If Thursday was NFL Draft Day, then Jerry Jones must have made a trade.
You can set your clock by it.
And unfortunately your playoff seedings, which too often have omitted Dallas.
Someone should really tell the Cowboys owner they don’t give trophies for the most trades. When he swapped his 18th pick in the first round to San Francisco for its 31st pick and a third-round selection, the move marked Jones’ 60th draft-day deal. The smart Patriots, on the other hand, swapped a lower 29th pick for four later-round picks and a few Prince CDs from Minnesota.
Why should we have expected anything different?
Jerry’s been following the same formula forever. Trade up. Trade down. But trade somewhere to somebody. He’s made 134 transactions since taking over the club in 1989. I think he tried to make a trade with Alabama on Thursday, but Roger Goodell nixed it.
After back-to-back 8-8 seasons and three consecutive years without a playoff berth, Dallas ignored conventional wisdom that suggested the Cowboys take an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman or a safety — or even a warm body — and instead moved down toward the end of the first round. The Cowboys eventually took a real long-shot in Wisconsin center Travis Frederick — NFL analyst Mike Mayock rated him a third-rounder — and were no better Friday morning than they were Thursday morning.
Hope Jason Garrett has a teaching certificate he can fall back on.
Jones signed Tony Romo to a $108 million extension but did little to upgrade a bad line at guard or tackle to protect that investment. Romo’s been sacked 72 times last two years. Teams had already scooped up Alabama lineman Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker and I’m pretty sure the Crimson Tide waterboy, but the Giants, picking 19th, nabbed an offensive tackle out of Syracuse, and they seem to know what they’re doing.
Jones told reporters this week the team needed to give Romo more time in the pocket but “that doesn’t necessarily mean offensive linemen … it can mean structure, design of offense.” That can only mean the Cowboys are going to the same uptempo offense Mack Brown is installing.
Dallas is also in desperate need of a play-making safety, the type Roy Williams used to be. The Saints grabbed the aggressive, versatile Longhorn Kenny Vaccaro at 15th, and the 49ers snatched up LSU’s physical safety Eric Reid with the Cowboys’ 18th slot. Reid would have fit nicely in a secondary with safeties coming off injury (Barry Church and Matt Johnson) or with only 33 career starts (Will Allen).
Jones traded up twice in the past three years and landed nice talent in LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, but he needs a lot of help and he needs it now.
RECENT COWBOYS’ PICKS
Two of Dallas’ past five drafts have seen the Cowboys go cornerback with a No. 1 pick:
2012: Morris Claiborne, LSU CB
2011: Tyron Smith, USC LT
2010: Dez Bryant, Oklahoma St. WR
2008: Felix Jones, Arkansas RB; Mike Jenkins, South Florida CB
Note: Cowboys did not have a No. 1 pick in 2009.