Back in the late 1990’s, there were some players on the Dallas Cowboys who were getting into some trouble with the authorities. It got so bad that the Dallas community and Cowboys fans everywhere felt like the team needed to obtain higher character players.
Along comes the 1998 NFL draft and the Cowboys have a need at the wide receiver position and Randy Moss is one of the premier talents in the draft. In fact, he’s the best talent in the draft. When it came time for the Cowboys to pick and Moss, who the Cowboys scouts loved, was still on the board, the team had a decision to make. Do they take Moss, who had been in trouble with the law on more than one occasion, or someone else with a ‘cleaner’ history?
We all know what happened, the Cowboys drafted defensive end Greg Ellis, who turned out to be a really good player on the Cowboys for 11 seasons. Ellis was not only a good player on the field, but he was a model citizen off of it and that’s why the Cowboys drafted him.
Which brings me to my question about this year’s draft, will recent arrests stop the Cowboys from drafting a prospect with a troubled past? Every year there are talented players who fall in the draft because because teams don’t want to take the chance on those players.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the second round last year comes to mind, as does Tyrann Mathieu from LSU, this year. Given what’s happened in Dallas in the past two months, is it possible they would draft a player like Mathieu?
I don’t see the Cowboys taking a chance on any player with a checkered past, not only because they want to rebuild their reputation after the past few months, but also because it’s not what Jason Garrett is about as a coach. His two draft classes as head coach have brought in smart, tough, physical football players who love to play the game. Garrett and his scouts put that almost higher than anything else. He also drafts leaders; every player in last year’s draft class was a captain for their college team and those are more likely to be the Cowboys types of picks they will make in April.
Jason Garrett wants a certain type of player and that is not likely to be someone who has been in trouble with the law. Of course, Jerry Jones will always have his say and he does like flashy players but in all likelihood, the Cowboys will steer clear of players who have issues off the field.
Just like last year, the Cowboys will be looking to draft players who are leaders, and who have a passion for playing football. That’s the right direction for the Dallas Cowboys and Jason Garrett, which is why you’ll likely see only high character players drafted in April.
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