Dallas Cowboys' Draft Class: D-Minus

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When the Dallas Cowboys kick off the regular season in Tampa Bay in T-minus 12 days, their rookies will be all but invisible.

The Cowboys drafted 12 players. Three of those - kicker David Buehler, linebacker Victor Butler and tight end John Phillips - will be on the field against the Buccaneers. Yikes.

Most of us saw this coming back in April.

When you trade down, trade down and trade down some more, you sacrifice quality for quantity. You go on the cheap, you get inferior products.

As I mentioned yesterday, at this point Dallas' crop of free agents (Virginia receiver Kevin Ogletree and Nebraska linebacker Steve Octavien) will be more productive than its draft class.

Inexcusable. Unless, that is, you buy the excuses.

Mainly, injuries. Secondly, sucking.

Before he sprained an ankle that will keep him sidelined at least a month, top choice Jason Williams looked lost. He had a sack for a safety in the second pre-season game, but generally was nowhere near getting on the field in meaningful situations. Offensive lineman Robert Brewster tore a chest muscle in the spring is out for the year.

In the fourth round Dallas selected Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, Butler and Texas Tech pass-rusher Brandon Williams. Ugh. McGee, as expected, consistently held the ball waaaay too long before spraining a knee that ended his pre-season and Williams tore an ACL in the second exhibition. Butler has a chance to produce - especially on special teams - because, if nothing else, he's healthy.

The Cowboys took safety DeAngelo Smith (yawn), safety Michael Hamlin (broken wrist) and Buehler in the fifth round. The Southern Cal kicker, who beat Smith in an impromptu 50-yard dash in camp, by the way, will be a factor with his booming leg.

Of Dallas' late-round picks - Stephen Hodge, Phillips, Mike Mickens and Manuel Johnson - only Phillips (third tight end) is assured of a roster spot at this point.

The Cowboys can - and will - be good in 2009. No thanks to rookies.

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