Its always been said that you’ll know what you have in a player by their third year of play, and if we look at the 2008 class it looks like that draft class has peaked. After the 2010 season we’re able to see where these guys may be heading going into year four in the 2011 season. Do we have any keepers?
In 2008 we drafted:
1a Felix Jones, RB
1b Mike Jenkins, CB
2 Martellus Bennett, TE
4 Tashard Choice, RB
5 Orlando Scandrick
6 Erik Walden, DE
First thing that jumps off the page is Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, some forget we drafted both of these guys the same year. The previous season it was the Julius Jones and Marion Barber show, at the end of the season we let Julius walk, and we then drafted Felix and Choice.
Fast forward 3 seasons, and neither back has been dominating or shown they could be a featured back. After further review, its safe to say the three headed monster, is comprised of jack of all trades, masters of none in their craft. The drafting of DeMarco Murray looks to be another indictment against the 2008 class as well. Garrett has had Felix and Choice the whole time, and fully knows what he has in both players.
Felix Jones can’t stay healthy, and for whatever reason Choice has never been given a larger role, so there’s probably more to that than fans are aware of., who knows. I think the Cowboys are indeed looking down the line when they drafted Murray, I don’t see Felix or Choice earning another contract after they finish their rookie contracts. Felix will be a free agent after the 2012 season, and Choice will be a free agent after the 2011 season. That being said, I still see both making the team for the 2011 season, but I’d say after that, we’ll probably see more changes for the backfield.
Jenkins had a good start his rookie season and his second season; however, last season was his worst. Jenkins couldn’t cover, couldnt make tackles, and wasn’t making any plays, it was bad. If Jenkins turns in another 2010 season, he’ll be gone after the 2011 season. Jenkins must have a return to his pro bowl season.
Like Choice, Bennett will be a free agent after the 2011 season. Bennett has been mediocre at best since being drafted, and looks more like a 2nd round bust as I predicted early on. If Garrett’s brother John Garrett hasn’t been able to get the best out of Bennett, then its evident this has been a miss on this selection. It was often speculated that if John Phillips hadn’t gotten injured last season Bennett would have tumbled down to the #3 TE, barely hanging on to a roster spot. The only thing that probably let’s Bennett finish out his rookie contract this season is his cap friendly $555,000 salary. Somehow, I think the late round pick of Shaun Chapas will have an impact between the TEs and FBs on the roster, and Bennett could ultimately be the odd man out.
Scandrick has also peaked as the team’s nickel corner, and that’s not a necessarily a bad thing. Scandrick has been solid since his rookie year, he makes the tackles, and he’s pretty scrappy. He’s peaked as the nickel back, but could a speculated move to free safety be in the cards? The idea was shot down last year, and Alan Ball was given the opportunity over Scandrick, and we know how that failed bigtime. We’ll see how this plays out. If Scandrick stays as our nickel back that’s perfectly fine, but if he moves to free safety, it could pay off.
Who could have guessed Walden would turn into a solid role player in the Packers defense. Good for him. He has something no one else on this team aspires to have – a Super Bowl ring! We missed on this and we’re still waiting for Spencer to be consistent.
So, after further review, and going by the 3 year rule, this draft class has peaked, and I’m not sure any of these guys get a second contract. Jenkins and Scandrick have the best chances to make some noise of defense and improve their chances, and everyone knows we need the defense to really bring the pressure this year.