When most of the top players should be long gone, Dallas has surprisingly managed to turn the third round of the NFL Draft into a gold mine.
Over the six-plus decades the Cowboys have landed 16 players via the draft's third round. All of them made significant contributions to the team.
After a lackluster decade in the 1960s, when Dallas only made six picks in the third round over nine years, Dallas found its stride in 1970.
The Cowboys selected Charlie Waters in 1970 to start the decade.
He was followed by Harvey Martin (1973), Danny White (1974), Bob Breunig (1975), Butch Johnson (1976), Tony Hill (1977) and closed out the run in 1979 with Doug Cosbie.
A Good Third-Round Draft Bred Success
Much of the Cowboys success in the 1970s and the early 1980s can be traced back to the team's drafting in the third round.
And, as was the case in the first two rounds of the 1980s, the Cowboys decline in the standings matched its drafting results.
The team started to turn that trend around in 1989, taking Mark Stepnoski in the third round, then Godfrey Myles and Erik Williams in 1991.
The Cowboys closed out the 1990s with a pair of linebackers in the third round — Dexter Coakley (1997) and Dat Nguyen (1999).
The Prime Pick Of The Round
But the team's best-ever third-round selection came in 2003 when they selected Jason Witten.
It seemed to start a run of solid third-rounders for the Cowboys, who drafted DeMarco Murray (2011), Terrance Williams (2013), and Michael Gallup (2018).
Of the eight players Dallas has drafted in the third round since 2018, only one is no longer on the roster: Connor McGovern (2019).
Keeping that run going will be a must for the Cowboys on Day 2 of this year's draft.
Dallas Cowboys All-Time Third-Round Draft Picks
1961 Stew Barber Offensive Tackle
1962 Bobby Plummer Tackle
1963 Jim Price Linebacker
1964 No Pick
1965 No Pick
1966 No Pick
1967 Phil Clark Defensive Back
1968 Ed Harmon Linebacker
1969 Tom Stincic Linebacker; Halvor Hagen Guard
1970 Charlie Waters Safety; Steve Kiner Linebacker; Denton Fox Defensive Back
1971 Sam Scarber Running Back; Bill Gregory Defensive Tackle
1972 Mike Keller Linebacker; Marv Bateman Punter
1973 Harvey Martin Defensive End
1974 Danny White Quarterback; Cal Peterson Linebacker
1975 Bob Breunig Linebacker
1976 Duke Fergerson Wide Receiver; John Smith Running Back; Butch Johnson Wide Receiver
1977 Tony Hill Wide Receiver; Val Belcher Guard
1978 Dave Hudgens Offensive Tackle
1979 Doug Cosbie Tight End
1980 Bill Roe Linebacker; James Jones Running Back
1981 Glen Titensor Guard
1982 Jim Eliopulos Linebacker
1983 Bryan Caldwell Defensive End
1984 Fred Cornwell Tight End
1985 Crawford Ker Guard
1986 Mark Walen Defensive Tackle
1987 Jeff Zimmerman Guard
1988 Mark Hutson Guard
1989 Mark Stepnoski Center; Rhondy Weston Defensive End
1990 Jimmie Jones Defensive Tackle
1991 Godfrey Myles Linebacker; James Richards Guard; Erik Williams Offensive Tackle
1992 Clayton Holmes Cornerback; James Brown Offensive Tackle
1993 Mike Middleton Defensive Back
1994 George Hegamin Offensive Tackle
1995 Charlie Williams Defensive Back
1996 Clay Shiver Center; Stepfret Williams Wide Receiver; Mike Ulufale Defensive Tackle
1997 Dexter Coakley Linebacker; Steve Scifres Guard; Kenny Wheaton Running Back
1998 No Pick
1999 Dat Nguyen Linebacker
2000 No Pick
2001 Willie Blade Defensive Tackle
2002 Derek Ross Cornerback
2003 Jason Witten Tight End
2004 Stephen Peterman Guard
2005 No Pick
2006 Jason Hatcher Defensive End
2007 James Marten Offensive Tackle
2008 No Pick
2009 Jason Williams Linebacker; Robert Brewster Offensive Tackle
2010 No Pick
2011 DeMarco Murray Running Back
2012 Tyrone Crawford Defensive End
2013 Terrance Williams Wide Receiver
2014 No Pick
2015 Chaz Green Offensive Tackle
2016 Maliek Collins Defensive Tackle
2017 Jourdan Lewis Cornerback
2018 Michael Gallup Wide Receiver
2019 Connor McGovern Guard
2020 Neville Gallimore Defensive Tackle
2021 Osa Odighizuwa Defensive tackle; Chauncey Golston Defensive End; Nahshon Wright Cornerback
2022 Jalen Tolbert Wide receiver