Cowboys and Raiders 2014 Draft: Start of A New Era?

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    Updated: May 11, 2014
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    I am currently living in some strange bizarro world circa 1989 when things in the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders organizations have gone extremely well post NFL Draft day.

    For years the Cowboys and Raiders have made mistakes on players in the draft who have come up duds and were wasted picks. From Quincy Carter to Rolando McClain to Felix Jones to JeMarcus Russell, there have been a lot of missteps. 

    But in the last 48 hours, the world might have witnessed the dawn of a new era in Oakland and Dallas. The Dawn of Common damn sense.

     

    What We Expected… 

    The Cowboys have been a mediocre franchise since their last Super Bowl victory in 1995.

    The Oakland Raiders have been a complete mess of an organization for the better part of a decade and they have been the punch line of NFL fans for years.

    So coming into the draft both fan bases were hoping for good picks, but with the recent history of both franchises, they were expecting the worst. 

    Whenever the Raiders are on the clock during draft day, I always picture the conversation in the Raiders war room going something like this: “Ok fellas, we are on the clock…so now what?” Random guy raises hands. “Alex, you’re in the war room and your VP of operations, don’t raise your hand, just speak. Now, what’s your idea?” “Well…why don’t we just draft the fastest guy available?….” “Hmmmm, the fastest guy you say?” “Well yeah because…then we would have more fast guys to outrun the other team’s slower guys and that’s all we need.” “Alex that’s absolutely brilliant. Ok get Goodell on the phone….hi Mr. Commissioner? Yeah it’s me Reggie, we want the fast guy. Ok thanks.”

    And that’s it. No rhyme nor reason, just some guy that can do “stuff.” 

    The Cowboys war room I’ve always pictured to have two people in it, Jerry Jones and his son Stephen Jones, and cardboard cutouts of Jason Garrett, Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli.

    When they are finally at the clock I always imagine Jerry looking at the cardboard cutout of Garrett and Jerry shaking his head at the cutout as if to say “don’t you dare make a suggestion, I have this under control.” And with 30 seconds left on the clock jerry calls the commissioner and says: “Hey Rog? Yeah it’s me Jerry, I want someone good, someone that can sell tickets, played for Arkansas, can sell tickets and it helps if he was a Razorback…I’ll take anyone of those if there are any left on the board. Thanks. Go Cowboys.”

    And that’s it.  No rhyme, no reason. Just random assortment of picks.

    And for both the Cowboys and Raiders, this is what I envisioned going into Thursday night.

     

    What Actually Happened, and It’s Not A Fantasy 

    Oakland

    To my surprise, with the 5th pick in this year’s draft, the Raiders picked maybe the best defensive player in the draft with Khalil Mack from Buffalo.

    Raiders nation was ecstatic about the pick and as well they should be. They got a stud OLB that is actually faster than his 4.65 40 would tell you.

    He’s intense, he has a chip on his shoulder because he was not recruited to a larger university, and he has a non-stop motor.

    His game awareness is amazing and he’s going to snatch a lot of interceptions while causing a lot of havoc when he rushes and gets into the backfield.

    The Raiders hit a homerun with Khalil Mack, and they now have the young future all-pro anchor of their defense. 

    The Raiders also picked up Derek Carr from Fresno State.

    I’ve only seen Carr once on the football field, and it was over a year ago in what I recall being a Fresno State bowl game.

    I just remember watching Carr for two quarters and thinking to myself his arm was an absolute cannon.

    He was throwing which such velocity it was as if Jay Cutler was playing in a college game.

    He didn’t look panicky, he was a decent size, and he was slinging the ball all over the field in warp speed. So when the Raiders picked him with their second pick, I knew they had found their franchise quarterback. 

    Carr obviously needs a lot of refining and will sit behind Matt Schaub for a little while and learn his craft, but he’s going to be a very good quarterback in this league.

    As long as the Raiders keep drafting and signing pieces to protect him in on the offensive line, and people for him to get the ball to, Carr is going to be really good. 

     

    Dallas

    The only thing Cowboys fans wanted in this draft was defense. Maybe one more receiver, but 95% of the draft should revolve around help for the worst defense in NFL history. Defense, Jerry.

    So once Aaron Donald from Pittsburgh came off the board before the Cowboys pick came up, and Johnny Manziel was sitting there like that prized toy that was the only one left on the shelf the day before Christmas, I almost panicked.

    I knew we shouldn’t draft Manziel, and Jerry knew he shouldn’t draft him either. But would that be enough of a deterrence for Jerry to not draft Johnny Football? There is a lot more harm than good that could come from drafting Manziel.

    Namely, messing with Romo’s psyche.

    Jerry just gave Romo a fat contract, and the last thing Romo and Dallas needed was Romo looking over his shoulder and a media circus at Valley Ranch every night. 

    When Goodell finally got to the podium I was sure Jerry had done the right thing and passed on Manziel. To everyone’s shock including mine, Jerry did the Cowboys one better while sending a message to the world, he drafted an offensive lineman.

    Jerry drafted Zack Martin to protect his expensive investment and make sure Romo would be protected for years to come.

    Courtesy of articles.philly.com

    Could Jerry have drafted defensive help? Sure. But is anyone angry he added another 1st round linemen in-front of Romo and DeMarco Murray? Absolutely not.

    Zack Martin was a team captain at one of the most prestigious and respected universities on Earth in Notre Dame.

    He’s smart, he’s a leader, he’s talented, and most importantly, he’s not Johnny Manziel.

    No one is coming to take pictures of Zack Martin. And that’s just what the doctor ordered at Valley Ranch.

    Another smart linemen after the Cowboys drafted Travis Frederick last season. It was an excellent pick by Jerry which would shape the rest of the Cowboys draft. 

    And with the rest of the Cowboys picks, Jerry took one wide receiver and 7 defenders. I think it was a perfect draft for the Cowboys, and let’s see if any of those seven defenders end up being quality Cowboys. 

    So there we have it, the start of new eras at two of the most storied franchises in sports history? Possibly. But I’m not the only one that liked the Raiders draft either:


    Both the Raiders and Cowboys have been down on their luck for years, and it’s all their own doing. But now these organizations are planting the seeds for future success and the future looks bright.

    This is the start of something special for both teams, the start of something that isn’t terrible. And for that, Cowboys and Raiders nation should all let out a collective sigh of relief, and get ready to start the climb back to prominence. It’s about time.

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    2 Comments

    1. Taylor

      May 11, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      Why would you imagine the raiders war room now would be like the raiders war room of the AL Davis days? Fastest guy was Al’s thing while Reggie has been about football guys from the start.

      • Frantz Paul

        Frantz Paul

        May 11, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        And Reggie is doing well so far which is great. Don’t take the piece personally. I like what your team is doing.

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