It’s been a long strange journey for these Dallas Cowboys. As the last four years have passed, these Cowboys have been ridiculed, mocked and crapped on because fans weren’t happy with their selection for some reason. What do they have in common, you may ask?
They are all second-round picks.
Since 2014, the Cowboys have selected DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Jaylon Smith and Chidobe Awuzie in the second round. We’ll leave Connor Williams out of this for now since we don’t know how he’ll work out. Most of those selections were highly questioned.
Tank Lawrence cost the team a third-round pick, Gregory had issues with marijuana off the field and Smith had a major injury, yet the Cowboys felt they were able to take a chance on them. The jury is still out on Awuzie, but the consensus is that Dallas hit a home run with his selection last year.
Part of the reason why fans hated the picks so much is because they weren’t seen as immediate help. Second round picks should be able to walk in and contribute quickly, but that wasn’t the case. Lawrence needed work coming out of college, Gregory’s availability was in question because he was already in the league’s substance abuse program and Smith wasn’t going to be ready to play until his second season.
However, the Cowboys had success taking these chances in prior seasons. Sean Lee worked about despite injury concerns, as did Bruce Carter. Lee still has injury issues but he is an outstanding player when he’s on the field and although Carter never fully panned out, he was a solid player for a few seasons.
Jerry Jones loves to take chances and the second round seems to be his sweet spot for swinging for the fences. This year might finally be the season he gets the last laugh.
All four of the Cowboys’ last four second-round picks are about to help the team turn the corner. The arrow began trending upward last season when DeMarcus Lawrence became one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Jaylon Smith actually played in 2017 and is set to explode after he got some experience and another year for his knee to get healthier.
The final piece of the puzzle came a few days ago when Randy Gregory was reinstated by the league. Gregory offers a second elite pass rusher and if he can get back into football shape, the defense could jump into the upper echelon this season.
After years of complaining about the Dallas Cowboys wasting away second round picks, these guys are ready to contribute. The payoff from all of Jerry Jones’ gambles could pay off in a big way this season.
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