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Drafting A D-Ware: Buyer Beware

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UCLA LB Anthony Barr has potential but will need time to develop and get stronger (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

UCLA LB Anthony Barr has potential but will need time to develop and get stronger (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the biggest misconceptions about the NFL Draft is that you can satisfy your team needs with rookie draft picks.

Good luck with that.

The NFL is tough. Even aside from the football part of it, the transition to life in this league is difficult for 20 to 23 year olds.

It’s much like college. Most of these draft prospects needed at least a full year on a college campus before they started making an impact on the football field.

This is why I believe teams need to have the big picture in my mind come draft day. Much like in college recruiting, NFL teams should be drafting the best players who fill their needs for the next four years, not just this year.

Only in rare cases do teams get significant contributions from rookies. And, it’s an even tougher transition for “edge players” on defense…cornerbacks and pass rushers.

And that brings us to the Cowboys current dilemma. They are trying to find DeMarcus Ware’s replacement in this draft.

The consensus top two edge rushers, Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack, will be long gone when Dallas is on the clock at 16 in the first round.

After Clowney and Mack, there is a huge drop off. UCLA’s Anthony Barr has potential but will need time to develop and get stronger. In all likelihood, his rookie season will be much like those of countless other rookie edge rushers before.

In fact, out of the approximately 35 edge rushers (4-3 DEs and 3-4 OLBs) drafted last year, only three of them accounted for more than 2 1/2 sacks in 2013.

Detroit’s Ezekiel Ansah, the 5th pick of the draft, led the way with 8 sacks. Cleveland’s Barkevious Mingo, the 6th pick, had 5 sacks. Oakland OLB Sio Moore, a 3rd rounder, had 4 1/2 sacks.

That’s it. Only 3 out of 35 edge rushers made anywhere near a quality impact their first year in the league. Only 9 of them came up with at least 2 sacks.

Miami’s Dion Jordan, the 3rd pick in the draft, had just 26 tackles and 2 sacks. First rounder Bjorn Werner, #24 to Indy, had 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Rookie Rushers

Team/Round

Sacks

Ezekiel Ansah

DET/1st (5)

8

Barkevious Mingo

CLE/1st (6)

5

Sio Moore

OAK/3rd (66)

4.5

Bjorn Werner

IND/1st (24)

2.5

Devin Taylor

DET/4th (132)

2.5

Dion Jordan

MIA/1st (3)

2

William Gholston

TB/4th (126)

2

Armonty Bryant

CLE/7th (217)

2

Michael Buchanan

NE/7th (226)

2

Wes Horton

CAR/FA

2

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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