Dallas' problems start at the draft

Dallas has made some great picks over the years, but it has ignored the offensive line

Originally Published: October 29, 2010
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesThe Dallas offensive line now will be "protecting" Jon Kitna.

Every Friday, Mel takes a look at the NFL through the prism of the draft.

Tony Romo's season may have come to an end on Monday. A crushing hit from Giants linebacker Michael Boley left Romo with a broken clavicle in his left shoulder and the team in disarray. At 1-5, there's no reason to rush back a franchise quarterback. And in the wake of the hit, blame was handed out immediately.

First to take some media shrapnel was undrafted free-agent fullback Chris Gronkowski, who'd left the backfield on a short dump-off pattern, leaving Romo vulnerable to the blitzing Boley. Ironically, Gronkowski is one of the better value pickups Dallas has had, particularly when it involves protection.

Boley didn't just bypass the rookie -- he was also blitzing through a patchwork offensive line further depleted by the absence of Kyle Kosier. And it was a mess even when the season started. So before people continue to tear down Gronkowski -- or anyone else -- consider another culprit: the draft.

Consider the facts:

    • Since 2004, the "best" offensive lineman Dallas has drafted is Doug Free, a fourth-rounder in 2007.

    Mel Kiper Jr.

    Football analyst