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A middle-of-the-pack team requires a middle-of-the-pack draft class. Courtesy Troy Fakeman

Fakeman’s Hot Takes

If there’s one thing to take away from the Cowboys’ 11-pick haul in this year’s class, it’s that the purported focus on “the right kind of guy” left The Star with Jason Garrett. (That the likes of Zeke Elliott, Greg Hardy, David Irving, and Randy Gregory don or donned stars on their helmets during his tenure might prove the mantra was mere lip service, anyway.) Jerry — no doubt sensing his number of remaining years shrinking and throwing caution to the proverbial nor’easter to “win now” — added plenty of questionable character to top the war room’s seemingly knee-jerk boom-or-bust selections.

As I forewarned in our pre-draft coverage last week, Dallas’ front office found themselves without their preferred options at their biggest position of need when they picked at 10 in the first. Corners Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain were sniped by Carolina and Denver, respectively, and any other corner at that point would have been a big reach. Contrary to silly denunciations of trading with a division rival wiped out, Jerry pulled a nifty one when he accepted an additional third rounder from the hated Eagles to drop two measly slots, only to select the player they were likely going to take at 10 anyway. That pick, Penn State’s Micah Parsons, could be the most talented defensive player in the draft, but since his off-field behavior is concerning and since he represents yet another premium pick burned on a run-and-hit linebacker in a league that sees that position further devalued by the year, the selection reeked of panic.

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Speaking of panic, sitting idle in the second round while six teams traded up in front of the Cowboys to pick the cupboard bare of the remaining top-tier secondary help forced Dallas to settle for rapper Bossman Fat, né Kentucky corner Kelvin Joseph, a player so in love with pot, he got booted out of the LSU program. (Yes, LSU!) The choice seemed a desperation play.

The third round started a little better as the ’Boys added some size and speed on the defensive line with UCLA tackle Osa Odighizuwa and an edge rusher in Iowa’s Chauncey Golston. Then, in one of the biggest reaches of the entire draft, new D Coordinator Dan Quinn plunged his hand to the very bottom of the well to turn in a card for Oregon State corner Nahshon Wright, a player many media scouts had as an undrafted free agent, at 99.

Jerry and the gang would make up for a little of that blunder with their first selection in the fourth with LSU linebacker Jabril Cox — maybe the best coverage linebacker in the draft and one of the better value picks of the weekend.

As concerning as Parsons and Joseph may be, the fourth-round pick of troubled OT Josh Ball was enough to sour many (including myself) on the entire draft. Smoking a little devil’s cabbage pales in comparison to Ball’s 11 (!!) documented charges of domestic abuse, an undeniable top talent at the position but not a player anyone of conscience could ever root for.

The Cowboys rounded out Day 3 with some future practice squad guys and camp bodies with giant Stanford receiver Simi Fehoko; Joseph’s former teammate at Kentucky, D tackle Quinton Bohanna; South Carolina corner Israel Mukaumu; and Nebraska guard Matt Farniok.

With eight picks dedicated to his side of the ball, Quinn has plenty of new toys to help churn the Cowboys’ dismal defensive roster. Whether the potential talent overcomes the potential off-field issues remains to be seen. All told, a pretty typical Dallas Cowboys draft. Grade: B. — TF

 

Bo Jacksboro’s Meltdown

God fucking damn it. This year’s draft class felt more like an episode of The Price Is Right than a serious attempt to improve the team. Who the fuck is Nahshon Wright? That’s what letting Byron Jones walk nets you in a comp pick? Come on down, Nashon! You’re the next “project” spare in the secondary. Shoutout to Matt Johnson (fourth-round pick in 2012) and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (fourth-rounder in 2010), both of whom went on to wash out in the Canadian football League. And Chauncey Golston in the third round? Apparently, when you have a chance to add sixth-round talent in the third, you have to jump. Was Will McClay using hot dog water in his bong on Day 2?

I hated the hiring of Head Coach Mike McCarthy at the time it was announced, but one nugget from his opening press conference gave me hope. When answering a question about his personal draft preference, he said the team would pick the most talented guy available and craft the offense or defense around his strengths. Last year’s draft seems to fit that philosophy and is considered one of the better hauls in the league.

This year, however, the front office seemed to have a very specific blueprint for the type of players they wanted: guys who suck. Zing! I’m only sort of joking. If you weren’t a 6’4” defensive back or didn’t carry a long rap sheet (more on that pun later), you need not apply to the ’21 Cowboys class — one that will be remembered by many as the draft that Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn put his stank all over.

The ’Boys walked into the party with a historically bad defense, an aging O-line, and hell-mouth-sized holes throughout the roster. Day 1 started with Carolina and Denver snagging the two best corners in the class, but tackle Rashawn Slater was still on the board at Pick 10. The front office relieved the Eagles of a third-rounder and moved back two slots. Slater, my dream pick, was still in play. Instead of shoring up a so-called strength, the team went with its alleged best available player, linebacker Micah Parsons.

I was frustrated by the pick, but “Hey,” I thought. “They got a guy who can play, and maybe he won’t go full-on Martín Gramática every time he makes a play a la Jaylon Smith.” The more I thought about it, the less I hated it. Still, with better players at more urgent positions of need on the board, I gave the pick a solid B.

In Round 2, the Raiders leap-frogged ahead of the Cowboys to steal TCU safety Trevon Moehrig, but Jerry and Co. hit back with Kelvin Joseph, a triple-threat corner, who is also a shitty rapper and apparently a bad person — coaching staffs at both LSU and Kentucky asked him to stop showing up. Athletically, he’s off the charts. Most scouts see him as a first-round talent with a canned ham for a brain, but if the team gets into a rap battle … they’re still going to lose. Dude’s got weak flow. Just because Dan Quinn gives off Dr. Phil vibes, I’m giving the pick a C+.

The Cowboys’ third round was the dumbest thing I’ve seen in sports since Mark Sanchez’s butt fumble. I don’t want to talk about it. Grade F for FUUUUCK.

Thank God LSU linebacker Jabril Cox fell to the team at Pick 115 on Day 3. This almost salvaged Day 2 for me. Never mind the front office opted for serial domestic assaulter Josh Ball with its next pick. The team made some smart choices up and down the board all day, though — like bear-hog Quinton Bohanna, who weighs more than a used Buick — and freaky athlete corner Israel Mukuamu. This whole day gets a B-plus from me thanks to some bottom-of-the-roster potential.

My overall grade for the draft is a C. Parsons will likely make an immediate impact, and hopefully he and Cox will erase the twin stains of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander-Glass-Doll at linebacker. I’m not sure any other pick outside of Bohanna will have an immediate impact, and I am sad about investing the last six months learning about this stuff. I’m just going to do it all again next season, because the Stockholm Syndrome runs deep. God fucking damn it. — BJ

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