Cowboys News App [Android]

Herschel Walker: 5th-round gamble launched a Cowboys’ dynasty

The Cowboys seem to be allergic when it comes to 5th-round picks in the Draft. In 19 of their 62 drafts, they have traded away their pick in the .

But when they have picked a player in the fifth, they've made it count.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in 1985.

The Cowboys took a flyer that spring on a player who hadn't been in college for two years but had been playing in the .

Herschel Walker: 5th-round gamble launched a Cowboys' dynasty
DALLAS, TX – CIRCA 1980's: #34 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball during a late circa 1980's NFL football game at in Dallas, Texas. Walker played for the Cowboys from 1986-89 and 1996-97. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Herschel Walker would rush for over 2,400 yards for the that spring and not even join the Cowboys until the 1986 season after the USFL folded.

But the gamble paid off.

Walker eventually became the starting running back and would pile up nearly 3,300 yards in 49 games — 41 as a starter. But his biggest payoff for Dallas would come after the fifth game of the 1989 season.

The Greatest Theft In NFL History

Dallas sent Herschel Walker and three draft picks (two thirds and a tenth) to Minnesota and in return, Dallas received four players and eight draft picks.

The also involved the Chargers, who got Running Back Darrin Nelson from the Vikings in exchange for San Diego's fifth-round pick in 1990.

The Picks the Cowboys got were turned into three key cogs in their dynasty run: , , and .

At the time, Minnesota was thought to have won the deal and local Dallas media sharply criticized it.

says the Cowboys robbed the Vikings blind.

Picks Aided 1970s Title Teams

The round has produced some quality players for Dallas over the decades.

Walt Garrison (1964) and (1968) helped fuel Dallas' success in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Ron Springs was selected in 1979 and was a huge complement to in the 1980s.

Oddly enough, considering how often Dallas shed its fifth-rounders, the Cowboys made four picks in the fifth round of last year's draft.

The jury is still out on how wisely they picked.

The Dallas Cowboys' all-time fifth-round picks:

1961 No Pick

1962 No Pick

1963 No Pick

1964 No Pick

1965 Roger Pettee

1966 Walt Garrison

1967 No Pick

1968 Blaine Nye

1969 Chuck Kyle Linebacker

1970 No Pick

1971 Ron Kadziel Linebacker

1972 No Pick

1973 Bruce Walton

1974 John Kelsey Offensive Tackle

1975 Kyle Davis

1976 Wally Pesuit Offensive Tackle

1977 Andy Frederick Offensive Tackle

1978 Rich Rosen Guard

1979 Bob Hukill Guard; Curtis Anderson ; Ron Springs Running Back

1980 Gary Hogeboom

1981 Danny Spradlin Linebacker

1982 Phil Pozderac Offensive Tackle

1983 Chuck McSwain Running Back

1984 Steve Pelluer Quarterback; Norm Granger Running Back

1985 Herschel Walker Running Back; Matt Darwin Center

1986 No Pick

1987 Everett Gay Wide Receiver

1988 No Pick

1989 Keith Jennings Tight End; Willis Crockett Linebacker; Jeff Roth

1990 Stan Smagala

1991 Darrick Brownlow Linebacker

1992 Greg Briggs Defensive Back; Rod Milstead Guard

1993 No Pick

1994 No Pick

1995 Ed Hervey Wide Receiver; Dana Howard Linebacker

1996 Kenneth McDaniel Guard; Alan Campos Linebacker

1997 No Pick

1998 Darren Hambrick Linebacker; Oliver Ross Offensive Tackle

1999 No Pick

2000 Michael Wiley Running Back

2001 Matt Lehr Guard

2002 Pete Hunter Defensive Back

2003 No Pick

2004 Sean Ryan Tight End

2005 No Pick

2006 Safety

2007 No Pick

2008 Orlando Scandrick Cornerback

2009 DeAngelo Smith Cornerback; Michael Hamlin Safety; David Buehler

2010 No Pick

2011 Josh Thomas Cornerback

2012 Danny Coale Wide Receiver

2013 Joseph Randle Running Back

2014 Wide Receiver

2015 Ryan Russell Defensive End

2016 No Pick

2017 No Pick

2018 Mike White Quarterback

2019 Cornerback; Joe Jackson Defensive End

2020 Defensive End

2021 Simi Fehoko Wide Receiver

2022 Matt Waletzko Offensive Tackle; DaRon Bland Cornerback; Linebacker; III Defensive Tackle

Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli
Richard has covered sports at all levels - from local, prep, college, and professional - since 1984. He has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since 1969. Since retiring as a full-time sports writer in 2013, he has written and published several novels, two dozen short stories and two sports non-fiction books.

COntinue Reading


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

> Join our team...

-- COWBOYS ANDROID APP --Free Dallas Cowboys News App for Android