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NFL Draft

Beyond The Clock: Cowboys Undrafted Wonder, Don Perkins



NFL Draft - Beyond The Clock: Cowboys Undrafted Wonder, Don Perkins 4

It was 1960. The word was out that the National Football League was coming to Big D.

The Dallas Rangers, who changed their name a few months later to the Cowboys, were admitted to the league too late to participate in the 1960 NFL Draft. No matter, they still needed to build a team somehow and they knew the best place to start was at the quarterback and running back position. They picked up Don Meredith, a quarterback out of SMU, through a personal-services contract. Shortly after, they set their eyes on a halfback named Don Perkins.  

Perkins was already on the Baltimore Colts, but luckily for the newborn team they also signed Don Perkins to a personal-services contract (for a $10,000 salary) months prior, before the ‘Boys even existed. And since Dallas didn't go through a draft process, the league made the Baltimore Colts honor the services contract and hand Perkins over to this new expansion team in Texas.

Don Perkins and Don Meredith were picked up by the Cowboys through personal-services contracts that were signed before the team was even a glimmer in the NFL's eye. The league honored those contracts - even though they were signed months before a Dallas team existed - to compensate Dallas not having the luxury of a draft to build a team from. If the Dallas Cowboys, I mean Dallas Rangers, had been born a month or two earlier, they could have picked the franchise's first players through the draft and may never have known Meredith and Perkins.

That is why they kick off our Beyond the Clock series, where we dive into the wonderful careers of undrafted Cowboy greats.

Not to mention, they were the first faces of the franchise.

NFL Draft - Beyond The Clock: Cowboys Undrafted Wonder, Don Perkins 3

Perkins sat out for the 1960 season due to a broken foot but received the Rookie of the Year award when he played his first full season in 1961. He became the first Dallas Cowboy to rush for 100 yards in a game when he rushed for 108 yards on 17 carries against the Minnesota Vikings. Perkins became the Cowboy’s primary ball carrier in a budding offense constantly shuffling new rushers in and out.

That is not to say Perkins didn't struggle. The Cowboys wanted him to switch from playing halfback, like he did in college, to fullback, a position he wasn't used to. Coach Tom Landry mandated a mile run at the beginning of every season and Perkins struggled to meet the six-minute time. According to Perkins, what hurt him the most was disappointing his coach. But that was Perkins, a player who cared more about the club than himself.

He was kind and generous to his teammates and instilled a sense of camaraderie among the infant franchise. For example, at almost every game or practice, Perkins would show his backup, Walt Garrison, new techniques. He would teach him how to read linebackers and explain the ins and outs of being an effective fullback.

One day Garrison asked Perkins, “Don’t you realize I’m trying to beat you out for playing time?”

Perkins told him that he only cared about winning a championship and that if Garrison was better, then Garrison ought to be starting over him. To Garrison, Don Perkins was his hero and the best fullback in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. The Garrison and Perkins relationship represented that of many on the team, those who came together and shared character and a singular goal.

Staying true to the strong bond forged between his teammates, in 1968 Perkins helped end the Cowboys practice of segregating players when traveling to hotels. He is currently a member of the Northwest Mesa Branch of the NAACP.

Don Perkins unexpectedly retired at age 31 coming off arguably his best season in 1968, saying he thought it was Garrison’s time to shine. He finished his career with 1,500 attempts, amassing 6,217 yards and 42 touchdowns. Even though he played fullback at 5’10”, 205 pounds, his ten career 100-yard games ranks fourth in club history. He led the Dallas Cowboys in rushing through six of his eight seasons, and touchdowns through four.

He ranks third on the Cowboys' all-time rushing yards and rushing touchdowns lists behind Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. He was selected to six Pro Bowls, to one All-Pro team, and was later inducted into the Ring of Honor with Don Meredith in 1976.

Don Perkins was the Cowboys first leading rusher, one of the first faces of the franchise, and one of the first great Dallas Cowboys.

I was born and raised in New York state's Hudson Valley and now attend school in New Jersey. Although I live in Montclair, my heart will always have a soft spot for Dallas, Texas. As an intern for Inside the Star, I now have a legitimate reason for the Cowboys to consume my life. Before, I was just a Cowboy fan with no life ... and very concerned parents. When I'm not writing about the Cowboys, I enjoy reading, seeing plays, creative writing, watching TV, and making my friends and family laugh. Follow me on Twitter, so we can connect on all topics related to America's Team. How 'bout em!

  • Randy Martin

    Great walk down memory lane! Don Perkins was one of the classiest and most humble guys to ever play in the NFL. Dallas used to have their players make appearances in easy locations for fans and I met him in 1965 I think it was at a Drug Store in Mesquite Texas. I was 10. I remember talking to him briefly and shaking his hand and he had a huge hand that wrapped around mine. He was one of the first true Cowboys!

  • http://www.facebook/DallasCowboyBooksBlog Fred Goodwin

    While it is true that Dallas did not draft Meredith or Perkins, it is not true that the two players went undrafted. The Bears drafted Meredith in the third round, while the Colts drafted Perkins in the ninth round of the 1960 NFL draft:

NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: Cowboys to Hold Visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller

Sean Martin



2018 NFL Draft: Cowboys to Hold Visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller
(Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys have been frustratingly unsurprisingly quiet through the start of free agency, as their opportunity to improve at the AT&T Stadium hosted 2018 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching. Offensive line depth remains a team need for the Cowboys, one they're actively looking to address by visiting free agent Guard Marcus Martin while planning a pre-draft visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

I'm told UTEP Guard Will Hernandez is another of Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors. Hernandez joins Alabama WR Calvin Ridley and UCLA G/T Kolton Miller on the list of reported visitors for the #Cowboys. Since 2014, 14 of Dallas' 35 picks (40%) have been pre-draft visitors.

Protecting one of the top quarterbacks available in the draft in Josh Rosen through college, Kolton Miller absolutely blew up the Combine in Indianapolis - entering the draft as one of the most athletic available linemen.

It is this athleticism and versatility that the Dallas Cowboys should absolutely be looking for, if trying to add another "blue chip" player to an offensive line already featuring LT Tyron Smith, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin, and RT La'el Collins.

Kolton Miller Longest Offensive Lineman Broad Jump 2018 NFL Combine

Kolton Miller with the broad jump world record for an offensive lineman at 10 1 wow

Tyron Smith's health (along with the level of play the Cowboys received at his spot in his absence) and the FA status of Jonathan Cooper are both reasons the Cowboys should consider adding a new, controllable option to their dominant offensive line. Whether this is with the 19th overall pick, or later on with a prospect like Miller, will depend on how the board falls through the first 18 picks of the draft.

With ten total picks coming in, the Cowboys could be positioning themselves for a move up the board to land an impact defender, or an additional piece for Kris Richard to work with in the defensive backfield. Staying home at 19th overall and selecting a player capable of playing swing tackle would not only be a safe option for the Cowboys, but a smart one with Ezekiel Elliott returning full-time to the lineup in 2018.

Without Elliott for six games in 2017, the Cowboys still managed nine wins. This is a point lost to most of Cowboys Nation, especially those watching the entire playoffs without their team in it, only to watch the Eagles hoist the Lombardi. Elliott's impact on each's week game plan for Dallas is hard to understate, and the Cowboys' trust in him begins up front.

Testing as an elite athlete with the film to match at tackle in the Pac 12, Kolton Miller should be a welcome addition to America's Team - getting the opportunity to learn the Cowboys' way with a trip to The Star in his future.

Tell us what you think about "2018 NFL Draft: Cowboys to Hold Visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Can Powers of Persuasion Help Make Will Hernandez a Cowboy?

Brian Martin



Can Powers of Persuasion Make Will Hernandez a Dallas Cowboy?

There is no shortage of NFL hopefuls who would like to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. But, not one of them have used their powers of persuasion to make their intentions known as much as former UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez.

Throughout the entire draft process, Will Hernandez has done nothing but stand out when given the opportunity. He first started to make waves at the 2018 Senior Bowl, where he pretty much dominated his competition. Then, he improved his draft stock even more by putting on a show at the Scouting Combine.

The 6'2", 330 pound offensive guard has likely cemented himself as a surefire first-round draft pick and is arguably the second-ranked OG in the entire 2018 draft class. He is a plug-and-play prospect for any team who drafts him, but he has made his intentions well known that he would love to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

Back in February, Will Hernandez was spotted hanging out with the Cowboys bookend offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, to see the premiere of the movie Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis.

Will Hernandez on Twitter

@PujolsFive Cowboys fans will appreciate this post!! ⭐️ Movie Premiere #Deathwish Great movie!

To see Will Hernandez rubbing elbows with a few of the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive lineman only strengthened the connection for Hernandez becoming a draft pick by America's Team. But, this wasn't the only time the former UTEP offensive guard was seen out with a Cowboys player.

In March, he was once again seen out on the town with the Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.

All of this can probably be chalked up to a current player hanging out with an NFL hopeful, but as a Cowboys fan you want to believe it's more than just a coincidence.

The Dallas Cowboys without a doubt need a new starting left guard. It can be argued it's the team's biggest need this offseason and Will Hernandez fits the bill to a T. He would immediately upgrade the entire offensive line and solidify the unit for years to come.

The only problem is, the Dallas Cowboys have already invested quite a bit in their offensive line and taking Will Hernandez in the first round would be considered by some as overkill. I for one wouldn't be opposed to taking him at 19 if he is the top rated player when the Cowboys are on the clock.

It's hard to know if seeing Will Hernandez hanging out with Tyron Smith and La'el Collins improves his chances of being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but it definitely doesn't hurt. Offensive lines around the NFL perform at their best when they play as a cohesive unit, so developing a bond already could be viewed as a good thing.

Who knows, maybe Will Hernandez's powers of persuasion will pay off and end up being the deciding factor to help him become the next first-round offensive lineman drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you read anything into Will Hernandez hanging out with Cowboys players?

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NFL Draft

Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley

Mauricio Rodriguez



Butch Dill / Getty Images

With NFL Free Agency buzz at full speed this week, Dez Bryant is one of the most intriguing names in the Dallas Cowboys world. We all know the story. We've been talking about it since last season. Bryant, who was once among the "Top WR of the league" conversation, doesn't look like an elite player anymore.

That doesn't mean he is a bad football player, but the problem is that he's getting paid big time.

The Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled with cap space for many years now, may want to avoid paying $16.5M to a player who isn't justifying his paychecks on the field. Big name and all, it certainly doesn't feel that way.

His lack of production on the field the last three years is concerning, even though he's played with quarterbacks not named "Tony Romo." There are other receivers around the league who have played with bad quarterbacks and have still been able to produce.

Even still, it wouldn't be easy to replace Bryant on the offense just like that. Right now, top free agents are already off the market, so if Dallas wants to replace him, it'd have to be via trade or via the NFL Draft.

Jane Slater on Twitter

ICYMI: A few things to consider as we wait on news about Dez Bryant's future with the Dallas Cowboys

Right now, it seems that Dez is going to remain a Dallas Cowboy and after seeing the contracts other receivers in the league are about to get, who knows if a pay cut will even enter the equation.

Even if Dez keeps wearing the Star every week next season, wide receiver is still one of the team's top needs. Despite the fact that Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten are some very well-known names, the truth is this offense needs a guy who can create separation and be harmful as a deep threat.

This is a draft class with a lot of depth at wide receiver, and the Cowboys could find contributors at the second or later rounds. Even still, if they're on the clock at 19 and Alabama's Calvin Ridley is available, the front office should pull the trigger.

Yes, even if Dez is still on the team.

Despite last year's struggles, we shouldn't lose faith on the Cowboys' offense when it has a lot of talent. We believed in this group to take us to the Super Bowl. What they are missing could just be a new, dynamic wide receiver.

Dallas Cowboys Reportedly Set to Meet with Alabama WR Calvin Ridley 1

Alabama Crimson Tide WR Calvin Ridley (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Calvin Ridley is by far the best WR in the Draft this year and will be an impact player anywhere he goes. Despite a poor showing in the Combine, Ridley proves to be worthy of a first round pick on tape. Ideal route-running, great ability to separate and more than enough speed for the NFL.

This would certainly take a lot of pressure off Cole Beasley's shoulders, who was constantly double-teamed last year. Sure, he's still good, but if he continues to run into double-coverage, Dak Prescott and company will probably continue to struggle another year.

It's tough to imagine Calvin Ridley being available at 19, especially with the Baltimore Ravens holding the 16th overall pick. However, some people believe there's a 50/50 chance he's available once Dallas is on the clock. If that's the case, the Cowboys shouldn't pass on this prospect.

Ridley could very well end up being the most productive receiver for the Cowboys in 2018 becoming an essential "best friend" for Dak Prescott.

We've seen how other front offices have made friendly offenses for their young QBs and if Calvin Ridley is what it takes, why even think about it?

Tell me what you think about "Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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