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Eatman: History Says Could Be Better To Lose Draft Coin Flip

Posted Jan 13, 2014


So the Cowboys still don’t know exactly where they’ll be picking in the first round of this year’s draft, which has now been moved back to May for some reason.

It’ll either be 16th or 17th. The Cowboys have a coin flip with the Ravens that will take place next month at the Scouting Combine.

You always want to have the highest draft pick possible, right? That’s what the logic says. But if you’re into numbers or superstitions or irony or whatever it is, maybe getting that No. 17 overall pick isn’t so bad.

The Cowboys have picked 17th four times in club history. Twice they have ended up with a Hall of Famer. The others have been solid defensive producers.

As for 16? The Cowboys have only picked at this spot once, and it was just 53 years ago. They took a guy named E.J. Holub, who never played for the team because he chose to sign with the AFL’s Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs. He was used at both linebacker and center and is in the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame, so he was a good player, just not for the Cowboys.

But at 17, you can’t deny what they’ve done there.

Of course, it starts with Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. The Cowboys had to trade up from 21 to 17 to get Smith, although it’s been said for years that Jimmy Johnson really just “settled” for Smith after the guy he really wanted was taken off the board. Turns out linebacker James Francis probably wasn’t a better pick than Emmitt.

And you’ve also got Mel Renfro, who went No. 17 in the 1964 draft, which in my opinion is by far the best draft in Cowboys history and one of the best in league history. Renfro was one of three Hall of Famers taken that year, along with Bob Hayes and Roger Staubach.

In the other two years, the Cowboys got Kevin Brooks in the 1985 draft and then Kevin Smith in 1992. Both players were good on defense, and who knows how good Smith would’ve been had injuries not hampered him.

There could be some really good players in this draft, so picking 16th or 17th might not matter too much. Of course, if the Ravens get the 16th pick and grab the defensive lineman this team wants and needs, then obviously that will be a big deal.

I say defensive lineman like I know that’s what the Cowboys will do, and surely I don’t. But man, I just can’t imagine how they’re not going to address this position high in the draft. Even if they find a way to re-sign Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer and keep DeMarcus Ware, you still get a young, talented defensive lineman, whether he’s an end or tackle or possibly both.

Wherever they pick, the Cowboys just need to get some needed help on that defense.

Then again, I’m not sure why I’m even talking about a coin toss. Because unless something changes from last year, the Cowboys will probably lose it.

They only won three of 16 coin flips to start the game, and the last seven went against them.

So it probably won’t matter at all. The Cowboys could end up with 17th once again, ready and waiting for that next Hall of Famer. But a Pro Bowler, or even regular starter will also do just fine.

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