Commentary

Character counts for Jason Garrett

With new coach in draft room, four of Cowboys' eight selections were team captains

Updated: May 2, 2011, 4:10 PM ET
By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Well before Jason Garrett became the Dallas Cowboys' head coach, he always talked about doing things the right way with the right kind of people.

Now that the first draft with Garrett as head coach and one of the main decision-makers is over, there is little doubt that character counted as the Cowboys assembled their draft board.

[+] EnlargeShaun Chapas
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesFullback Shaun Chapas, a seventh-round pick by the Cowboys, was elected to be a team captain by his teammates at Georgia.

"You want guys who love to play football and show you they do each and every day," Garrett said. "Passion, enthusiasm, emotion -- all of those things come into that. It's one thing to talk that, but you need to see that. I think if you look at these eight guys that we chose in this draft in the last three days, each of these guys have those traits."

Of the Cowboys' eight picks, four of the players were team captains: second-round linebacker Bruce Carter at North Carolina, fourth-round guard David Arkin at Missouri State, sixth-round wide receiver Dwayne Harris at East Carolina and seventh-round fullback Shaun Chapas at Georgia.

Two others -- third-round running back DeMarco Murray and fifth-round cornerback Josh Thomas -- served in those roles as game-day captains at Oklahoma and Buffalo.

"It's certainly not a prerequisite to say you have to be a captain," Garrett said, "but I think that has a lot to do with what we're talking about. These are the right kind of guys. They love it. At the college level, guys on their team look to them as leaders, and those are the kind of guys you want on your team."

The 2005 draft is considered one of the best the Cowboys have had in years. DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Kevin Burnett and Chris Canty were captains on their college teams.

Garrett acknowledged there can be the "wrong kinds of guys" too that can tear apart a team regardless of their talent.

"You know who those guys are," Garrett said. "The guys who don't love to play football. The guys who don't love to work. The guys who don't love to be around their teammates. The guys who don't love trying to be the best they can be."

Being the right kind of guy doesn't mean the Cowboys have the right kind of player. The success of the 2011 draft will be based on how they perform on the field.

"I don't think it ever hurts to be [a captain]," Chapas said. "Especially at Georgia, I think one of the cool things was the only reason I was one was because it was voted on by your teammates. I can definitely see how big of a role that can play, and I was fortunate that they saw that I had the ability to do that."

There was a time where the Cowboys did not have checks and balances on character near the top of their list when it came to draft evaluations. They paid for it in many cases.

"I think we've gotten better at it over the years, but I'll say this team is full of the right guys, starting down the list with the DeMarcus Wares, Jay Ratliffs, Miles Austins, Terence Newmans," executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "We've got good football players. Bradie James, Keith Brooking. We sign guys that are top quality, top notch football players. I don't want to leave anybody out, but that's the goal.

"We just want to keep staying with that and don't compromise that."

Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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