Scouting staffs spend the entire year preparing reports, and carefully slotting and stacking prospects.
And then on draft day, certain people can uproot that process in a moment.
Former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus talked to KRLD-FM (via the Dallas Morning News) about how much of an impact owner Jerry Jones had in their draft room, illustrating it by the way Jones bypassed a chance to draft Eagles running back LeSean McCoy to stockpile picks used on a bunch of guys who aren’t on the team any more.
The Cowboys, picking 51st overall, had their chance to take McCoy, among others. But they traded that pick to the Bills for a third and a fourth, which they turned into tackle Robert Brewster and defensive end Victor Butler (who is one of their two picks from a 12-man draft class still with the team). That was one of a series of moves that in hindsight, look poor.
“That’s where they get in trouble,” Broaddus said of not trusting the overall board and making too many moves. “If you go back to the 2009 draft, they sat there and they had LeSean McCoy with a first-round grade. The problem was, they weren’t willing to take LeSean McCoy. That’s the issue. Don’t windowdress your board. They’re sitting there in the second round and they’ve got LeSean McCoy with a first-round grade on their board. That’s value.
“They did it [got it right] with Sean Lee, they did it with Bruce Carter. They sat there, they took the guy that was on the board that they were supposed to take. Mistakes are made when you jump around on the board.
“Jerry’s done it a couple of different times. The Quincy Carter draft, we had Kendrell Bell there, first-round grade, ends up going the second round; goes right behind us to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ends up being AFC defensive rookie of the year. And then we take Quincy Carter. That was a forced pick right there. You had a guy there you had a better grade on, you probably could have got Quincy Carter later in the draft. That’s where you get in trouble leapfrogging around.”
There were times Jones’ businessman-pragmatic side helps, too.
“We’re sitting in the third round and all of a sudden you get a first-round grade on Jason Witten,” Broaddus said. “Jerry looks up at the board and says I think we need to take Jason Witten here boys. Those are the positive things that happen.”
The negatives have outweighed the positives on draft day for the Cowboys, which is part of the reason their constant shuffling of coaches can’t mask the larger issue.