Mac Engel

This NFL draft class crippled the Dallas Cowboys

When the Dallas Cowboys made their first-round pick on Thursday the indifference from the AT&T Stadium crowd could have knocked you down.

Oh ... no ... they drafted a Garrett Guy.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett may be an expensive f-bomb-dropping puppet, but the influence Coach Process has on this team's player acquisitions remains a constant. Jason's fingerprints are all over this roster: safe, safe, safe.

We won't know if the selection of Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is worth a bleep for about two years, but he is a safe pick.

Safe is supposed to result in good. Maybe not great, but good. Until it doesn't.

If you want to know why the Cowboys find themselves in such a mediocre state, look no further than their draft from 2015, when Jerry Jones' innate desire to gamble for great combined with Jason Garrett's penchant for safe resulted in nothing.

The third year is when an NFL player should be getting it, and establishing himself as a quality player. As evidenced from the Cowboys' draft class of 2015, they missed virtually everywhere.

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells said during his tenure as the Cowboys coach that player acquisition was a "50/50 proposition." If that's the case, what the Cowboys did in 2015 was a roster-crushing bust.

1. Byron Jones, DB, 27th pick. Scored big marks at the combine and little since then. The team has moved him from corner to safety back to corner in hopes of getting something out of him; 48 games played, and two interceptions ain't enough.

(Next pick: Lions: Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke. Three-year starter for the Lions)

2. Randy Gregory, DE, 60th pick. A top-10 talent fell into the second round because of character concerns. Jerry saw a deal and drafted Gregory. The Cowboys learned firsthand what those concerns are — he flunks drug tests. He was kicked out of the league. He last played a game in 2016, and has begun the process of applying for reinstatement.

(Next pick: Bucs: Ali Marpet, C, Hobart. Started 40 games for the Bucs)

3. Chaz Green, OT, 91st pick. He battled injury. When he was finally healthy, he stepped into to replace Tyron Smith against the Atlanta Falcons last season and nearly got quarterback Dak Prescott killed.

(Next pick: Broncos: Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio St. Appeared in 26 games for the Broncos with 18 receptions)

4. Damien Wilson, ILB, 127th pick. He has not done much in 48 games. The drafting of LVE means Wilson is a backup at best.

(Next pick: Raiders: Jon Feliciano, G, Miami. Appeared in 35 games for the Raiders)

5. Ryan Russell, DE, 163rd pick. He played in one game for the Cowboys in 2015 and was dumped. He played the last two years with the Bucs.

7. Mark Nzeocha, OLB, 236th pick. Appeared in seven games in '15 and '16. Played 10 games last season for the 49ers.

7. Laurence Gibson, T, 243rd pick. No NFL games.

7. Geoff Swaim, TE, 246th pick. Developing into a decent player. In 28 games, he has nine receptions and should again stick on the Cowboys' roster behind Jason Witten.

Not only did the Cowboys miss high, they missed low, too.

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