Jerry Jones passed on Florida Gators standout defensive yackle Sharrif Floyd at No. 18 in the NFL Draft by trading back in the first round to select Wisconsin Badgers C Travis Frederick. He also missed on North Carolina Tar Heels DT Sylvester Williams, who Jones also could have drafted at 18. Jones, targeting players on the offensive side of the ball, did not draft a defensive tackle at all with any of their seven selections.
While Jones stated recently that the Dallas Cowboys are fine at that position, he may even be trying to convince himself of that. Truth is, the Cowboys are nowhere near fine.
Jay Ratliff, once a Pro Bowler, is coming off a season that saw him appear in six games, recording just 16 tackles and no sacks in the process, while sitting out 10 games with an ankle injury. Ratliff will also be 32 by the time the season starts, and in each season since 2008 – at his peak with 7.5 sacks – those numbers have steadily declined.
Ratliff was also charged with a DUI late in the season — this coming off the heels of fellow Cowboys DT Josh Brent driving under the influence, crashing his car and killing passenger Jerry Brown, a practice squad linebacker for the Cowboys.
Simply put, he is not the guy and should not be the guy to be the 3-technique in Monte Kiffin’s new system. Ratliff has good size at 6-foot-4, 303 pounds. He does have a high motor, which is essential in a 3-technique. But when a player’s best days are behind him, it should signal the need to retool the position. Not to mention the fact that his DUI shows a world of immaturity, and certainly not what you’d expect of a veteran.
The Cowboys do have a good young piece at DT with Sean Lissemore sliding in from his 3-4 DE spot. We all know Brent won’t be back. Jason Hatcher, who has come on for the Cowboys in recent years, is 30 years old, and at 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, is a prototype 3-4 defensive end — not the typical 3-technique.
This begs the question why Floyd, at 20 years old and 6-foot-3, 297 pounds — just one inch and three pounds less than Kiffin’s Tampa-2 horse Warren Sapp — was passed up by Jones and Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. Floyd would have brought long term stability to the position as a guy who could man that spot for the next 15 years.
Instead, the Cowboys elected to pass him up for a guy in Frederick who had a third-round grade.
It is classic Jerry Jones, wheeling and dealing to get what he wants and what he thinks is best for the team, without consideration for the long-term benefit.
It is the ultimate reason why the Cowboys are nowhere near “fine” at the position heading into the 2013 season and beyond.