Dallas Cowboys ‘panic’ draft class an indictment on Jaylon Smith, Vander Esch | Opinion

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By October, Micah Parsons will be the best Dallas Cowboys linebacker and the second best defensive player on the team.

The risks and fears that came with drafting Randy Gregory, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have been realized.

As a result, the Cowboys put together a panic-stricken draft that looks like defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was a member of the “Fantastic Four” as he reached for whatever position he wanted.

This is not a draft run by Pro Football Hall of Famer GM Jerry Jones or head coach Mike McCarthy. It was run by the new DC.

When the Cowboys have a head coach who has a plan and conviction, they draft accordingly. They did it with Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells and Jason Garrett.

The drafts under those three ranged from “Hall of Fame” to OK.

The two drafts under Mike McCarthy have an eerie look of the classes under Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo and Wade Phillips. Those drafts had a little more of a Jerry feel, and the results were sometimes horrific.

Quinn has been an NFL head coach before, and he knows how to influence a room. This class has the look of a defensive coordinator who heavily manipulated his GM and new head coach, who are desperate to fix a historically bad defense.

The way-too-early talk about the eight defensive players this team selected in the draft range from “a player” to “immature” and a “weed guy.” The rest are “JAGs” (just a guy).

As the 12th pick in the draft, Micah Parsons better be good, but the Dallas Cowboys’ draft class of 2021 looks frightfully familiar to the Dallas Cowboys’ draft class of 2009.

In 2009, the Cowboys had 12 draft picks, from rounds three through seven. Law of averages said one or two of those guys would hit.

Other than tight end John Phillips, who was serviceable, the rest were duds.

The Cowboys put themselves in a position to reach for need because, other than Tank Lawrence, and maybe Trevon Diggs, their high-end draftees on defense have not panned out.

Gregory has been in the NFL since 2015, and has started once. Great talent. Nice young man. Hope it works out. Hard to be a great player if you’re suspended or hurt.

He was a character concern in 2015, and it’s played out that way.

Jaylon Smith has been in the NFL since 2016, and by now he’s revealed what he is. A great guy. Great story. Decent player.

The fear was the injury he sustained in his final college game was going to change him, and it’s played out that way.

Leighton Vander Esch has been in the NFL since 2018, and he can’t stay healthy. The Cowboys are electing not to pick up the option on the fifth year of his rookie contract because they’re not that dumb.

The Cowboys are saying they’re not exercising this option because of salary cap concerns. This is akin to me saying I’m not entering People Magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year award because of concerns about the judging.

The LVE decision was made because the Cowboys doctors are telling them this is as good as it’s going to get; LVE has missed at least six games in each of the past two seasons.

He was an injury risk coming in, and it’s played out that way.

While we’re running down the Cowboys’ greatest hits, let’s not forget the bust selection of the 2017 first round pick, defensive end Taco Charlton. He was a cut.

Or 2017 second round pick Chido Awuzie. He was ish, and is in Cincy.

Defensive tackle Trysten Hill, a second round pick in 2019, was nonexistent as a rookie, but showed something last year before a knee injury ended his season after only five games.

These players should be the core of a decent defense. Instead, they helped to make one of worst defenses in the history of the organization.

The consequences included the firing of the defensive coordinator, and now a draft class that includes Questions, Concerns and JAGs.

This cannot all be fixed by a new scheme.

Micah Parsons is no savior, but he will soon be the second best defensive player on the Dallas Cowboys.

That’s an indictment on both the organization, and the players.