The Dallas Cowboys enjoyed a nice NFL Draft in 2008, with every player they drafted playing a decent role on the team with the exception of their final pick in the draft. That makes it a little more difficult to pull out one name from the list to call the best pick of the draft.
What I did to determine this was to use a process of elimination. The Cowboys had two first round picks, Felix Jones and Mike Jenkins. I eliminated Jones due to his propensity for injury getting in the way of his explosive talent. The fact that he is already losing his job to Demarco Murray also hurts his standing.
In the second round, Dallas chose Martellus Bennett, a tight end with a lot of talent but one that has already left the team to escape Jason Witten's large shadow. Tashard Choice was another nice pick but one who's fumbling problems led to his exit from the team. Orlando Scandrick is the one player from this class that already received a nice extension but he is a nickel back and not an every down player. Eric Walden is the man that didn't stick.
That makes Mike Jenkins my pick for the best player chosen by the Cowboys in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Jenkins has his detractors, much like Terence Newman did, for his lackluster play at times in the secondary. However, Jenkins has also been plagued by injuries over the last year and seems to be improving greatly. Coming out of South Florida, Jenkins was hyped as a shutdown corner but has not really proven that at the NFL level as of yet.
His second season was the best of his career as he finished with 49 tackles, five interceptions and 19 pass defenses. It looked like Dallas struck gold with the corner. However, in 2010, he imploded and became one of the most penalized corners in the NFL, a handicap that will kill a team since pass interference penalties are the most damaging of all.
However, in 2011, when he was not injured, he turned things around. He only finished with one pick and 23 tackles on the year but his penalties decreased to almost nothing and he stopped letting opposing wide receivers burn him. Whether it was a lack of opportunities as teams focused on Terence Newman or not, Jenkins had a better year.
He now enters the final year of his contract with the Cowboys and has a lot to prove. If he stays healthy and continues to improve as he did in 2011, Jenkins might be the shutdown corner Dallas hoped for when they drafted him.
Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000) and has been a Dallas Cowboys' fan since he was a child. His favorite players range from Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett to the Triplets of the 90s and he enjoys talking about all Cowboys' related news, good or bad
Other articles by Shawn S. Lealos:
- John Phillips: The Best Pick of Dallas Cowboys' 2009 NFL Draft: A Fan's Take
- Sean Lee: The Best Pick of Dallas Cowboys' 2010 NFL Draft: A Fan's Take
- DeMarco Murray: The Best Pick of Dallas Cowboys 2011 NFL Draft: A Fan's Take
- Will Terrell Owens Ever Get Over Dallas Cowboys' Release? a Fan's Take
- Can Felix Jones Co-Exist with DeMarco Murray in Dallas? a Fan's Take
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