Our Inside The Star “Cowboys on the Clock” countdown to the 2016 NFL Draft series hit a milestone yesterday, as Bob Lilly became the first Cowboys draft pick profiled to make the Hall of Fame.
Today, we highlight our first offensive skill position player since Felix Jones – who made the countdown over a week ago.
That player would be WR Alvin Harper, who was the Dallas Cowboys’ 12th overall pick in 1991.
In 1989, the Cowboys selected Troy Aikman with the first overall pick of the draft. Pairing him with Michael Irvin, in their first season, would produce more of the same results from year’s past for Dallas – as they won just 1 game.
In 1990, the team would win 7 games, and still fail to reach the playoffs.
Enter Alvin Harper, who was drafted to compliment Irvin and become another top target for Aikman. Harper, out of Tennessee, did just that as the team won 11 games in his first season. In the Cowboys’ first winning season since 1985, Harper began to establish himself as a deep threat receiver.
His 20 catches for 326 yards would set him up for an even better 1992 campaign. The Cowboys offense rolled to the Super Bowl, where Harper hauled in a 45 yard touchdown during a convincing 52-17 win over the Bills.
The following season, Dallas would find themselves in a very similar position come playoff time. Once again facing the 49ers with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, it was Bernie Kosar in for the Cowboys at quarterback following Aikman’s exit with a concussion.
Harper stepped up and made plays for Kosar, most notably scoring from 42 yards out to put the Cowboys back in the Super Bowl against the Bills. Aikman returned to lead the team to it’s second consecutive title, throwing for 207 yards in the 30-13 win.
The 49ers would finally get the best of the Cowboys in the 1994 NFC Championship game, but Harper put together his best season with the team. Averaging an outstanding 24.9 yards per reception, he put up a career high in yards with 821 and touchdowns by scoring 8 times.
Throughout this 4 year run in Dallas, Harper averaged 19.7 yards per catch. He would leave after the 1994 season to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two years. Tampa Bay would miss the playoffs in both of these seasons, as Harper opted to join the Washington Redskins in 1996.
Harper would not play a full season in Washington, nor did he do so in New Orleans when they claimed him off waivers following his release from the Redskins. He would end his career back in the silver and blue by playing two games as a Cowboy in 1999.
Tomorrow on “Cowboys on the Clock”: 2005 first round pick DeMarcus Ware
This countdown is getting closer and closer to the end! With each passing day, the excitement builds for this year’s draft. Who do you want to see the Cowboys target with pick #4? What do you think of this countdown series? Let me know! To reach out, simply leave a comment below this article or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Twitter @ShoreSportsNJ!