Draft Rewind – Dallas Cowboys

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The 25 year window on the 1989 Draft will end this year and I think it is hard to screw up an overall #1 first round pick; Troy Aikman will not make the Cowboys list.

FIVE BEST PICKS

1. Emmitt Smith, RB, Florida. 1st round, #17 overall in 1990.

Jimmy Johnson wanted James Francis, and Jerry Jones
wanted Emmitt Smith; thank god for Cowboys fans – this was one of the many arguments Jones won in building the greatest dynasty of the 90’s. Hall of Famer; all-time leading rusher; all-time leader in rushing touchdowns; and three-time Super Bowl champ. Smith ranks among the best all time at his position, was a great pass blocker, and a very good receiver out of the back field. At 17th overall he might be one of top 5 draft picks of all time.

2. Larry Allen, OG, Sonoma St. 2nd round, #46 overall in 1994.
Allen is a Hall of Famer, and Jerry Jones’ first of many great picks without Jimmy Johnson. One of the most versatile lineman in NFL history, he earned All-Pro six straight years from 1996 – 2001 at three different positions – right guard, left tackle, and then left guard. He also started his career at right tackle, filling in for an injured Eric Williams in 1994. Allen ranks among the all-time greats at guard and was a steal in the second round.

3. Jason Witten, TE, Tennessee. 3rd round, #69 overall in 2003.
Witten is another sure-fire Hall of Famer picked by Jerry Jones, this time with a little help from Bill Parcells. He ranks 17th all-time in receptions, and is second among TEs behind Tony Gonzalez. Witten is two solid seasons from passing Randy Moss and Hines Ward to get in the top-ten in receptions. The consummate chain mover, he has been Tony Romo’s security blanket his entire career.

4. Sean Lee, LB, Penn St. 2nd round, #55 overall in 2010.

Lee has only played in 46 games in four years – he can’t seem to stay healthy. But when he is on the field, Dallas’ defense is leaps and bounds better. In those 46 games he has had 11 interceptions and 193 solo tackles. Lee led the league in INT return yards last season with 174. He has a nose for the ball, and if he can stay healthy this mid second round pick is on the verge of stardom.

5. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St. 1st round, #24 overall in 2010.
In his first four seasons, the playmaking WR has caught 40 touchdowns. He has caught 90+ balls the last two seasons and has 4,104 receiving yards in his first four years. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2013 and is just now coming into his own as one of the best wideouts in the game. Bryant slipped in the draft due to off-field issues, but has pretty much stayed out of trouble in the NFL. He still has a little maturing to do; if he continues to grow the way he has, Bryant will be the best offensive player taken in the 2010 draft.

Bonus Tony Romo, QB, Eastern Illinois. Undrafted Free Agent in 2004.
Romo is the most maligned QB in the modern-day NFL for who he is not. He is not Brady, Manning, Rodgers, or Brees. And he might not even be Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger. But all those guys except Brady were picked in the first 32 picks in the NFL draft. Romo was signed off the scrap heap after the draft, and now he is in the top 31 all-time in passing touchdowns and has a QB rating in the top five. He might never make elite status in many eyes but in a league where guys like Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert and Jack Locker are picked in the first round, the Cowboys draft room got a steal the moment the draft ended.

WORST FIVE PICKS

5. Shante Carver, DE, Arizona St. 1st round, #23 overall in 1994.
Carver had 11.5 sacks in his four-year career; his best year was his last one with the team when he recorded a team-high 6.5 sacks. Carver also contributed to Super Bowl XXX with 5 tackles. But most of his career was spent either suspended or hurt, and he never lived up to his talent. The ‘Boys could have grabbed Issac Bruce or Kevin Mawae, who both went early in the second round.

4. 2009 Draft
The Cowboys had 12 picks in the 2009 draft and only three players are still in the league; not a single one is with Dallas. Victor Butler is the only solid player among the group and the ‘Boys let him go to New Orleans after the 2012 season. Butler had 11 sacks in four years with Dallas. This draft is one of the reasons why Jerry Jones gets a bad rap as an NFL GM; Dallas’ front office plan for that draft was to draft for depth and for special teams. However, the 2009 draft is the main reason they have little depth on the roster now.

3. Quincy Carter, QB, Georgia. 2nd round, #53 overall.

Carter played three years for the ‘Boys and looked like he could be the QB of the future after helping Dallas to a 10-6 record in 2003. In the offseason Carter failed a drug test and was released by the ‘Boys in August, abruptly ending his tenure in Dallas. In 2004 he played three games for the Jets, winning two and bringing his career record as a starter to 18-16. Carter won some games but he was train wreck off the field; Dallas could have had Shaun Rogers or Adrian Wilson in the second round.

2. David Lafleur, TE, LSU. 1st round, #22 overall in 1997.

Lafleur played four seasons with the Cowboys and his best season was 35 receptions and 7 TDs in 1999. The following year he had 12 catches and then was out of the league. The Cowboys could have drafted a back up and future replacement for Emmitt Smith in Tiki Barber or Corey Dillon, who both were taken in the second round.

1. Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio St. 1st round, #18 overall in 2006.
Carpenter was supposed to be the leader of Bill Parcells’ defense in Dallas for years to come; he was the prototype Parcells linebacker – big and fast. In four years he started three games, was a poor tackler and an even worse pass defender. The number of players Dallas could have built their D around is endless: Tamba Hali, DeMeco Ryans, and Mathias Kiwanuka to mention a few. Parcells gets credit for rebuilding the current Dallas team but Fat Tuna had plenty of bad picks including Carpenter.

Stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com

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