Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has seemingly tried everything to get his team back to the Super Bowl since their last appearance 27 years ago. He has hung onto franchise greats too long, hired controversial coaches and gambled on volatile players. But, according to a recent report, Jones has now completely run out of ideas, a sentiment affirmed by the Cowboys’ latest draft selections.
The Cowboys selected running back Deuce Vaughn in the draft, leaving many experts puzzled. Vaughn, who measures 5 feet 5 inches and weighs in at 179 pounds, will have to compete against a league full of much larger players. The team also hinted at the possibility of reuniting with Ezekiel Elliott, their former star running back who was cut from the roster in March because of his high costs.
Nevertheless, Jones is not ruling out re-signing Elliott, saying “That ship hasn’t sailed; I haven’t ruled out Zeke”. If a potential reunion with Elliott does occur, it would also mark a return for the running back’s father, Chris Vaughn, who has been working as a scout for the Cowboys since 2017.
This sentimental approach to player acquisition has yet to win over the fans. The Cowboys have not won a Super Bowl since 1996, despite being a successful team in recent years with the most wins and Pro Bowl players over the last two regular seasons, as well as leading the league in defensive takeaways and offensive points. Last season, they even won a playoff game, knocking out legendary quarterback Tom Brady.
The Cowboys entered the draft with no glaring holes to fill on their roster, having made two bold offseason trades and resisted the temptation to sign Odell Beckham Jr. Despite this, their draft choices leave many experts believing that they have fallen behind their divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles went to the Super Bowl last year and, to the surprise of many, drafted three defensive players from the University of Georgia’s back-to-back national championship-winning team. They also brought in D’Andre Swift to be their new starting running back. In contrast, the Cowboys used their top two picks on players, defensive lineman Mazi Smith and tight end Luke Schoonmaker, from a University of Michigan team that lost in the semifinals.
Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has hinted that he believes Elliott’s departure was a mistake and that he could be the key to a potential Super Bowl run. “He’s the glue”, Aikman said, referring to his integral role in the Cowboys’ team chemistry.
It remains to be seen whether the Cowboys’ approach will pay off in the upcoming season, but one thing is for sure; Jones will need to do more than sentimental reunions and small-statured rookies to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Dallas.