First, a disclaimer: I have never met Dez Bryant, and I don't know that he is a high maintenance player. I remember hearing that Nick Van Exel was a bad guy before he was brought here and then when he was here he was nothing but a great mate and a competitor who would not lose without a fight.
If there is one thing I have learned in 12 years in Dallas it is to be careful not to judge a book by its cover. Some guys are not problems like they are advertised as, and others are said to be good dudes who turn out to be very poor in Dallas.
You just never know. Every situation is different.
But, when people want to know what I think about the Dez Bryant pick last night, here is my take.
A) - It is so Jerry. Fall in love with a talent. Sometimes this guy is a regional talent. Maybe one who has ties to former Cowboys. Maybe one who has some warts that other teams won't touch. Talk himself into the idea of the talent being too good to pass up. Waiting and then pouncing. Sometimes it works (Felix Jones), and sometimes it is Terrell Owens or Roy Williams or Quincy Carter or Alonzo Spellman or Antonio Bryant or Mario Edwards.
B) - Beyond that, Dez is an amazing talent. Whether he is coachable remains to be seen - is he already convinced he is the greatest talent since sliced bread? Or is he ready to be taught? But, there is no denying his electricity. There is no way to make a case that this doesn't make the Cowboys way more difficult to defend. Remember the theory that with Owens, Roy Williams, and Jason Witten in 2008 that you cannot double team everyone? Well, with Miles Austin, Bryant, Witten, and anyone, that should really be true.
C) - This is not pick #6 or Pick #11. At that point, the money is very high and the risk is great. But at #24, you can make the case that there is really too much upside to pass. #24 is far south of where the Cowboys took Bobby Carpenter and Marcus Spears. #24 is a safe place to take a chance. I assume that unlike Michael Crabtree of Deion and Eugene Parker fame, Dez is cool with the money that #24 is to get - not some delusional idea that since he is a "Top 10 talent" he should get a "Top 10 deal". That may be a poor assumption, but let's see if he can get to camp on time.
D) - But, here is my real issue. And it has very little to do with Dez Bryant and cleats and NCAA suspensions. The Cowboys are not a great place for divas. Allow me to take you back to the final game of the 2008 season and what I wrote the next morning after a 44-6 embarrassment in Philadelphia :
I certainly don’t want to be the old man here, especially if the “young man” needing the lecture is Jerry Jones, but what kind of team has been built? What kind of selfish, narcissistic, ego maniacs have you assembled here? This season has revealed so much. It has shown that when adversity hits, this team reveals its character. And while a large portion of the team may have the “good” kind of character, there is a faction that certainly seems to lack it. That faction affects everything. It undermines leadership, it teaches the kids how to conduct themselves, and when things go poorly, they are the first to turn knives on the team. As they say, this team is not a team of character. It is a team of characters.
So, now you combine a team of characters – many who have already been promised their money - with a coaching staff that seems to command almost no respect from those that would undermine them, and you have what you have right now…a pile of rubble.
After that game and season, Jerry found his brain and dismissed many of the knuckleheads (Tank, PacMan, and Terrell) who refused to get in line and respect their superiors. By the way, it is worth noting that 2 of those 3 are known friends of "Deion/Michael Incorporated".
I preferred that Jerry just hired a coach who demanded respect and didn't take any garbage, but he decided to not change the power structure, but be mindful of the type of player that operates well in a place where you do not have a coach in your face yelling at you.
So, forgive those of us who remember 44-6, and recoil when the Cowboys forget their past and hop back in bed with those who are said to be high maintenance and require babysitters. Bryant may in fact be misunderstood. He may be no trouble ever. But, you must forgive me if I am suspicious about whether Jerry just let another clown back into this circus.
So, what do I think about the pick?
I think I like it. I preferred Devin McCourty, but honestly, there is no denying that this is the best football player that you can get at that spot. Jerry loves to gamble, and he has won his share of hands.
Let's hope this is another one for the win column.