Trading up for Morris Claiborne screams “Same ol’ Jerry”

It's not your fault, Morris.

Morris Claiborne is a fabulous player, and easily the best CB in the draft.  Pair him with Brandon Carr, along with Orlando Scandrick in the slot, and the Cowboys potentially have themselves a great trio of corners.

This is not about Morris Claiborne.  I love the player; I don’t love the decision to use their first two picks to acquire him.

About a month ago, Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones talked about their free agent acquisitions, and they both thought they had done a good job filling all of their needs:

Jones said the Cowboys did so well in free agency they will be open to pretty much anything in the draft, including selecting a premier player at 14 or trading out of the pick.

“Because of how well we did in free agency, we will be able to draft or trade,” Jones said. “In other words, we could easily have a situation that’s in our best interest but if you just had to have that safety or that offensive lineman, you might not have been able to make a trade you wanted to make and go down. Or possibly go up. So my point is, free agency helped us normally, purely look at how we can best improve the personnel on this team through the draft, whether it be trading or just picking the player. Not a luxury, but picking the player.”

And because the team signed two guards who they like and believe can start, Jones said the Cowboys are inclined not to pick up a guard in the first round and will likely focus on defense with a cornerback, safety, linebacker or defensive lineman.

Well, they got their “best player” in the draft.  In fact, they got the 2nd highest rated player on their board, behind Andrew Luck. But I’m not so sure Garrett and Jones filled all their needs in free agency, as they suggested above.

Let’s take a look at some of the other need positions on this team:

We got Nate Livings. OL fixed!

1) OFFENSIVE LINE: A TIMELINE

2008-2009

With an aging OL in place, the Cowboys had a total of 18 draft picks in 2008 and 2009.  With those 18 picks, they selected one offensive lineman, Robert Brewster.  Brewster is no longer with the team.

2010

In 2010, the Cowboys drafted one offensive lineman, Sam Young, in the 6th round.  Young, like Brewster, is no longer with the team.  They headed into the 2010 season with the oldest offensive line in the NFL.  Leonard Davis celebrated his 32nd birthday just before the start of the season, with Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier celebrating their 32nd birthdays shortly thereafter.  Andre Gurode was 31.  The one player that was still relatively young was the 26 year old Doug Free, who was taking over at LT for the departed Flozell Adams, who was 35.

The Cowboys were the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC East that season, but in what should have been a fairly predictable outcome, the offensive line went into a sharp decline and the the offense sputtered.  It didn’t help that the defense was surprisingly bad.  They finished that season 6-10.

2011

The following offseason, Jerry Jones made the obvious decision to cut bait with Colombo, Davis and Gurode, three players that were playing poorly and making far too much money.  The Cowboys were, in a way, forced into “going young” along their OL.  For the first time in 20+ years as the Cowboys’ GM, Jones spent a first round pick on an offensive lineman, scoring the extremely talented Tyron Smith out of USC.  They would take a couple more offensive linemen in the 4th and 7th rounds, grabbing David Arkin and Bill Nagy, respectively.  They also locked up Free to a long term deal, paying him $32 million over 4 years. It appeared that after years of ignoring the OL, it was finally becoming a priority, albeit way too late.

To begin the season, the Cowboys started two rookies: Nagy at LG, and Tyron Smith at RT. They also plugged in 2nd year player Phil Costa at center.  Kosier was moved from LG over to the right side to be sort of an “offensive tackle whisperer” for Smith.  In one offseason, they went from the oldest offensive line in the league to one of the youngest.

With so many new and unproven players inserted into the lineup, the Cowboys’ offensive line once again sputtered all season, this time even more predictably than in 2010.  Smith had a great rookie year, but the two other new pieces, Costa and Nagy, both had brutal seasons.  Costa’s poor play lasted 16 games, while Nagy’s bad season was cut short in Week 6, when he was lost for the season with a broken ankle.  Kosier’s decline and health issues continued.  Free, meanwhile, was a major disappointment, having a surprisingly bad season.  The Cowboys were learning that turning over a full offensive line in a short amount of time isn’t exactly easy.  They hit with one player, missed with two, and were heading into the 2012 once again needing to scramble to find answers.

2012

This year in free agency, the Cowboys signed OG Mackenzy Bernadeau, a player that had a couple bad seasons in 2009 and 2010 in Carolina, who then lost his job in 2011.  Bernadeau’s agent said the Cowboys brought him in to be a starting guard, and while agents tend to say positive things about their clients, the size of the contract 4 years, $11 million) would indicate that he’s not full of it.  The Cowboys then went out and signed 30 year old Nate Livings, a player that Bengals fans by and large were more than happy to see leave.  The cost for Livings was 5 years, $19 million.  With Livings and Bernadeau in place, the team felt comfortable cutting Kosier.  On the outside, the plan is to flip-flop Smith and Free, with Smith moving from RT to LT, and vice versa. Costa remains penciled in at center, amazingly.  In a nutshell, 2 fresh, new question marks at both guard spots, and a guy we already know can’t play at C.

All 3 interior OL spots could stand to be upgraded, in my opinion, and yet,  the OL continues to be put on the back burner.

2) OUTSIDE LINEBACKER: WHAT ABOUT REPLACING SPENCER?

When the Cowboys made the questionable decision to place the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer, they pretty much immediately made him a lame duck in Dallas.  They were able to delay addressing the LOLB spot in the Dallas D for a year, enabling them to fill some other holes in the draft instead.  Or at least that was the argument I heard at the time.  If Spencer doesn’t perform a high level in 2012, then you let him walk.  However, even if he does have a good season in 2012, you can tag him again, but it’ll cost you 120% of his salary from the previous season, or $10,560,000.  Now you’re opening up a whole new can of worms.  Do you pay a guy $10.56 million (or perhaps even a long term mega-deal) to a player with one good full season?  Probably not.  So again, either way, he’s probably a goner in 2013.

After tagging Spencer, the Cowboys noted that they didn’t believe they had an adequate replacement for Spencer already on the roster.  Obviously, this is a spot that could have used some attention.

3) DEFENSIVE END: ROLE PLAYERS AND TOMATO CANS

Jason Hatcher and Sean Lissemore are nice role players.  The rest of the Dallas DEs are tomato cans.  Nothing more to add here.

Elam, Pool, Potato, Potahto

4) SAFETY: FROM ONE FORMER ROB RYAN STIFF TO ANOTHER

The Cowboys signed Abram Elam last offseason.  He was the embodiment of a “JAG” in 2011, a guy that isn’t really going to make any plays, and otherwise play average football.  Brodney Pool is more of the same:

Brodney Pool wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys last year. Some inside the building wanted him, too, but the club ended up with Abram Elam instead.

A year later, the Cowboys got Pool.

But did they get better?

Well, they got younger.

Elam is 31 in October. Pool is 28 in May.

But the players are similar.

This is a thumbnail sketch from an AFC personnel guy on Pool: offers some flexibility at strong and free safety, steady but doesn’t make many plays on the ball, situational player.

Sounds like Elam, doesn’t it?

Elam had 79 tackles, four tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery, according to the Cowboys’ coaches’ breakdown. For the Jets last year, Pool started six games, played in 14 and had 37 tackles, a half sack, four quarterback hurries, an interception, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Again, a position that could have received serious attention.

Mike Jenkins could be done in Dallas.

CORNER WAS A NEED TOO, BUT HOW MUCH OF ONE, REALLY?

When the Cowboys signed Brandon Carr, they made a monumental upgrade over Terence Newman.  Carr-Jenkins-Scandrick?  Good, not great.  Jenkins really struggled in 2010 both with toughness issues, and just overall poor play.  His 2011 season was much better, especially since he played a portion of the season with one arm.  The issue was that Jenkins was set to become a free agent heading into 2013, so it would make some sense to pick a CB as a potential replacement.  The addition of Claiborne will likely end Jenkins’ run in Dallas much sooner now.

SAME OL’ JERRY

By my count, I identified 8 positions above that have more of a need to upgrade than CB.  They are, to recap… All 3 interior OL spots, OLB, S, and both DE spots. When you have that many positions that you can stand to upgrade, there’s an excellent chance that whenever you’re on the clock, the best player available on your board will also likely be a fit at one of those 8 bigger need positions.

So why use your first and second round picks on a CB?  Well, that can be answered with another question.  And that is:

“What are the Cowboys, exactly?” 

They’re a team with no shortage of star power (or at least perceived star power) at the top: Ware, Romo, Witten, Austin, Ratliff, Smith, Lee and if you want to throw in Bryant and Carr too, then OK, I suppose I’ll allow it.

Beyond the stars, there’s mediocrity up and down the starting lineup and typically no depth to speak of whatsoever.  This has not been a winning formula, and probably never will be.

The Cowboys’ decision to trade up and utilize their top 2 picks on one player (albeit potentially a great one), especially at a position that didn’t need as much help as other areas, reflects that same pattern.

Old habits die hard and owner/GMs can’t be fired.

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  35. rational says:

    With Dallas drafting Claiborne, it allows them to sustain economical depth at the cornerback position (very hard to do) and maintain a high level of talent there for years to come. Jenkins is very injury prone, but a very good player. They should keep him for depth, holding his franchise options and a possible 4th round compensatory pick next year. Why would they trade him for anything less that a third if he allows depth at that important position. Dallas’ cornerbacks (even their 4th and 5th CB’s) get a significant amount of snaps. They should have actually drafted another cornerback. So cornerback was a need to not get pushed into an unreasonable financial corner. Also, it is undeniable that claiborne was the most talent that they could get with their resources in the first and second round. To get an All-Pro talent as opposed to two solid starters is the way to go. They got off cheap on the deal as well…….the point chart said they should have given up a fourth rounder as well.
    Dallas’ problem on the O-Line last year is that they couldn’t get a push. Therefore they were horrible on short yardage and running when the defense knew they were going to run. That is why they passed so much at the end of games that they were winning. They couldn’t run. Therefore, they signed two guards that will provide a push and that are in the primes of their career. That is better than drafting those guys because offensive lineman many times, take a couple of years to fill out and learn successful technique. Sometimes, its a steal to get guys that have a few years in the league and are ready to take that next step. Dallas did that. If a team takes a

    if a team takes an offensive lineman in the first round, it disallows them to take a player that has elite talent that they would not be able to fill in any other round. Dallas had a few holes to fill (especially secondary and DE) and if they took DeCAstro, then it would have been tough to get an impact player in the secondary who wasn’t a shrimp (such as Boykin). Its easier to make up for not taking a guard in the first round than a secondary player. So now, it really only made sense to take a secondary player and most thought it was going to be Barron. Barron would have not provided the coverage upgrade or turnover difference that Claiborne is going to do. Poole is experienced and has played in the Ryan defense multiple years. They would have had to trade up for either. I bet Dallas is glad that it was Claiborne. Meanwhile, you guys are trying to convince yourselves that they made a bad decision. He will make the largest difference on how other teams scheme against Dallas and what the D-Coordinator can do. I believe that Dallas and Philly will be the best teams in the Division next year.

    So go ahead and try to justify why you think Dallas did the wrong thing while 95% of everyone else loves the move. Also, he adds to the Nightmare that Dallas is as far as scheming against them. Dallas has the best pass rusher in the division, the best corner corp, the best tight end, the best nose tackle (Ratiif, as Andy Reid), the best fullback (Vickers), best MLB (Lee) and possibly the most corner (Claiborne). Oh yeah, their Quarterback, tackles, WR’s are close to being the best (if not the best).
    What is important about have cornerback play that Dallas will have, is it enhances the largest investments that you have on defense (Ratlif and Ware) and will bring more turnovers and sacks because of the ability that they already know is there at the front end. Teams would not, let Dallas’ pass rush get there……they just dropped and got the ball out. No route was re-directed because no one could press (except Jenkins). Now Dallas has Bruce Carter (their second round pick) coming in to solidify the middle of the field. Our MLB’s will cover a lot of ground. Spencer’s sack total will be over 10 this year and you will see sack totals and turnovers rise. This is all enhanced and really tied to having strong coverage and depth at the corner position. Now you tell me…….is that worth a second round pick? Evaluate football, dont evaluate the hate and resentment that you have for the Dallas Cowboys.

  36. Seanrude says:

    The more I think about this, the more I have to reject the thesis that is the ‘Same Ol’ Jerry’ in action. The problem with Jerry has always been that he has targeted dogshit players in the past (unless he had Jimmy Johnson or Bill PArcells sitting next to him to say ‘no’). By your own admission, Claiborne is good. Trading up to get a talented player, while it may be problematic for the reasons you set forth, is a new and different problem for Jerry. He was usually trying to outsmart the rest of the league with gems like Shante Carver, Quincy Carter or trading back for value which always made Cowboys fans cringe. But here, going up at relatively little cost, to get one of the blue chippers in the draft, this is not the ‘Same Ol’ Jerry’ at all.

    It may not be a good move, but this the total and complete opposite of what anyone could expect from Jerry based on past history. That is why I think we are seeing the hand of Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan, with Jerry just being told to dial the number and say “welcome to the Cowboys”

  37. yehti says:

    I dont get the bashing JK? i know you are an eagles fan so i get that, but like i have posted many times Dallas can release Livings anytime. i dont think he has anything in guarenteed money.

    i get Dallas has needs so does Philly, but your not bashing giving up a 4 to move a couple spots for Cox (which pisses me off). a 4 can get philly a starter. I look at the possibility that Dallas loved Brockers ok then say whoever in the second. what happens if Brockers is a bust? So anyways i like the trade for Dallas and congrats on Cox….

    1. A 4 is a hell of a lot different than a 2.

      1. yehti says:

        agreed but a big difference in size of the jump. if dallas overpayed i would agree with you but they didnt

  38. Chandus says:

    Jimmy:

    You know quite well what good position coaching means to a questionable OLine, the Eagles had a questionable unit last year and performed admirable. Now, with Peters going down and the acquisition of Bell you aren’t sweating because Mudd is going to have him ready.

    So, why are you questioning Bill Callahan? He’s an Offseason acquisition, it isn’t like acquiring Nicks in FA, but the guy can develop OLineman.

    Let’s look at it from a different angle, before last season, had you heard about Evan Mathis? I’ll speak for myself, I hadn’t, 22 starts in 6 years made it kind of hard… And wow, what a good position Coach can make out of talent…

    Or you don’t think much of Callahan? If that’s so, I guess that I’ll call that interesting.

  39. Eric says:

    Sorry, I can’t edit my post but the Jenkins I’m referring to is Mike, not Janoris. And I was speaking of Curry/Glenn, etc. in the second round.

  40. Eric says:

    He’s obviously a good player, but if you feel that Jenkins is even a little above average; I think you stay put and get safety or offensive and defensive line help or rush linebacker help.

    Think of it this way, if I could tell you you could have Jenkins, Chandler Jones/Poe/Cox/Barron in the 1st and Curry/Glenn/Adams/Martin/Silatolu; wouldn’t you rather have that than Claiborne and the same old guys that are already there?

    I’d take the former.

  41. rage114 says:

    I think Claiborne will be a excellent corner. I won’t say Revis at this point because there is only of those. But close that level? Absolutely.

    If you look at this pick in a vacuum, the Cowboys killed it. They made a great move and got a possible game changer for the next 7-9 years.

    But Jimmy’s point I think (regardless of what other positions are bigger needs) is that this formula has been tried before in Dallas. Use a great number of resources for the sexy high profile player and hoping “good enough” is good enough at those not-to-flashy positions.

    A great OT is great but doesn’t really get the masses goind. Ditto for a 3-4 DT or DE.

    This appears to be more of the same.

    Not knocking the pick, knocking the philosophy.

    1. rage114 says:

      But to be fair, the Eagles are guity of this as well, if not to the same degree.

      The Eagles will overpay for cornerbacks, DE’s, and OT’s like they are collecting rare coins and while ignoring LB and safeties to a lesser extent.

  42. Jimmer says:

    If Dallas could just get ESPN to start talking up how good Stephen McGee is (even though he sucks) we could flip him for a pro-bowl player and a 2nd round pick.

  43. Free Plax says:

    Boys have improved their secondary that’s for sure. Only problems is they still need a 3rd cornor (Scandrick is a JAG nothing more) and their safeties are still mediocore, so throwing deep on them shouldn’t be a problem. Everyone is going to overeact to this move and proclaim the NFC East champs but they have a some big holes to fill before they are ready to be considered serious contenders. So in the short term, this move might not be the best but long term when the Cowboys add some more players to the mix this will be a very good move.

  44. Mike says:

    I think you’re being exceptionally unfair about this pick.

    First of all, getting Morris Claiborne means they don’t even have to think about signing Mike Jenkins to a $50 million deal next season. Instead, they get Claiborne for about $30 million less.

    Secondly…it’s seriously time for people to stop overstating how terrible the Cowboys front seven was last year. As terrible as Anthony Spencer is (which is flat out untrue), and as many tomato cans as the DL has…they still produced the 7th most sacks, and they were still top 10 in QB hit and hurries. The problem was the secondary. If you think that’s wrong, I dare you to take a look at the final game of the season. A whopping 60% of Eli’s passes in that game traveled less than 5 yards through the air. That’s including all 3 of Eli’s TDs. What good does upgrading the pass rush do, when the they’ll never have a chance to get to the QB?

    1. ATLeagle says:

      this is what i am worried about. How much of the Dallas D improves because of an improved secondary? The wasted second round pick may be spread out across extra opportunity for the rest of the D to look better, as this is a very big improvement to what I thought was a significant hole. The rush and the LBs could be better, but even if they were improved, the secondary would remain so bad that passes would just go over the new guys. Now there is opportunity in the rest of the picks to try to find challengers.

      This is Jerry being Jerry, but he likes his flashy guys, and if some low round guys overplay their expectations, or some role players happen to fit a scheme, this can still end up as a good move.

      I wish this cost them more.

  45. Euler.is.a.pimp says:

    Does an old article moving up mean you edited it, or do you just occaisonally move these things around for publicity reasons?

    1. Took me like 2 hours to do this at 2 in the morning last night, and then I buried it with two other quick things this morning, so I figured I’d get my money’s worth.

  46. Aftershock9958 says:

    1. Offensive Line

    I won’t disagree with this being a need, but the fact is behind this offensive line last season we were 7th in passing yards and Romo had his best statistical season – and that’s with two rookies and a second year players all starting at this level for the first time as well as the lack of an offseason. There’s no telling if a full season under their belt plus a full offseason together will make them better, and after Dallas’ pickups of Davis and Columbo earlier in their careers I feel okay with them feeling like they may see something in Livings and Bernadeau.

    2. Spencer

    At this point with Carr and Claiborne being added to the roster, Spencer is instantly a better player. He’s already solid against the run and the major knock on him is that he’s unable to rush the passer. If Claiborne and Carr generate even an extra second of pass coverage, Spencer turns his 35 QB pressures into more sacks. If that happens, I have no problem giving him a long-term deal.

    3. DE

    Hatcher and Lissemore have been roleplayers, sure. But in Hatcher’s case he’s been a guy who over time has gained more and more playing time and is starting to look like a starter in the making. He’s gotten better every season since he was drafted. Lissemore is in the same position but younger. Both are talents. Spears is a tomato? Spears is a great run-stopping DE. I’ll give you that he’s not special, but he’s certainly not a liability. And as with Spencer, if Mo and Carr give even just a second more of coverage, the DL will appear improved as a result.

    4. Safety

    Pool was an upgrade. You listed a comparison of their stats, but Abe played in over 1,000 snaps last season. 1k snaps and not a single pass deflection? Not a single interception? I don’t know how many snaps Pool played but if he only started six games I would be more than comfortable saying it was quite a bit lower than Abe’s number, so by comparison I prefer Pool’s stats. I would also say that with our CB duo, there is less pressure on our Safeties now and next year’s draft class has a crop of safeties that will outplay this years group.

    Let me finish up by saying that when you look at the position some of these players went off the board (Barron at 7, the first OL not taken til 23 and 24) we probably would have ended up in a position where we weren’t getting a player who would improve our defense nearly as much as Claiborne will. The guys who were available when we would have picked at 14, Brockers, Coples, Ingram, Kirkpatrick – all of them grade out well, but the certainty that comes with Mo doesn’t come with those guys. The same can even more easily be said about whoever we may have picked in round two.

    All that being said, it’s still entirely possible that Dallas makes it back into the second round, and if that happens would your opinion still be the same?

    1. nice rebuttal….I think Jimmy is just a little concerned with our new secondary and is trying to downplay our selection…..the fact that our corners are now going to pushing opposing WR’s around instead of lining up 12 yards back every play giving teams an easy out is huge in itself……7th in sacks last year…can’t wait for the season

    2. Do what you will with statistics that don’t really relate in my opiion, but that OL, as it currently stands, is not good.

      DE’s are also not good. Hatcher is going to be 30 in July. I think we pretty much know his ceiling by now.

      Pool may be an upgrade, but he’s still not any kind of answer… or a good starter. One year band aid. Being an upgrade over Abram Elam isn’t saying much.

      Spencer may very well be better in 2012, but he’s not anywhere near the player his contract says he is. Even a marginally improved Spencer doesn’t justify his deal. The Cowboys may very well re-up him if he has some sort of monster breakout season, but how likely is that to occur?

      We’ll have to wait to see who’s still on the board at 45, but my gut tells me I’d rather have Ingram or Kirkpatrick and a choice from the menu of available players tonight over one player.

      And you’re right that Ingram and Kirkpatrick aren’t “sure things.” But neither is Claiborne. Is Claiborne more likely to have a good career? Sure. But it’s not like it’s a 100% certainty that he’ll be a great one.

      Dallas may very well make it back into round 2, but that’ll cost something. TBD.

      1. Aftershock9958 says:

        Trust me, I’m not disagreeing that they’re not good. But the statistics do relate. As much as they were an issue last year we were still able to generate yards behind them and we have brought in improvements to the line as well. We will still be generating yards come the 2013 season.

        Hatcher doubled his highest sack total and beat his top in tackles last season, so do we really know where his ceiling lies? You’re using theory to support fact rather than fact to support theory with that argument.

        And again, I agree Pool is a band-aid but he is a better player than Elam and as I said, the CB group we have now will take some pressure off of the S position in addition to, as I said, the fact that this year’s safety class is weak in comparison to next years, so why not patch it with a band-aid rather than reach like both the Jags and Vikes did?

        As far as Spencer’s deal, it’s not unusual for the price tag that comes with a franchised player to not necessarily match up to their talent. A breakout season isn’t exactly a sucker bet – he did have 35 pressures. We call him “Almost” Anthony for a reason. How much more coverage time will our CBs offer now that Spencer hasn’t been playing with the previous three years? Really, the only knock I hear regularly on Spencer is that he’s not a good enough pass rusher – more time will turn pressures into sacks.

        A lot of people are talking about the Cowboys as not being much improved and having a vast amount of holes, but the reality of it is we’re not as bad off as people think. There was one game of separation between Philly, Dallas, and NY. None of the three are really head and shoulders above the other two, and this season will likely be as close between all of them.

        1. Mike says:

          @Aftershock9958,

          As far as “Almost” Anthony…I think it needs to be pointed out that judging pass rush abilities based entirely off of sacks is just a terrible way measuring a player. Sacks have so many variables, that some of it is just luck. The other part of Spencers sacks vs. pressures is the position that he plays. A LOLB is a blind-side rusher that’s coming from a QBs back side. Spencer typically came from the strong-side, where the QB was more likely to see him, and get rid of the ball before he got there. Quick passing attacks ALSO result in a skewed sack/pressure ratio.

          I’m not saying Spencer is a phenomenal pass rusher, or that he can’t improve. I’m just saying, there’s more going into his 6 sacks to 30+ pressure than he’s just not good enough to get there in time. At the end of the day, he does his job, and he does it well.

          1. Aftershock9958 says:

            I agree completely. I was trying to illustrate that the only complaint that really gets aired about Spencer could end up dissolving if our corners play up to their abilities this season.

            On the same token, there’s a chance that those pressures turn into interceptions as well if he’s forcing the early pass. One way or another, Spencer’s stock improves based on an improved CB squad.

      2. Jimmer says:

        Mel Ingram = Aaron Maybin
        Dre Kirkpatrick = Aaron Ross
        Morris Claiborne = Revis

        #haha

  47. Seanrude says:

    “Same Ol’ Jerry” would be trading up to get Quincy Frigging Carter or trading back to get value and special teamers as in 2009. I think this is the first really clear sign that Jerry is being put out to pasture and Jason and Stephen (and toss Rob Ryan in there as well) are running the show. The move may not pan out, but trading up to get a good (possibly great) player is not a move Cowboys fans associate with Jerry Jones tenure as General Manager. This move makes sense. I dare you to find anyone other than Jerry Jones who thought trading up for Quincy Carter made sense.

    As for 2009, setting aside that almost all of the picks the Cowboys made were total busts (Phillips and maybe Butler excepted, although Butler is a big MAYBE and Phillips is still a wait and see), the Cowboys traded a first and a third in 2009 for a guy who is not on any teams roster in 2012, and not because of injuries. He just sucks that much, despite his outstanding blocking skills. Note that I did not use his name. I hate the grinning bastard that much.

  48. Jimmer says:

    It’s all hyperbole at this point. Outcome of this move will be determined during the season. All NFL teams have holes, the key is to build strengths to give your team an advantage that can overcome the short comings in other areas.

    Spencer is perfectly fine as a SOLB. People get on him all the time, but he was actually one of the more productive players in the NFL at his position. He doesn’t need replaced. Claiborne/Carr will help him quite a bit I think.

    The Cowboys still have 3 picks in RD. 3 & 4. They will address the above stated other weaknesses I believe. Phil Blake, George Iloka, Markelle Martin, Mike Brewster, Derek Wolfe, Kendall Reyes, etc. could all be targets.

  49. Proud of you all for being up so early, by the way.

    1. DerfDiggy says:

      Lol right before I hit submit on my first reply I thought… “Jimmy is going to think I’m a maniac homer for being up this early ”

      I have a 6 month old though… There’s my excuse.

      1. Yeah, I didn’t get to bed until 3ish. And I’m up. 2-month old.

        1. DerfDiggy says:

          Yea I remember… Little girl right? How’s that going?

          My boy sleeps all night… From 7 until usually 5. I can’t complain one bit. Those early months were hell though.

          1. She’s pretty much on a schedule. Gets up at 2 and 5:30, almost like an alarm clock. It hasn’t been that bad, knock on wood. The bad times are when I’m alone with her, and she’s just screaming. It’s like, “OK, I changed you, I fed you, I burped you, I gave you your tummy medicine, I gave you your fever medicine, I tried to talk to you in a silly voice, I don’t know what else I can do.”

            But otherwise, the whole thing is pretty awesome.

        2. Smitty2K3 says:

          I’m learning very quickly about what you’re talking about. My son was born on Sunday and last night was our first night home. Needless to say I’m going off very little sleep as well right now.

          1. Hey, congrats, by the way.

            1. Smitty2K3 says:

              Thanks man. We had to also experience the C-section unfortunately… so I can relate. Tough process, but the reward is great.

              I just had to share. I hope daughter and mom are doing well by the way.

              Back to your regularly scheduled football programming.

  50. Adam S says:

    I got nothing for a rebuttal. I hate you Jimmy, lol.

  51. WeNeedLinemen says:

    I hate the Cowboys to an extent that I am really not comfortable with. I am not predisposed to liking any move that they make but I was not happy when I saw that trade made and I am still not. Whilst I recognise all your points, that defense is now looking very dangerous.

    I also think they managed to make the move on the cheep. In fact, without checking the trade chart, a lot of the trades made last night looked a little light on compensation. In fact I think that late flurry of trades occurred because it became obvious that teams were really keen to move down.

    Moreover, whilst I agree that the Cowboys have got bigger needs, interceptions change the course of games. Claiborne and Carr are going to tighten up the back-end of their defense. I hate to think how many sacks Ware might get this year if his corners provide better coverage.

    1. DerfDiggy says:

      1550 on the “trade chart”(which is outdated break)… They should’ve thrown in an additional 4th or later picks… Was surprisingly light to only trade the 2nd.

  52. DerfDiggy says:

    This is nonsense Jimmy. Decastro at 14 is a reach… The alternative is Brockers and a 2nd.

    Was a great pick…

    1. prototyler says:

      How ahout dre kirkpatrick and peter kontz(sp?)? Or brockers and jenkins? Its a waste when there are so many other holes to fill.

      1. DerfDiggy says:

        The problem with going deep into the “holes to fill ” issue is the draft isn’t over. Yes the boys have holes to fill, but they just got an elite prospect, filling a hole next year(which Jimmy would’ve wrote about ala Spencer). Claiborne slipped to 6, and that’s the only scenario the boys had to trade up. It’s a damn good trade… But you guys are eagles fans…. And it’s Jerry being Jerry. When the eagles win a Superbowl based on the drafting style you guys seem to covet so much… You’ll have a point.

        Anyways… The draft isn’t over…. There’s holes to fill… But those 2 picks makes the entire defense better…

        1. CulDaddy says:

          You don’t have to win a Super Bowl to have a point. Does one Cowboy playoff win in the past 13 years = pointless?

          1. yehti says:

            0 super bowls in forever mean anything??

  53. Gary says:

    Very interesting. As an Eagles fan, when I first heard about this move, I thought “Damn, good deal for Dallas.” And I still think moving up from 14 to six and only giving up a 2nd rounder is pretty good value. But you’re right, they had plenty of other holes that Claiborne doesn’t help and the move was typical Jerruh in that sense. Also, this draft seems to have especially good players who will go in the 2nd and 3rd round.

  54. It amazes me how you always think you know more than not only Cowboys fans, but also their coaching staff, scouts, etc. Granted, the do have many needs, as you pointed out, but you exaggerate some. Any other team would be praised for taking BPA, and not going for strict need–not to mention moving up relatively *cheaply* to take the best defensive player in the draft, and the second rated player on their board.

    *I say cheaply, because a 2nd round pick is never cheap, obviously. But for what they got, they clearly won on the draft board. JJ mentioned this, and the Rams all but admitted this as well (should’ve cost more than a 2nd, prob a 4th as well).

    1. Two things:

      1) Which of the needs that I noted were not bigger than CB?

      2) There’s a difference between drafting BPA at your spot when you’re on the clock, and when you trade your top two picks to move up and draft a lesser need.

      1. DerfDiggy says:

        Except the problem with writing a draft article assessing needs, and saying a team can’t address those needs… After the first round is kind’ve flawed no?

        As the 08 draft showed us… Just because you fill a hole doesn’t mean you’re upgrading your talent… Claiborne is an upgrade.

        Jerry didn’t rule out trading into the 2nd.. If they come away with 3-4 legitimate upgrades in this draft… It’s much better than 5-7 hole fillers… No?

        1. I think they could have sat at 14, gotten a significant upgrade there, and then gotten another significant upgrade somewhere at 45. I’m certainly not talking about plugging holes with warm bodies. This is a talented draft class. I just don’t like giving up 2 very valuable picks to take one player. It’s a move befitting of a team that might be one player away, not this team.

          1. mastermind says:

            FU Jimmy…ur still so biased….try to be objective I dare u b!tch. U suck at life and being a REAL journalist. I have friends that have head injuries from our time in the us army that have more sense and reason than u. I hate no other journalist…and I use that term loosely…than u pr!ck

            1. nadam says:

              hahahahahaha owned!!!!

      2. It’s not about drafting a greater or lesser need in this situation. It’s about moving up to get a guy who was #2 on your board (and some others)–a guy you never thought you would ever get a chance to get. You’re probably not going to be in a position like this again for a long time (hopefully).

        Hey, normally I am against moves like this (or even trading a 3rd rounder to move up, which the Boys have done several time). But if there is ONE guy I am ok with them doing it for, it is Claiborne.

        As to needs, I agree that Center is a dire need, but Cowboys would’ve had to trade back, move around if they wanted to go that route. I would’ve loved DeCastro too, but I don’t think Guard is as bad a need. They drafted Arkin and Nagy, and they’ve signed Bernadeau & Livings–after they got Callahan. He’s one of the best O-line coaches in the league, and it’s obviously not a coincidence they signed those guys once Callahan was on board. Between those 4 (et. al. perhaps), I think they feel ok. Now, if G-C-G is getting blown up all across the board next year, I’ll be pissed, lol. I think Pool is a little better than you are giving him credit for (not much, but some). And our DEs, while not great, aren’t a liability. Would I love to see improvement there? Absolutely. But the Cowboys just had too many holes to fill in one draft and FA period. This move, unlike what some talking heads are saying, is not about being 1 or 2 players away. And it’s not just for this year’s or next year’s needs. It’s the type of move you make for the next decade…

        Anyway, if they had stayed at 14–which I think they would have–the pick was going to be Brockers. Now, I actually like Brockers, but a lot of people don’t. Think he might be Marcus Spears part deux. We’ll just have to wait and see (and wait and see who gets picked at 45). This draft has good depth to it, but it’s not one of the top end talent type of drafts (unlike last year).

      3. rational says:

        With Dallas drafting Claiborne, it allows them to sustain economical depth at the cornerback position (very hard to do) and maintain a high level of talent there for years to come. Jenkins is very injury prone, but a very good player. They should keep him for depth, holding his franchise options and a possible 4th round compensatory pick next year. Why would they trade him for anything less that a third if he allows depth at that important position. Dallas’ cornerbacks (even their 4th and 5th CB’s) get a significant amount of snaps. They should have actually drafted another cornerback. So cornerback was a need to not get pushed into an unreasonable financial corner. Also, it is undeniable that claiborne was the most talent that they could get with their resources in the first and second round. To get an All-Pro talent as opposed to two solid starters is the way to go. They got off cheap on the deal as well…….the point chart said they should have given up a fourth rounder as well.
        Dallas’ problem on the O-Line last year is that they couldn’t get a push. Therefore they were horrible on short yardage and running when the defense knew they were going to run. That is why they passed so much at the end of games that they were winning. They couldn’t run. Therefore, they signed two guards that will provide a push and that are in the primes of their career. That is better than drafting those guys because offensive lineman many times, take a couple of years to fill out and learn successful technique. Sometimes, its a steal to get guys that have a few years in the league and are ready to take that next step. Dallas did that. If a team takes a

      4. rational says:

        if a team takes an offensive lineman in the first round, it disallows them to take a player that has elite talent that they would not be able to fill in any other round. Dallas had a few holes to fill (especially secondary and DE) and if they took DeCAstro, then it would have been tough to get an impact player in the secondary who wasn’t a shrimp (such as Boykin). Its easier to make up for not taking a guard in the first round than a secondary player. So now, it really only made sense to take a secondary player and most thought it was going to be Barron. Barron would have not provided the coverage upgrade or turnover difference that Claiborne is going to do. Poole is experienced and has played in the Ryan defense multiple years. They would have had to trade up for either. I bet Dallas is glad that it was Claiborne. Meanwhile, you guys are trying to convince yourselves that they made a bad decision. He will make the largest difference on how other teams scheme against Dallas and what the D-Coordinator can do. I believe that Dallas and Philly will be the best teams in the Division next year.

      5. rational says:

        So go ahead and try to justify why you think Dallas did the wrong thing while 95% of everyone else loves the move. Also, he adds to the Nightmare that Dallas is as far as scheming against them. Dallas has the best pass rusher in the division, the best corner corp, the best tight end, the best nose tackle (Ratiif, as Andy Reid), the best fullback (Vickers), best MLB (Lee) and possibly the most corner (Claiborne). Oh yeah, their Quarterback, tackles, WR’s are close to being the best (if not the best).
        What is important about have cornerback play that Dallas will have, is it enhances the largest investments that you have on defense (Ratlif and Ware) and will bring more turnovers and sacks because of the ability that they already know is there at the front end. Teams would not, let Dallas’ pass rush get there……they just dropped and got the ball out. No route was re-directed because no one could press (except Jenkins). Now Dallas has Bruce Carter (their second round pick) coming in to solidify the middle of the field. Our MLB’s will cover a lot of ground. Spencer’s sack total will be over 10 this year and you will see sack totals and turnovers rise. This is all enhanced and really tied to having strong coverage and depth at the corner position. Now you tell me…….is that worth a second round pick? Evaluate football, dont evaluate the hate and resentment that you have for the Dallas Cowboys.

  55. ian says:

    they got a tremendous cover corner. claiborne is probably the best cb prospect since darrelle revis. suddenly the cowboys have better cbs than the eagles do. i agree it was not their biggest need, but great draft pick for them. i’m happy with fletcher cox, but i wish the eagles had traded up for claiborne. you don’t pass up on a talent like morris claiborne to fill a need. claiborne is going to be a multiple pro bowler for sure.

    1. Tfizzle says:

      I would not call him the best cb prospect since Darrelle Revis. He’s a shade better than Patrick Peterson, just without the return ability. Thus, while he should be a great cornerback, I feel that Jimmy is spot on; the Cowboys had bigger needs. So, could this be a good move in a few years when Claiborne’s hitting his prime? Yes. Is it right now? I don’t think so. Personally, if I’m the Cowboys, I’d have been happy staying where I was and picking up DeCastro, who really is one of the best Guard prospects. Ever. And they would have had the opportunity to get a pretty decent safety in the 2nd round.

      As far as the Eagles trading up to get Claiborne…it probably would have taken our 1 and our higher 2. Am I trading Cox and whoever we get tomorrow for Claiborne? I personally don’t think so. Cox was highly regarded as a potential top 10 pick (even up to 6 for the Rams), so I don’t think the talent gap there is huge. Also, the Eagles are set at our outside CB positions for a few years, so they’re looking more for talented depth right now (this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t grab a cb in the first couple rounds, just that it won’t immediately pay dividends).

      So, in summary, you’re right in most everything you said; however, I feel that both moves had their upside and downside, each fitting their own team pretty well.

      1. Immynimmy says:

        Patrick Peterson was a better CB in college than Claiborne. But we’ll see what happens week 1.

        1. DerfDiggy says:

          Peterson is a better returner and athlete… I’d potentially argue that he’s not a better CB than Claiborne… But I won’t.

    2. bula says:

      i wouldn’t say that the cowboys are necessarily better than philly at the cb spot. whether he had a slightly down year last year or not, track record says that nnamdi is better than either Carr or Claiborne. DRC, if he returns to form, is just as good as either of them too. Especially considering that claiborne, no matter how good a prospect, is still a rookie

      1. Mike says:

        Top two…I’ll agree that Philly is probably close. But right now, past the two starters, it’s nowhere near close.

        1. Mike says:

          By close, I meant better.

      2. rational says:

        Man, this whole website just prays for the worst possible thing to happen to the cowboys. You guys put all of your eggs in the basket for a worse case scenario for all things cowboys. Yes, Dallas’ corners are better. They have the deepest cornerback corp in the league right now; and would do good to keep Jenkins (even if its only for a year) for depth and possible injury to a typically frail position (on every team). They will net a very good player for the year (one who is better than DRC…..way more consistent in coverage) and a compensatory selection the next year. Why would anyone trade him for a 5th round pick now when they could get what he offers you for the year, a compensatory selection and options to franchise him if you want to (logical if you consider what you can throw away on a corner’s contract at a frail position).
        Scandrick isn’t far from DRC……he can play the slot and has the speed element. He is more consistent but lacks the height and length that DRC does. Asomghua, is long but cant play the slot. What us outstanding about his game? Have you asked yourself that question? What thing that you have to hate about Asomghua is that he never gets interceptions. That is something that they have dealt with in Dallas with their corners for a long time. Claiborne brings more ability to create turnovers than any prospect that I can think of. Think of someone? The man plays the ball better than anyone I can think of. He will match-up against taller receivers better than any corner in the league. He has very long arms. He may be the best corner in the league…….and if you take every corner out of the league right now and redraft them with only the information that you had about them in college……..Its hard to think that Claiborne would not be the first guy because he has physical skills that match-up against physical freaks at the WR position (better than anyone out there) and plays the ball better than anyone out there. So to be able to neutralize the playmaking ability of these match-up nightmares and provide the ability to turn the ball over better than anyone………..well, that sounds like all-pro ability. You boys just don’t want to recognize that the cowboys just drafted a perennial pro bowler. Fletcher Cox is a helluva pick as well……so was Vinny Curry.

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