50 Seasons Series
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Review each year in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, starting with the planning stages in 1959 and through the present day.
This blog has featured polls asking visitors to grade each of the Cowboys drafts (except for the collegiate draft of 1960 and the outstanding draft of 1964). Of the eight drafts that visitors graded, here were the three worst:
3rd worst: 1967. The selection of Rayfield Wright was not enough to save it from being one of the worst drafts of the decade.
2nd worst: 1963. The Cowboys hit on Lee Roy Jordan in 1963, but the other picks were duds.
Worst Draft of the 1960s: 1962. George Andrie was the highlight of the 1962 draft, which also featured a slew of players who never played for the Cowboys or who never played in the NFL.
We’ll begin with the 1970s tomorrow.
We’ve reached the end of the first decade of the Dallas Cowboys. Below are three polls. The first asks which win was the greatest in team history. The second asks which player was the greatest offensive player. And the third asks which player was the greatest defensive player.
If you are having trouble seeing the results after making your vote, visit here to see the spreadsheet.
The end of the Cowboys’ first decade as an NFL team should not have been this disasterous. In four seasons, the Cowboys managed a combined regular season record of 42-12-2, including the 11-2-1 record in 1969.
The team’s playoff record during that time: 1-4, not counting Playoff Bowl appearances. The fourth loss came on December 28, 1968 in a 38-14 drubbing at the hands of the Cleveland Browns.
Against the Browns, more than 69,000 fans watched Craig Morton struggle to complete a pass, leading those fans to call for Roger Staubach to come into the game. Morton completed only 8 of 24 for 92 yards and two interceptions. He threw a pick in the fourth quarter that was returned 88 yards for a touchdown by Walt Sumner, giving the Browns a 38-7 lead.
At the end of the game, the fans saw kicker Mike Clark completely miss the ball on an onside kick attempt after the Cowboys scored to make the final score 38-14.
[Incidentally, Clark is best known for (a) kicking the shortest field goal in Super Bowl history; and (b) missing the ball on a meaningless onside kick. Too bad for a player who lasted ten years in the league and made a Pro Bowl]
The Cowboys appeared in one more game following the 1969 season. On January 3, 1970, the Cowboys welcomed a new decade by suffering the first shutout in team history: a 31-0 loss to Los Angeles, which hardly resembled a game.
Good news item #1: Nobody really considered the Playoff Bowl to be a game that counted. When game is known as the Runnerup Bowl, Jam Bowl, and Loser Bowl, most would prefer to forget it.
Good news item #2: The Cowboys had a pretty good decade during the 1970s, to say the least.
This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.
Even with the departure of legends Don Meredith and Don Perkins, the 1969 Cowboys had so much talent that most predicted the Cowboys would run away with the Capital Division. Most of the optimism was due to the Dallas defense, which returned every major player.
From Sports Illustrated:
The Dallas Cowboys are the best team in football. They scout well, pick wisely, have one of the most intellectual coaches and field the finest 40 physical specimens you’ll ever lay eyes on.
Nonetheless, they may not win the most games. Sure, they’ll take the Capitol Division, but so would four other teams in the NFL. They can shrug off the loss of a top quarterback ( Don Meredith) and a fine fullback (Don Perkins). They will score freely and, on some Sundays, appear devastating. But they won’t go all the way.
“They are a gentlemanly team,” says one Eastern coach. “They don’t beat you up when you play them, and they have the people who could do it. They aren’t killers. If they ever develop a killer instinct, they’ll spread-eagle the league and destroy any AFL team unlucky enough to play them in the Super Bowl.”
The Cowboys’ good manners may stem from those of Tom Landry, their head coach. Landry is a quiet, handsome man, unfailingly polite and considerate and thoughtful. He is big, balding and impressive, and he could easily be the minister for a well-heeled Methodist church, adept at getting large contributions from wealthy parishioners without wheedling, renowned for his reasoned, low-key sermons, which painlessly uplift. But he hasn’t forged the intense, Lombardian desire which animates pro football dynasties. This year the Cowboys finally decided they hadn’t been mean enough and told Landry to run a tough camp; but it’s better if the tone is set by the tamer rather than the lions.
Those gentlemanly Cowboys had a very new cast on offense to begin the 1969 season against the Cardinals. Early season injuries to quarterback Craig Morton and Bob Hayes, along with the departure of Perkins, led Dallas to a very different starting lineup: QB Roger Staubach, HB Calvin Hill, FB Walt Garrison, WR Lance Rentzel, WR Dennis Homan, TE Pettis Norman. Another new face in the Dallas attack was tight end Mike Ditka, who was acquired from Philadelphia in the offseason.
1969 Regular Season
For the second consecutive season, the Cowboys jumped out to a 6-0 record. The Cowboys wrapped up the Capital Division title by early December and won their final three games to finish at 11-2-1.
Week 1: Dallas 24, St. Louis 3
Roger Staubach started his first official game as a professional, and in the first quarter of that game, he threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Lance Rentzel. Staubach added a touchdown run, and rookie Calvin Hill also threw a touchdown pass to Rentzel. The Dallas defense dominated, giving the Cowboys their fifth straight opening day win.
Week 2: Dallas 21, New Orleans 17
Hill led the Cowboys by rushing for 138 yards on 23 carries. His fourth quarter touchdown gave Dallas the 21-17 win.
Week 3: Dallas 38, Philadelphia 7
Two touchdowns by Rentzel, along with scores by Hill and Dan Reeves, gave Dallas a 28-7 halftime lead. The Cowboys put up 526 total yards of offense in the blowout win.
Week 4: Dallas 24, Atlanta 17
The Cowboys saw their 17-3 halftime lead nearly evaporate at Atlanta, but the Cowboys were able to hang on for the win. Dallas recovered an onside kick attempt in the final minute to seal the win.
Week 5: Dallas 49, Philadelphia 14
Craig Morton joined the five-touchdown club in the first half in leading Dallas to a 49-14 blowout of the Eagles. Lance Rentzel scored three of those touchdowns as the Cowboys took a 42-14 at intermission. Bob Lilly scored the third touchdown of his career on a fumble recovery for a score.
Bob Hayes returned to action and scored on a 67-yard touchdown catch and run.
The Dallas offense had trouble getting going against the Giants, but the Dallas defense held New York without a touchdown. The Cowboys put together 19 fourth quarter points, though, to pull away. George Andrie (with the help of Larry Cole) gave Dallas a safety by sacking Fran Tarkenton in the end zone. It was one of ten Dallas sacks (then called traps).
The Cowboys’ struggles against the Browns continued, as Dallas lost the first game of the 1969 season in a blowout. Cleveland ran out to a 28-3 halftime lead in a game that featured little competition.
Week 8: Dallas 33, New Orleans 17
The Cowboys and Saints were tied at 17 heading into the final quarter, but the Dallas offense came through. Touchdowns by Dan Reeves and Mike Ditka, along with a Mike Clark field goal, gave Dallas a 33-17 win. Calvin Hill gained 109 yards on only 13 carries.
Week 9: Dallas 41, Washington 28
Calvin Hill set a team mark by rushing for 150 yards on 27 carries to led Dallas to a 41-28 win over Washington. The win gave Dallas (8-1) a commanding lead over the Redskins (4-3-2) in the Capital Division.
Week 10: Los Angeles 24, Dallas 23
The Cowboys had to play without Calvin Hill, Ralph Neely and
Jethro Pugh against the Rams. Dallas played catchup for most of the game, and though Dallas had a chance at the end, a late interception iced the game for Los Angeles.
Week 11: Dallas 24, San Francisco 24
The last time that the Cowboys finished a game with a tie was against the 49ers in 1969. Dallas had a shot at the end of the game to kick a game-winning field goal, but San Francisco’s Charlie Krueger blocked a kick with seconds left. The tie gave Dallas an 8-2-1 record compared with Washington’s 5-3-2 mark.
Week 12: Dallas 10, Pittsburgh 7
The Cowboys held the Steelers scoreless until the fourth quarter, but the Cowboys had to hang on for a 10-7 win. Dallas turned the ball over three times in the rain, and Craig Morton only managed 124 yards passing. Nevertheless, the win was enough to clinch the Capital Division.
Week 13: Dallas 27, Baltimore 10
Craig Morton outperformed Johnny Unitas in a 27-10 win by Dallas over Baltimore. Unitas had trouble finding his mark and threw four interceptions. Morton threw for 289 yards on only 12 completions, including touchdown passes to Lance Rentzel and Pettis Norman. The win marked the first time the Cowboys had ever beaten the Colts.
Week 14: Dallas 20, Washington 10
It was fitting that Vince Lombardi’s final NFL game came against Tom Landry’s Cowboys. With nothing left to play for, Dallas put together a solid performance, holding Sonny Jurgensen without a touchdown pass.
Capital W L T PF PA
Dallas Cowboys 11 2 1 369 223
Washington Redskins 7 5 2 307 319
New Orleans Saints 5 9 0 311 393
Philadelphia Eagles 4 9 1 279 377
Century W L T PF PA
Cleveland Browns 10 3 1 351 300
New York Giants 6 8 0 264 298
St. Louis Cardinals 4 9 1 314 389
Pittsburgh Steelers 1 13 0 218 404
Coastal W L T PF PA
Los Angeles Rams 11 3 0 320 243
Baltimore Colts 8 5 1 279 268
Atlanta Falcons 6 8 0 276 268
San Francisco 49ers 4 8 2 277 319
Central W L T PF PA
Minnesota Vikings 12 2 0 379 133
Detroit Lions 9 4 1 259 188
Green Bay Packers 8 6 0 269 221
Chicago Bears 1 13 0 210 339
Los Angeles at Minnesota, December 27, 1969
Cleveland at Dallas, December 28, 1969
Box Scores and Stats, 1969 Dallas Cowboys (Pro Football Reference)
Stories (Dallas Morning News)
When anyone mentions the innovative drafting methods of former head scout Gil Brandt, the draft pick that is often mentioned first is the selection of running back Calvin Hill. Hill’s selection was the result of computer calculations, but those calculations offered little condolence to ticked off Cowboys fans. The fans’ beef? Hill attended Yale, which wasn’t exactly known for its football.
Hill’s selection paid off immediately. Hill was named AP Rookie of the Year in 1969 after rushing for 942 yards and eight touchdowns. A big, bruising back, he was a great replacement for Don Perkins.
If Dallas fans should have been incensed about anything, it was the rest of the 1969 draft. Of 17 picks, 10 never played in the NFL. Another of the picks, Bob Belden, never played a down with the Cowboys. None of the other five lasted longer than three years in Dallas.
|1||Calvin Hill||RB||Yale||Dallas, 1969-1974;
Washington, 1976-1977; Cleveland, 1978-1981.
|2||Richmond Flowers||WR||Tennessee||Dallas, 1969-1971; New York
|3||Thomas Stincic||LB||Michigan||Dallas, 1969-1971; New
|3||Halvor Hagan||G||Weber State||Halvor Hagen, 1969-1970.
New England, 1971-1972; Buffalo, 1973-1975.
|6||Rick Shaw||FL||Arizona State|
|7||Larry Bales||FL||Emory & Henry|
|9||Claxton Welch||RB||Oregon||Dallas, 1969-1970, 1971;
New Orleans, 1970; New England, 1973.
|10||Stuart Gottlieb||T||Weber State|
|11||Sweeny Williams||DE||Prairie View||Green Bay, 1970-1977.|
|12||Bob Belden||QB||Notre Dame||Dallas, 1969-1970|
|13||Rene Matison||FL||New Mexico|
|14||Gerald Lutri||T||Northern Michigan|
|16||Floyd Kerr||DB||Colorado State|
|17||Bill Bailey||DT||Lewis & Clark|
Grade the 1969 Draft
Grade the 1969 draft for the Dallas Cowboys by using the form below or by visiting Zoho Polls.
My grade: C-. Hill was a great pick, but an injury caused him to lose his starting position a year later to a new rookie named Duane Thomas. Although Hill eventually became the first back to reach 1,000 yards in a season, his career as a whole in Dallas was not what it could have been.
The others were hardly worth mentioning. Richmond Flowers was the son of former Alabama Attorney General Richmond Flowers, Sr., who was convicted in 1969 of extortion before being pardoned by President Jimmy Carter. ESPN ran a piece on Flowers, Jr.– the “Fastest White Boy Alive” Richmond Flowers III was a receiver who tried out with the Cowboys in 2002.
This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.
If the loss of the franchise’s leading quarterback during the summer of 1969 wasn’t difficult enough, the Cowboys had to endure the loss of its all-time leading rusher, Don Perkins.
Perkins called it quits as training camp opened in July 1969. His reason for leaving the game was that he could no longer take the physical punishment. At 5’10”, 204 pounds, he played fullback throughout most of his career.
Although his 6,217 rushing yards only rank 62nd in league history, he had outstanding numbers for his day. At the time of his retirement, Perkins ranked fifth on the all-time rushing list:
1. Jim Brown, 12,312 (1957-1965)
2. Joe Perry, 9,723 (1948-1963)
3. Jim Taylor, 8,597 (1958-1967)
4. John Henry Johnson, 6,803 (1954-1966)
5. Don Perkins, 6,217 (1961-1968)
Career Stats (Pro Football Reference)
Ring of Honor Entry (DallasCowboys.com)
(If the indignity of being booed and harassed otherwise was not enough for Don Meredith, the picture above from Life Magazine in 1968 probably was enough.)
After Dallas lost to Cleveland in the 1968 playoffs, Meredith played two more games. The first was the Playoff Bowl, in which Dallas beat Minnesota 17-13 on January 5, 1969. The second was the Pro Bowl that was played on January 19. Meredith started the game ahead of New York’s Fran Tarkenton. The Pro Bowl was the last game Meredith ever played.
In April 1969, the Cowboys announced that former Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach would join the Cowboys since his commitment to the Navy was up.
Three months later, Staubach was reportedly “floored” when Meredith announced that he would retire from football at the age of 30. He retired with a record of 48-33-4, which was remarkable given that he played many of his games when the Dallas franchise was still in its infancy. His 17,199 passing yards rank fourth on the team’s all-time last, as do his 135 touchdown passes.
Meredith had been the subject of retirement rumors in both 1967 and 1968, so the news during the summer of 1969 was not a complete surprise. The timing of the announcement was, however, given that the team’s training camp was schedule to open less than two weeks later.
The Dallas Morning News description of Meredith at the time of his retirement: “Jaunty, Courageous, Frustrating.” Nevertheless,
[i]t would be hard for anyone – even the boo-birds whose harsh catcalls were to gnaw at Don Meredith’s soul on many a restless, sleepless night – to put aside all nostaltia when the Cowboy quarterback announced his retirement . . . .
Meredith’s comment when he retired:
I thought I would start off by telling you I had bought a one-third interest in a New York bar, but I decided to play it straight.
This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.
Fans of the 2007 Dallas Cowboys can certainly relate to fans of the 1968 Cowboys. In 2007, Dallas overcame years of mediocrity and playoff disappointment to post a 13-3 record, including two wins over the New York Giants. The curtain fell shut suddenly, however, when the Giants upset the Cowboys in the divisional round of the playoffs.
In ’68, the Cowboys rebounded from two heartbreaking losses to the Packers by posting a 12-2 record in one of the finest regular season in team history. The Cowboys beat the Browns early in the 1968 season and won their final five games heading into the playoffs. Most expected the big matchup in the NFL that season to be between Dallas and Baltimore, but it never happened.
From Bob St. John:
The Dallas Cowboys were reincarnated as the Ancient Mariner
here on a cold, bleak Saturday afternoon with 81,496 fans watching in
person and the world looking on through the miracle they call television.
Dallas was a Greek Tragedy. The Cowboys had hoped to take that final
step to the NFL championship and had worked toward that goal since
mid-July. But, actually, Tom Landry’s club took a step backward as
Cleveland won the Eastern Conference title, 31 20. Probably, it was
worse than the score indicated.
Against the Browns, the Cowboys took a 10-3 lead thanks to a Chuck Howley fumble return and a field goal by Mike Clark. Cleveland showed its big-play ability by tying the game at 10 on a 45-yard pass from Bill Nelson to running back Leroy Kelly.
What killed the Cowboys were two Don Meredith interceptions early in the second half. One was returned for a touchdown. The other set up a Kelly touchdown run. With the score 24-10, Tom Landry turned to Craig Morton, who was unable to spark a comeback.
Don Meredith’s career was over, save an appearance in the Playoff Bowl. Running back Don Perkins finished the game with 51 rushing yards in his final game that counted.
Cowboys Blow Their Thing, 31-20 (Dallas Morning News)
Box Score (Pro-Football-Reference)
During the 1968 season, writer Steve Perkins of the Dallas Times Herald followed the Dallas Cowboys, who were trying to shake off the effects of losses in the 1966 and 1967 NFL championship games. The Cowboys’ season-ending loss to Cleveland led Perkins to title the book, Next Year’s Champions. This label stuck with the Cowboys for three more years.
The loss to the Browns was a bad ending to a great year. Dallas finished the season at 12-2, which remains tied (1977) for the best winning percentage in a season in team history. The season featured a game where Dallas set a record for points scored in a game, and the team finished the season ranked first in both yards and points scored.
Week 1: Dallas 59, Detroit 13
The Cowboys exploded for 59 points in the first week of the 1968 season. Five different Cowboys scored touchdowns on offense (Bob Hayes, Dan Reeves, Craig Baynham, Walt Garrison, and Dennis Homan), while linebacker Chuck Howley scored on a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown, shown below.
Week 2: Dallas 28, Cleveland 7
For the second consecutive season, the Cowboys prevailed in an early-season matchup with the Browns. Defensive lineman Willie Townes returned a fumble for a touchdown in the first half, and two Dan Reeves scores in the second half put the game away for the Cowboys. Cleveland managed only 250 yards in total offense against the Doomsday Defense.
Week 3: Dallas 45, Philadelphia 13
The Cowboys put up 31 unanswered points in the second half to beat the Eagles, 45-13, in week 3. Don Meredith threw five touchdown passes in the win, which featured seven turnovers by Philadelphia.
If you love sportswriting from the 1960s, here is a good sample from Bob St. John:
Philadelphia has worshiped the weird – the Cowboys have played the
straight man. This time the Eagles’ idol turned into a clay god. The
Cowboys wouldn’t be swayed by nonsense and simply splattered the Eagles,
45-13 . . . .
Week 4: Dallas 27, St. Louis 10
Dallas scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to pull away from the Cardinals. Newly acquired kicker Mike Clark booted a 50-yard field goal to break a 10-10 tie in the third quarter, and scores by Les Shy and Don Meredith iced the game for Dallas. The win was a costly one, as the team lost Dan Reeves for the season with a knee injury.
For the second time in three weeks, Dallas handled the Eagles. The Cowboys raced out to a 14-0 first half lead and never looked back. The game featured a 15-yard touchdown pass from Meredith to Rayfield Wright, marking Wright’s only NFL touchdown.
Week 6: Dallas 20, Minnesota 7
The Cowboys had trouble putting the Vikings away until Cornell Green intercepted a pass by Joe Kapp and returned the ball 55 yard for a touchdown. The win gave the Cowboys a 6-0 record and a two-game lead over the Giants in the Capital Division.
Week 7: Green Bay 28, Dallas 17
Although the Packers struggled in the 1968 season, Green Bay overcame a 10-point deficit to beat the Cowboys 28-17 in week 7. Bart Starr threw four touchdown passes in the win. Up until that point, the Cowboys had never beaten the Packers, and the two teams would not meet again until 1970.
Week 8: Dallas 17, New Orleans 3
Two touchdowns from Meredith to Bob Hayes were enough to give Dallas a 17-3 win over New Orleans. Hayes finished with 108 yards on six receptions.
Week 9: New York Giants 27, Dallas 21
The Cowboys’ lead in the Capital fell to one game with a loss to the Giants in week 9. Dallas overcame an early 14-0 Giant lead to tie the game at the half. The teams were tied at 21 heading into the fourth quarter, but two field goals by Pete Gogolak gave New York the win.
Week 10: Dallas 44, Washington 24
The Cowboys rebounded from the loss to New York by demolishing the Redskins, 44-24. Dallas led by only three points at the half but outscored Washington 31-14 in the second. Bob Hayes had another 100-yard receiving game, while Lance Rentzel scored two touchdowns. Rookie defensive end Larry Cole scored the first of four career touchdowns by returning a fumble 21 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.
Week 11: Dallas 34, Chicago 3
The Cowboys met the Bears in week 11 for the first time since 1964. The Cowboys made themselves feel at home at Soldier Field by putting up 24 first half points en route to a 34-3 win. Walt Garrison scored twice in the win.
Week 12: Dallas 29, Washington 20
The Cowboys did not have to face Sonny Jurgensen in week 12, but backup Jim Ninowski gave the Cowboys plenty of problems. Ninowski’s third touchdown pass of the day in the fourth quarter gave the Redskins a 20-19 lead. However, a Mike Clark field goal and an interception return for at touchdown by Larry Cole gave Dallas a nine-point win. With a 10-2 record, Dallas wrapped up the Capital Division title for the second consecutive year.
Week 13: Dallas 28, Pittsburgh 7
Bob Hayes scored on a 90-yard punt return and on a 53-yard pass from Don Meredith to help Dallas to a 28-7 win over the Steelers.
Week 14: Dallas 28, New York Giants 10
With nothing to play for, the Cowboys avenged their loss to the Giants by beating New York in the season finale. Bob Hayes scored twice (punt return, reception), and Lance Rentzel gained 130 yards on seven receptions.
Dallas won the Capital Division, setting up a divisional round matchup with Cleveland in the 1968 playoffs. Here were the final standings.
Capital W L T PF PA
Dallas Cowboys 12 2 0 431 186
New York Giants 7 7 0 294 325
Washington Redskins 5 9 0 249 358
Philadelphia Eagles 2 12 0 202 351
Century W L T PF PA
Cleveland Browns 10 4 0 394 273
St. Louis Cardinals 9 4 1 325 289
New Orleans Saints 4 9 1 246 327
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 11 1 244 397
Coastal W L T PF PA
Baltimore Colts 13 1 0 402 144
Los Angeles Rams 10 3 1 312 200
San Francisco 49ers 7 6 1 303 310
Atlanta Falcons 2 12 0 170 389
Central W L T PF PA
Minnesota Vikings 8 6 0 282 242
Chicago Bears 7 7 0 250 333
Green Bay Packers 6 7 1 281 227
Detroit Lions 4 8 2 207 241
Dallas at Cleveland, December 21, 1968
Minnesota at Baltimore, December 22, 1968
In addition to the departure of Meredith and Perkins, two other Cowboys bowed out of the spotlight to an extent.
Dan Reeves, who had shown so much talent in the backfield, tore up his knee early in the 1968 season and was never the same afterward.
Bob Hayes remained a starter after 1968, but he never again had more than 900 yards receiving after 1968, nor did he ever catch more than 50 passes in a season after that year.
What did not change for the Cowboys was the defense that had improved every season. The team lost defensive end Willie Townes to injury, but Dallas found in the 16th round of the draft a defensive end who would remain with the team for more than a decade.
The Cowboys had picks in each round of the 1968 draft. The first four picks in 1968 were less than impressive, but the Cowboys more than made up those selections.
|1||Dennis Homan||WR||Alabama||Dallas, 1968-1970; Kansas
|2||Dave McDaniels||WR||Miss. Valley State||Dallas, 1968|
|3||Ed Harmon||LB||Louisville||Cincinnati, 1969|
|4||John Douglas||LB||Missouri||New York Giants, 1970-1973|
|5||Blaine Nye||G||Stanford||Dallas, 1968-1976|
|6||D.D. Lewis||LB||Mississippi State||Dallas, 1968-1981|
|8||Frank Brown||DT||Albany State||n/a|
|12||Wilson Whitty||LB||Boston University||n/a|
|14||Ron Williams||DB||West Virginia||n/a|
|16||Larry Cole||DE||Hawaii||Dallas, 1968-1980|
First-round pick Dennis Homan did not have much of an NFL career, catching a total of 37 passes in five seasons. Homan caught a touchdown pass in his very first NFL game in 1968 but then never caught a touchdown pass with the Cowboys again. He had much better luck with Birmingham franchises of the World Football League.
Blaine Nye, D.D. Lewis, and Larry Cole were outstanding picks, putting in a combined 36 seasons with the Cowboys.
Grade the 1968 Draft
Select your grade for the 1968 draft by using the form below or by visiting Zoho polls.
My Grade: B+
Although the Cowboys missed on their first four picks, the team picked up a starting offensive lineman along with two key role players on defense. I did not give this draft a grade in the A range because there were so many misses– ten players never played a down in the NFL.