If you're a Cowboys fan, there is a temptation: "Let's get good (and exciting) fast!'' you want to say. "Nose tackles are boring. Offensive linemen are unseemly. We need something cool! We need a wide receiver! With wristbands that go all the way up his biceps, and a bad-ass nickname, and. ... a touchdown dance! Yeah!''
Let me preface this by saying a certain voice with knowledge of the Cowboys' scouting thoughts may be throwing chum my way. Blood in the water just to deceive the sharks, you know? But I've casually kicked around the idea of first-round-caliber WRs to this person and have come away with the following Eight-Pack of conclusions:
1) Calvin Johnson from Georgia Tech is the finest talent at any position in this entire draft. I posed the question (as I do every year): If you almost KNOW he's going to be an All-Pro, why not overpay to get him? The fact teams don't do this bugs me, because it's so CYA. I mean, if you went and re-did the Peyton Manning draft, how many picks would you give to trade up to get him? Like, all of 'em? Nevertheless, this year's Cowboys brass -- like the last 17 years of suits -- thinks I'm an idiot on this subject.
2) The Cowboys think (wisely, I believe) that the work last year of Devin Hester in Chicago will cause somebody to reach on Ted Ginn from Ohio State. Ginn will be an impact player as a special-teamer for sure. But what happened, just this last season the NFL started putting value in guys like this? Silly.
3) Dallas is probably betting that some WR will not slip past Tennessee at 19. And we might guess that KC may take one at 23. Meaning the Cowboys -- if they really care -- are in a wide-receiver sandwich.
4) The group that includes Robert Meachem (Tennessee), Dwayne Bowe (LSU), Dwayne Jarrett (USC) and maybe even Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio State) all have merit, but also all have holes in their games. I certainly don't sense excitement about Jarrett as a first-rounder; if he really ran a 4.6, he'd be about the eighth-fastest kid on my local high-school football team. (That'd be the Lewisville Fighting Farmers.) Bowe's advantage may be that his physical style mirrors some of the things Cowboys receivers did back in O-coordinator Jason Garrett's days as a player. But. ...
5) Comparing Bowe or any of these guys to Irvin is a real stretch, says my guy. Just as there is a danger in copycatting (as with "Ginn is the next Hester''), there is a danger in cookie-cutting. Henson was never going to be Aikman, Julius was never going to be Emmitt, and only a fool would bet on Meachem or Bowe or Jarrett becoming the next Irvin. Besides, while Garrett may have a prototype in mind, I don't believe Jerry, Wade and Jeff Ireland do.
6) Being the next Alvin Harper? That seems a more realistic goal. And let me tell you, these Cowboys are not going to do backflips because they used No. 22 on "the next Alvin Harper.''
7) There is age on the Cowboys' WR depth chart as it is presentedly structured, of course. But for what it's worth, during this discussion my man never brought up Owens and Glenn being mid-30's types. I'm not insisting that it doesn't enter Dallas' mind. I'm just guessing it's not TOP of mind.
8) There is no Valley Ranch concensus on "needing'' a receiver. But I asked if a rookie WR who was anything short of very good in his first season would even get on the field for the Cowboys. "You've got Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn and we just did Patrick Crayton, who we like,'' the voice agreed. "How does that add up to a 'position of need'?''
That take seems to jive with Jerry Jones' on-the-record quote about the position.
I feel good about our receivers,'' the owner said. "I feel good about our young receivers and so I'd have to look twice about stacking 'em up there right now.''
Two sources from the same organization telling the same story? If the Cowboys' only-casual interest in taking a WR first is a lie, it's an awfully well-coordinated one.
Cowboys Thinking WR in First Round?
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