Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gholson: Shipley could shine for Cowboys

By Nick Gholson
Posted January 31, 2010 at 12:48 a.m.

Jerry Jones might not want to take another gamble on a Texas wide receiver.

After all, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys has been burnt twice by burnt orange guys.

The team spent a fourth-round draft pick on Wayne McGarity in 1999. He played three forgetful seasons in Dallas and caught one touchdown pass.

And then of course, there is the current Roy Williams mess.

We all know that story.

The Cowboys gave the Lions a first-round draft pick and more for the former Longhorn star.

That pick could have been Percy Harvin — whom the Vikings drafted two spots later.

While Roy Williams was disappointing everyone in Dallas, Harvin had 2,081 all-purpose yards in his rookie season in Minnesota. He caught 60 passes for 790 yards and eight touchdowns.

We all know that the NFL Draft is a crap shoot.

Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell go in the first round. Joe Montana and Tom Brady aren’t picked until the third and sixth, respectively.

But every once in awhile, a guy shows up that you just really want on your roster. I think Jordan Shipley is one of those guys.

His size — 6-foot, 190 — will scare off most first-round shoppers.

The draft experts don’t consider him to be any team’s No. 1 receiver.

Right now they have Shipley pegged as a slot receiver worthy of teams inneed to be looking at in the third and fourth rounds.

One draft scouting service has him ranked No. 6 among the 354 wide receivers evaluated.

Most, however, have him 10 or lower.

Those same draft experts didn’t even have Wes Welker on their boards back in 2004.

Welker was considered too small (5-9, 185) and too slow (4.6) to play in the NFL.

He proved everybody wrong.

Shipley is often compared to Welker, but mainly I think because they are both white wide receivers, a rarity in pro football today.

Their main similarity is not skin pigmentation.

It’s heart and smarts.

They are guys we simply call “football players.”

They play hard every play every day. And they are students of the game, always striving to get better.

The biggest difference between Shipley and Welker is Shipley is bigger and faster.

He runs a 4.4 and has the speed to go deep. He also has the toughness to go over the middle.

He has extra value as a kick returner.

Most people think the Cowboys will focus on getting a big, strong offensive left tackle to replace Flozell Adams with their first pick.

Their second biggest need, however, is to give Tony Romo another good target to go with No. 1 wide receiver Miles Austin and tight end Jason Witten.

They need to improve on Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton.

I would love to see Jordan Shipley wearing the star.

Who knows? Maybe having another Texas wide receiver as a teammate will light a fire under Roy Williams.

Now try selling that to Jerry Jones.