Welcome in to another edition of Cowboys on the Clock! At this time next week, we will be entering the week of the draft, anxiously awaiting Thursday night – when the newest member of the Dallas Cowboys joins the team at the fourth overall pick.
Of course, to match that excitement, my countdown series will still be going strong all the way until the morning of the 28th. Today, we pick up with the team’s most recent 11th overall pick.
Seeing as he needs no introduction, let’s dive into this edition of our countdown to the 2016 NFL Draft on Inside The Star!
In the 2005 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys are Bill Parcells were preparing to eventually transition to a 3-4 defense. For this reason, Parcells was targeting Marcus Spears with the team’s 11th overall pick.
However, Jerry Jones and the rest of the front office convinced Parcells that Spears would still be available for them 9 picks later at #20. He indeed was, joining the team 9 picks after Dallas drafted DeMarcus Ware.
Ware was certainly the right pick at #11, as he went on to play 9 seasons in Dallas, developing into one of the most respected pass rushers in the NFL.
Cowboys’ fans would get a great glimpse at what was in store for Ware in just his rookie season out of Troy, as he recorded three sacks and forced a fumble in a week 16 game vs the Panthers. He would finish with 8 sacks, tied for the team lead with Greg Ellis.
He joined Jimmy Jones as the only Cowboy to lead the team in sacks as a rookie. Despite his stellar performance, the Cowboys missed the playoffs in 2005, which became an unfortunate theme throughout his time here.
A season that Dallas did make the playoffs in was 2006, when Ware set the Cowboys single season record for sacks by a linebacker with 11.5. He returned both a fumble and an interception for touchdowns as well this season, and the Cowboys played in the Wild Card game vs the Seahawks after a 9 win regular season.
Of course, this game ended in a crushing defeat in Seattle for the Cowboys, but it did not stop Ware from continuing his dominance in 2007. Under new Head Coach Wade Phillips, he pressured the quarterback 27 times and got home on 14.5 sacks to make his second straight Pro Bowl.
While the individual awards continued to roll in for Ware, Dallas continued to stumble in the first round of the playoffs. The visiting New York Giants stunned the Cowboys in the Divisional Round, as Ware recorded 1 sack on Eli Manning in the 21-17 loss.
DeMarcus Ware broke through to lead the league in sacks in 2008, setting the team’s all time record by recording at least one sack in each of his first 7 games. Ware would sign a new contract during the 2009 season, where he battled through a serious neck injury to help end the New Orleans Saints then-undefeated season with a game-clinching sack in the Superdome on December 19th. He finished the year with a career high in pressures with 45 and led the team with 11 sacks.
DeMarcus would record 2 sacks in a playoff drubbing of the Eagles at home, seeing the second round of the playoffs for the first time in the silver and blue. Philadelphia held Ware without a sack in the two regular season meetings between these teams, but the ferocious pass rusher was far too good throughout his entire time as a Cowboy to be held down for a third time.
Ware led the league again in sacks in 2010, recording 15.5. He then put up 19.5 in 2011, threatening Michael Strahan’s record while finishing just a half sack away from the elusive 20 that would have made him the first player to post multiple 20 sack seasons in NFL history.
Ware would spend two more seasons in Dallas, dragging down quarterbacks in 2012 and 2013 at his usual pace. In his last three years with the team, DeMarcus totaled a dominant 52.5 sacks, despite getting just 6 in 2013 as a defensive end for Monte Kiffin’s scheme.
For his 9 years with the Dallas Cowboys, he tormented opposing quarterbacks to the tune of 117 sacks while forcing 32 fumbles.
As we know, Ware earned a very well-deserved Super Bowl ring this past season in Denver, winning Super Bowl 50 as part of the Broncos’ dominant defense during his second season with the team.
The following players have also been selected with the 11th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys:
Michael Irvin, WR, 1988
Too much can be said about Irvin’s career with the Cowboys to sum it up justly in a few paragraphs. Instead, dive into RJ Ochoa’s old “Countdown to Kickoff” post dedicated to Irvin – naming the original 88 the best to wear the number in franchise history:
Cowboys on the Clock is back on Tuesday, but we will go beyond the clock tomorrow to keep you on the track to the 2016 NFL Draft right here on Inside The Star!
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