the clutch with this pick. Gurode will be a good one in the NFL.

And even though Gurode wanted to be a Texan, he'll do just fine in Dallas, "Yes sir, I was hoping to play for the Texans," Gurode said. "But as long as I'm in the state of Texas, I'm fine."

Welcome to Dallas, Andre.

Grade: B+

WR Antonio Bryant (#63)
In a move we began to expect as soon as the first trade of the day was announced, the Cowboys traded several picks to the Chicago Bears so that they could move up and grab Antonio Bryant late in the 2nd round. This move will likely be looked back upon as nothing short of spectacular.

The need for a big wide receiver with good hands has been well documented this offseason, and we were very surprised that Bryant didn't go with the Cowboys' first pick in the second round. Little did we know that Jerry Jones already had a plan in place to secure his services via a trade with the Bears.

Bryant has a sketchy off the field record following him around, but he has as much talent, if not more, than any receiver in the draft. He's not the fastest athlete around, but then again, the Cowboys have enough speed already at wide receiver. This pick was an absolute steal for Dallas, and it will pay dividends next year when Bryant starts against the Houston Texans.

He is the perfect complement to Joey Galloway and The Rocket, and with a little focus and dedication, Bryant could become a star in the NFL.

Grade: A

CB Derek Ross (#75)
Since Dallas went after a safety in the first round, it made sense that eventually they would look at a cornerback somewhere down the line. It ended up being in the third round.

Ross is an exciting prospect, he has good size but lacks discipline. Some experts are even worried about his ability to provide sound one-on-one coverage. In the end, he'll have the chance to compete for a starting job at one of the cornerback positions and we can certainly justify his selection in the third round.

At Ohio State, he only moved into a fulltime starting position last season, but he generally held his own in bump-and-run coverage against some big name wide receivers in his conference.

He, like Bryant, also carries some baggage with him, which is one of the reasons he slipped a little farther than some experts orginally suggested.

Grade: B-

We will be updating this report throughout the Sunday with more detailed analysis and information.

Thanks for your patience.

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