Cowboy fan takes NFL draft to a whole new level

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The NFL draft Thursday is in primetime for the first time instead of on the weekend.  Football fans have their top picks, but one Lufkin diehard Cowboy fan takes it to another level.

Even with a voice disorder, Joe Cates can tell you pretty much anything you want to know about this year's NFL draft picks.

"Doran Dixon runs a 40 in 4.47, now he's a small tight end but he can play h-back," said Cates.

His obsession with the draft and his home team began more than 40 years ago.

"Really it started in 1966, the Ice Bowl," Cates explained.

By 1975, he was all-in, filling his room with boards of his top picks and keeping up with the players his team was interested in.

"I have the top 300 players on the boards around here," Cates said looking around.  "I have my sleeper picks on the board."

Every year Cates memorizes the measurements, speed, and college of the top eight players in each position of the draft.

"Dez Bryant has huge hands, best I remember, 11 inches, very big hands," said Cates.

With ball players always running across the TV screen, he picks up on the details.

"I have right here the last two years, I started putting them on DVD," said Cates pointing to a bookshelf filled with VHS tapes and DVDs.  "I have Cowboys games and I have the Combine through NFL network and I have some of the college games."

Cates inspects cars for a living, but about five hours a day, he's inspecting draft picks.

"Come five o'clock, those doors shut," he said.  "Saturday if my mother wants to put on stickers she can put on stickers, but I'm not putting on any stickers."

When his boys are playing, not even a voice disorder is stopping him from yelling.

"Yep, you can't help it when you're at that stadium," he said smiling.

So, with blue stars in his eyes, he's perfected the game of draft day and set his sights on a winning team.

"We have a chance to get to the playoffs," he said.  "I don't know how deep we can go."

Cates said he hasn't been to the new stadium yet because tickets are expensive.  However, he's saving up and also hoping to win some.

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