Report Card Day

Jerry Jones, polished apple in hand, offered up his homework assignment for his yearly grade. Most pundits along with some skeptical fans boasted before the draft that Jerry would fall in love and pick the wrong player.

Here is how I think Jones did over the last two days and how it grades out.

Roy Williams is a superb player out of OU. He has so many positives I could spend the rest of the article praising him. But suffice to say that he not only is an instinctive defender but a playmaker of the first order.

But Williams was a slam-dunk of a pick after Jammer was taken. Right? What made this such a tremendous job on the part of Jones was his manipulation of the board to get Williams at 8. Along with that, he picked the pocket of the Chiefs for a 3rd this year and a 6th next. This was a big time move by a GM beleaguered by critics from all sides.

Grade A+

Next on the list Jones and company took Andre Gurode. A guard, center from Colorado that is big and mean and will center this Dallas line for the next decade while he clears holes for Emmitt and protects Quincy from the blitz.

Grade A

Taken in the late second round is the wide receiver from Pittsburgh, Antonio Bryant. Attitude is the first word that comes to mind about this player. But skill follows closely on its heels.

Antonio wants the damn ball, as Keyshawn oft said. And with Bruce Coslet and the Dallas offense, he will get it.

This may be a pick to replace Ismail in the 2003/04 season when his cap implications are less detrimental to the team.

But Bryant might end up being the best player taken on the first day, by Jones. He has the attitude and perhaps the ability of Michael Irvin. If he can harness his behavior he will be the steal of the draft.

Grade A

Derek Ross was taken in the third and will play special teams and some in the nickel and dime. A raw cornerback with much upside most draft experts rated him as a mid-second round player. Jerry scored again by taking talent far below market value.

Grade A

The second day of the draft brought some head scratching from the faithful until they looked closer at the players selected.

Jamar Martin is a battering ram from Ohio State University. Emmitt was tackled behind the line of scrimmage so often last year he had to wonder if his line was blocking at all.

Martin was the best blocking fullback in the draft. He will not carry the ball but that is not going to be his job. He needs to make the crucial block on the linebacker to spring Emmitt to the history books. Jerry scores, as will Emmitt with this pick.

Grade A

Ralph Hunter is a little known pick that the team moved up to the fifth round to take. Most fans groaned when he was selected but upon further review its found that he has a unique ability at blocking punts. He did so 9 times his last year in college.

Dallas had a poor special teams last year and Jerry picked a player that will surely improve this area of the team.

Taking a player that has some upside yet is strictly a role player is difficult to give a positive grade. But there is enough potential with this player to see a profit in his choice.

Grade B

Tyson Walter is another player from Ohio State the Cowboys chose. Listed as an offensive tackle this behemoth may be better served to play guard in the pros. His footwork is not good enough to handle the defensive ends in the NFL. But he possesses good technique and hands and can be a serviceable back up for the team.

Addressing the offensive line is always a good idea and Dallas seems to excel at late round blockers.

Grade B

Deveren Johnson is a pick that Jerry had to experiment with. A wide receiver at 6'6" and 223 pounds, his real job may end up being a tight end. Twenty pounds of muscle on this frame could produce a player that can crack the seams and gain yards. His 38" vertical leap suggests he will be the player that comes down with the ball.

A project that must play on special teams to contribute and assure he has a job, Johnson is a work-in-progress.

Grade C+

Fans screamed from the rafters about a tight end and Dallas took one with the final pick. Bob Slowikowski played for Virginia Tech and is 6'3" and 248 pounds. This long strider comes out of his cuts with a burst and can gain separation. He will drop an occasional pass. A feat Dallas fans should be accustomed to after the play of LaFleur. Yet this player may be here for his ability to block.

His bio suggests he is an accomplished blocker and that's what Dallas needs most of all. The ball will fly to the receivers in this offense and protection is what is most important.

Slowikowski will be on the fence from the start of camp but if he works hard he could add to the special teams and play some on offense.

Grade C

Factoring all the information on this years NFL draft I give the Cowboys a solid A-. But the addition of Chad Hutchinson that now can be seen as clearly the third best quarterback in the draft has to be added to the mix. While Jerry took him in free agency, he is by all intent and purposes a rookie. This changes the draft grade for Jerry to a solid A and perhaps an A+.

Jerry has aced this test far beyond the expectations of his fans and the press alike. Even the boos from the usual crowd at the draft changed to a silenced awe at the maneuvering of Jones and the Cowboys. Quite a change from the normal mob scene out of Frankenstein, as a horde of disgruntled fans storm Jerry's castle.

At this rate he may rebuild the team to something not witnessed since Jimmy roamed the sidelines.

In any event with his excellent report card Jerry Jones is sure to graduate.

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