The 2012 NFL draft is a wrap. Did the Dallas Cowboys improve their team in this draft? Time will tell naturally but let’s take a preliminary look at each of the seven picks to see how the Cowboys did.
First pick: Morris Claiborne CB, LSU Grade A-
If you watched any of the several games where Dallas blew a 4th quarter lead to lose, then you realize they had to improve their secondary in the draft. Unexpectedly the Cowboys traded up from 14 to 6 in order to draft Claiborne the top CB in the draft. He will make their secondary better for certain. The only reason I place a minus beside the A is because they gave up a 2nd round pick in order to move up. That is a pretty stiff price.
Second Pick: Tyrone Crawford DE, Boise State Grade B
Without question the Cowboys also need to improve their pass rush. Ware provided their pass rush last year but more is needed up front. Crawford is raw and will need some development to become a starter but he plays with a very good motor and will provide some much needed energy on the defensive line. I like the pick.
Third Pick: Kyle Wilber OLB, Wake Forest Grade C-
Wilber could help the Cowboys on special teams but he will need work as a pass rusher which is exactly what Dallas needs the most. Nothing against Wilber, but I just think the Cowboys could have done better with this pick in the 4th round. There were players available with higher grades. Not impressed with this selection.
Fourth Pick: Matt Johnson SS, Eastern Washington Grade D
Johnson was picked by Dallas in the 4th however I can’t find where he was projected to be drafted at all. His grade was a dismal 49 and there were many players available with grades over 70. A small school safety drafted in the 4th? Why does that sound familiar? Oh ye, Akwasi who never panned out for Dallas. Not good. But at least I can pronounce his name better. The Cowboys decided to stock their practice squad in the 4th round for some reason. Not impressed.
Fifth Pick: Danny Coale WR, Va. Tech Grade B
The slot WR position is open after not signing Robinson so drafting a WR was a need. Seems the Cowboys run short of WRs every year. Coale was very productive at Va. Tech as a wide receiver and is ready to play the slot. He has drawn comparisons to Wes Welker of the Patriots. I find this pick intriguing.
Sixth Pick: James Hanna TE, Oklahoma Grade A
I like this pick and it is not only because I had Dallas drafting him in my Cowboys mock either. BLOG HERE
Texas native, Hanna, is an impressive athlete that could offer some real match up problems for defenses. The Cowboys needed depth at TE and this was about as good of a TE as they could get at this point in the draft. Look forward to watching this guy in Jason’s offense.
Seventh Pick: Caleb McSurdy ILB/(FB?) Montana Grade D
It seems in every recent draft, the Cowboys select a fullback late that never ends up making the team. In a passing era it just seems like you can get one in free agency so why draft a guy that will not even get drafted? Don’t get it. The only reason the Cowboys don’t get an F here is because he is listed as an ILB although scouts indicate he may be a FB actually at the next level.
Not sure what Jason has in mind with Caleb (offense or defense) but if it turns out to be FB, then I am changing this grade to an F. Instead of a small school FB in the 7th, I think they should have drafted CB Dennard, Nebraska which is who the Patriots took just a pick later. Yes Dennard has character red flags but 2nd round talent in the 7th round? I will take my chances.
Overall this wasn’t a bad draft for Dallas and there certainly is reason for optimism. Their grade for the total draft would probably average out to be about a B-. Like how they addressed CB, DE, depth at TE and drafted a slot WR. The two 4th round picks however were forgettable and the last pick was a waste.