2009 draft hurt Cowboys in 2012

February, 18, 2013
2/18/13
2:00
PM ET
Former Dallas Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus, who is now working for the team's website as an analyst, made a great point the other day on KRLD-FM about how the Cowboys screwed up a trade from the 2009 draft.

If you don't remember, the Cowboys traded their second-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for a third and fourth rounder. So that's the 51st overall selection gone.

The Cowboys made the move when guard Max Unger was taken 49th overall by the Seattle Seahawks. According to Broaddus, the Cowboys had a first-round grade on Unger and wanted to get him. When Unger was off the board, the Cowboys made the trade. However, the team had a first-round grade on running back LeSean McCoy, according to Broaddus. McCoy went to Philadelphia at the 53rd overall pick. So who did the Bills select at 51? Guard Andy Levitre.

Bypassing McCoy wasn't the end of the world because at that time the Cowboys had Marion Barber and Felix Jones as their main running backs, but leaving talented players such as Levitre, tackle Phil Loadholt, defensive end Paul Kruger and tackle Will Beatty on the board hurt. Flozell Adams was past his prime and upgrading the tackle position should have been a priority if the team lost out on Unger. McCoy is an outstanding player and he would have made an impact as well by challenging Jones and Barber at running back.

So when the Cowboys finally drafted in 2009, they selected Western Illinois' linebacker Jason Williams who never made an impact. So, what did the Cowboys do with the two picks from the Bills? Tackle Robert Brewster (75th overall) and Victor Butler (110 overall) were drafted. Brewster never played and Butler was inconsistent during his time with the Cowboys and is now a unrestricted free agent.

When the Cowboys dealt with health issues at linebacker and defensive back in 2012, the backups were street free agents instead of draft picks who could have produced.

The Cowboys selected four linebackers in 2009, including TCU's Stephen Hodge, who was coming off major knee surgery and never played a game. There were three defensive backs selected as well and only safety Michael Hamlin made the team after he was drafted.

But the core special teams players from that 2009 draft didn't make an impact and weren't around to play a reserve role on defense.

The Cowboys improved from that terrible draft class with solid picks in 2010 (Dez Bryant, Sean Lee), 2011 (Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray and Dwayne Harris) and 2012 (Morris Claiborne, James Hanna and Tyrone Crawford).

When it's time for the Cowboys to pick up the phone and call New York with their draft selection, they can't mess up like they did in 2009 because that draft haunted them in 2012.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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