“And with the 24th pick of the first round the Dallas Cowboys select… Slow-y McPersonal-Baggage… excuse me, I believe I may have read that incorrectly. I meant to say Dez Bryant.”
While those weren’t exactly the words NFL commissioner Roger Goodell uttered into the microphone, I believe they might as well have been. The Dallas Cowboys traded up to get the embattled former Oklahoma State wide receiver, but the move may have been more about making a splash than anything else. The simple fact that he is a Jerry Jones era acquisition makes me question Bryant’s potential. Additionally, Dez Bryant’s physical game is far from being the complete package as he lacks experience playing in a pro-style offense. Add to that the fact that he comes to Big D with more drama than a Jersey Shore marathon, and we are talking about a potential bust bigger than a Dolly Parton statue the size of Mount Rushmore.
In 2008, Dez Bryant proved that he was a talented receiver racking up 1,480 yards and 19 TDs, but that was then, and this is now. Bryant sat out most of last season with a suspension. A year off can put some rust on the machinery, and his game was far from flawless to begin with. In spite of Dez Bryant’s obviously gifted hands and his nose for the end zone, he lacks serious speed. Scouting reports have criticized Bryant’s lack of burst and deep speed. The NFL is all about speed. It is often said that the NFL is a much faster paced game than college football. I question the ability of Bryant to make the jump to the NFL as a result. On top of that, he has suspect route running. Dez Bryant did not play in a pro style offense in college. All of this means his rookie season will consist of him adjusting to the speed of the game, a different offense, a new playbook, and he will no longer be a big fish in a small pond – even more reason he looks like he will bust as quickly as a dollar store water balloon.
Dallas’ selection of Bryant can be described as a desperate reach at best. Jerry Jones can deny it all he wants, but the Dez Bryant pick was an attempt to make up for passing on Randy Moss. Unfortunately for Jones, until they build a time machine (which undoubtedly he would purchase and hang too low over the playing field at Dallas’ new stadium) he can never undo what was done. Instead his meddling seems to be making it worse. He has chalked up mistake after mistake with his pass catching personnel decisions (i.e. passing on Moss, bringing TO in, letting TO go, and trading for Roy Williams), but this one may take the cake. In an NFL that is increasingly airing things out, teams are feasting on a boomer crop of talent. Teams are signing and trading for difference making wide receivers at will, but Jones still attempted to fulfill Dallas’ need through the draft. While it is easy to say that drafting and developing a wide receiver is cheaper than over paying for an established talent, Big D has the money to do exactly that. At least you know what you are getting at the professional level instead of putting all your eggs in the basket of a player who sat out most of last season. Jones and company are also ignoring the fact that rookie wide receivers face an incredible learning curve in the NFL. This may make things harder on Bryant who will be saddled with huge expectations to perform immediately under the big bright lights in the Lone Star State. Maybe Jerry Jones does believe in him or maybe he just drank too much of Kiper Kool-Aid, but I simply do not believe in the upside of Dez Bryant.
But probably the biggest reason of all Dez Bryant will be a bust is his dramatic antics. Normally one might expect Babe Ruthless to love a notorious figure like Bryant simply because he is so controversial, but there is a big difference between Bryant and other dramatic players that have earned my respect. The difference is proven talent at the professional level. Players like Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinqo can be as crazy as they want and show it on the field and off, but they have earned the right to do so by proving they are better than average. Bryant hasn’t done that, yet more drama surrounds him than a high school cheerleader. These days Bryant is getting more press coverage than Tim Tebow because of Momma-Gate 2010. Stories about Bryant being asked about whether his mother was a prostitute have flooded sports media outlets. While admittedly he is not at fault for creating this commotion, he has not really tried to put an end to it either. Why? Because he’s dramatic. Just look at the whole Neon Deon fiasco. If he had been truthful and followed the rules he might have gotten another shot at winning the Heisman and improving his draft status. Instead the public is subjected to his protest about fairness. And this is the future of the Cowboys? I do not think so. This guy is draft joke fodder of Tim Couch and Akili Smith proportions. He is a mistake and will prove it to the world soon enough.