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From Rookie to Franchise Player

Cowboys news is slow right now, so let's go back in time to 2003 and look at our draft classes up through 2007. In 2003, Bill Parcells took over a franchise that had been successful in securing (3) consecutive 5-11 season, just horrible.

Only four players remain on the team before Parcells took over in 2003:
2002 - Roy Williams (Campo)
2002 - Andre Gurode (Campo)
1998 - Greg Ellis (Gailey)
1998 - Flozell Adams (Gailey)

The team we have now began its turnaround in 2003. Let's go down memory lane and look back at these recent draft classes and see if we managed to draft some franchise players.

(1) Terence Newman CB Kansas St.
(2) Al Johnson C Wisconsin
(3) Jason Witten* TE Tennessee
(4) Bradie James OLB LSU
(6) B.J. Tucker CB Wisconsin
(6) Zuriel Smith WR Hampton
(7) Justin Bates OT Colorado

Analysis: 3/7 players remain on team, Newman and Witten are clearly the franchise players from this draft. James needs to show more to stay onboard as the starting MLB.

(2) Julius Jones RB Notre Dame
(2) Jacob Rogers OT Southern Cal
(3) Stephen Peterman OG LSU
(4) Bruce Thornton CB Georgia
(5) Sean Ryan TE Boston Coll.

(7) Nathan Jones CB Rutgers
(7) Patrick Crayton WR NW Oklahoma St.
(7) Jacques Reeves CB Purdue

Analysis: 4/8 players remain on the team, Julius Jones and Patrick Crayton remain the best of this class.

(1) Demarcus Ware OLB Troy
(1) Marcus Spears DE LSU
(2) Kevin Burnett OLB Tennessee
(4) Marion Barber HB Minnesota
(4) Chris Canty DE Virginia
(6) Justin Beriault S Ball St.
(6) Rob Petitti OT Pittsburgh

(7) Jay Ratliff DE Auburn

Analysis: 6/8 players remain on the team, Demarcus Ware and Marion Barber III are franchise players in this draft. Spears has not lived up to most people's expectations, Burnett has been hampered with injuries, Canty still looks like a steal in the 4th round and Ratliff has been a true steal with the last pick, he's a solid player.

(1) Bobby Carpenter OLB Ohio State
(2) Anthony Fasano TE Notre Dame
(3) Jason Hatcher DE Grambling State
(4) Skyler Green WR Louisiana State
(5) Pat Watkins S Florida State
(6) Montavious Stanley DT Louisville
(7) Pat McQuistan T Weber State
(7) E.J. Whitley T Texas Tech

Analysis: 6/8 players remain on the team, of these 2nd year players, I expect Carpenter to have a great year, and so will Jason Hatcher. Fasano should be good in run support, Watkins will be in the mix at FS this year, and will get solid playing time in different packages. Stanley was cut last year after training camp, be re-signed this offseason, we'll see if he can help out at the NT backup spot. Pat McQuistan continues to show great potential, and its just a matter of time before he starts at guard or tackle, a steal in the 7th round.

(1) Anthony Spencer DE Purdue University
(3) James Marten T Boston College
(4) Isaiah Stanback QB Washington
(4) Doug Free T Northern Illinois
(6) Nicholas Folk PK Arizona
(6) Deon Anderson FB Connecticut
(7) Courtney Brown CB Cal Poly
(7) Alan Ball CB Illinois

Analysis: I'm projecting at least 6/8 players make this team this year; however, its very possible that all make the team. Anthony Spencer, will be worked into the starting lineup, and will get alot of time at OLB, the rest of the guys will be playing for backup spots for this year; however, their longterm outlook could be very promising. Stanback is a project the Cowboys hope will be a threat in the return game.

The Numbers:
19/53 (~36%) man roster have come from the draft since 2003, this number could rise to 27/53 (~51%) with the addition of the 2007 draft class. The other 64% come from players acquired from trade, free agency, four drafted players from 2002 & 1998, and undrafted rookie free agents, respectively.

WORST DRAFT: 2004, this class may be gone all together after this season
BEST PICK: Demarcus Ware - 2005, 1st round, #11 overall
WORST PICK: Jacob Rogers - 2004, 2nd round, #52 overall

The Draft is hit and miss, its not an exact science, so we can only hope that the Cowboys can continue to add some franchise type players to the roster under new Coach, Wade Phillips.


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