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How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors

In a few weeks, if not already, every rookie draft pick will be an alumni from somewhere. No matter where their careers take them, they’ll never forget where they came from. Before they officially play their first snap on an NFL stage, we’ll evaluate the NFL careers of players at the same position, from the same alma mater as the Dallas Cowboys’ 2016 draft class. Maybe it’s an indication on how their careers will unfold. Ohio State University Running Backs Before Eliott, another notable Buckeye running back to be drafted in the NFL would be Archie Griffin.



Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 2

In a few weeks, if not already, every rookie draft pick will be an alumni from somewhere.

No matter where their careers take them, they’ll never forget where they came from. Before they officially play their first snap on an NFL stage, we’ll evaluate the NFL careers of players at the same position, from the same alma mater as the Dallas Cowboys’ 2016 draft class. Maybe it’s an indication on how their careers will unfold.

Ohio State University Running Backs

Before Eliott, another notable Buckeye running back to be drafted in the NFL would be Archie Griffin. In the 1976 NFL Draft, Archie Griffin was drafted in the first round – like Elliott – by the Cincinnati Bengals and helped them reach Super Bowl XVI.Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors

During his seven NFL seasons, he rushed for 2,808 yards and seven touchdowns, and caught 193 passes for 1607 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Another Ohio State first rounder, Eddie George was taken 14th overall in the 1996 draft by the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans). He received the NFL Rookie of the Year award and went to the Pro Bowl four consecutive years (1997 – 2000). George also helped the Titans get to Super Bowl XXXIV where they lost 23 – 16 to the St. Louis Rams.

Eddie George is only the second NFL running back to rush for 10,000 yards while never missing a start. Only Walter Payton started more regular season games.

Notre Dame University Linebackers

Drafted by the Boston Patriots in the 1962 AFL college draft, Nick Buoniconti made an immediate impact, as he was named the team’s rookie of the year. The following year, he helped Boston to the 1963 AFL Eastern Division title. With Boston, he appeared in five AFL All-Star Games and recorded 24 interceptions, which is still the seventh-most in team history.

He was traded to the AFL’s Miami Dolphins in 1969 and continued to excell. During his time there, Miami advanced to three consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Buoniconti ended his career with an unofficial 24 sacks, eighteen with the Patriots and six while with the Dolphins.

He was named the Dolphins’ Most Valuable Player three times and in 1990, he was voted as a linebacker on the Dolphins’ Silver Anniversary All-Time team.

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 1

Another Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te’o, was selected in the second round, 38th overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2013. He was the highest selected Notre Dame linebacker since Demetrius DuBose in 1993. To date, he has 204 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 9 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble.

University of Nebraska Defensive Tackles

Drafted in 1988 by the Kansas City Chiefs, Neil Smith became one of the top defensive linemen of his era. Neil Smith made the Pro Bowl 6 times during his career and led the NFL with 15 sacks in the 1993 season.

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 5With the Broncos, Smith won 2 NFL championships, Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII, and finished his 13 NFL seasons with 105 sacks, 30 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, 19 return yards, and 1 touchdown. He also intercepted 4 passes, returning them for 68 yards and a touchdown.

On October 22, 2006, Smith was inducted to the Chiefs’s Hall of Fame.

Ndamukong Suh was selected second overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, becoming the first defensive linemen selected by the team in the first round since 1995 (Luther Elliss) He was the highest selected Cornhusker defender since Neil Smith in 1988.

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 4After four seasons with the Lions, he was signed by the Miami Dolphins, to a six-year, $114 million contract with $60 million guaranteed. The contract made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, passing J.J. Watt. To date, Suh has 298 tackles, 48 sacks and 20 pass deflections.

University of Oklahoma Defensive Ends

Probably the most notable Defensive End to come out of Oklahoma is Lee Roy Selmon. Salmon, who dueled as a Defensive Tackle as well as a DE, was the first pick in the in the 1976 NFL draft. He was the first-ever pick for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first year, Selmon won the team’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ and MVP awards. He went to six straight Pro Bowls and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979.

In 1986, the Bucs retired his number, 63. He was the first player to be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor on November 8, 2009.

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 7The most recent Sooner defensive end drafted in the NFL, was Geneo Grissom. He was picked in the third round of the 2015 draft by the New England Patriots. So far, Grissom has six tackles and a sack after one season with the Patriots.

Mississippi State University Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott joins Joe Reed and Bruce Threadgill on the list of Mississippi State University QBs to play in the NFL.

The most notable Mississippi State University quarterback, Joe Reed, was drafted in 1972 by the 49ers but finished his career in Detroit. Although he spent his entire career mostly as QB2, he amassed 18 touchdowns for over 2,800 yards.

Purdue University Cornerbacks

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 9In 1987, Rod Woodson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 10 overall draft pick. He is one of the more notable cornerbacks to come out Purdue as he is among the NFL’s all-time leaders in games played as a defensive back. He holds the league record for interceptions returned for touchdowns with 12 and is tied with 11 other players for the record for most fumble recoveries in a single game with 3. His 1,483 interception return yards is the second most in NFL history (Ed Reed 1,590 yards). His 32 fumble recoveries are a record amongst defensive players. His 71 interceptions rank third all time.

He was named to the Pro Bowl eleven times, a record for his position. He was also the first player to earn trips to the Pro Bowl at cornerback, safety and kick returner.

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 8Woodson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Another notable Purdue Cornerback is Cris Dishman. Dishman was selected in the 5th round with the 125th pick of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers.  In the 1991 season, Dishman had a seven-game stretch where he forced at least one turnover in each contest.

He finished his career with 739 tackles, 43 interceptions, 15 forced fumbles, and 3 touchdowns.

Central Michigan University Free Safeties

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 10Kavon Frazier joins the list of Central Michigan DB’s – a list of only five others drafted in the history of the NFL.

Year Drafted
NFL Team
Jim Bowman
Robert Jackson
James Jones
Mick Natzel
Walter Beach

Robert Jackson was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 11th round of the 1981 NFL Draft. He played seven  seasons with the Bengals and finished his career with 15 interceptions and two touchdowns.

Eastern Michigan University Running backs

The list of running backs to come out of Eastern Michigan is even shorter.

Year Drafted
NFL Team
Gary Patton
Mike Strickland
Larry Ratcliff

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 11Like Frazier, Darius Jackson is also venturing into uncharted waters. He could have the most successful NFL career out of all running backs drafted out of Eastern Michigan University.

Baylor University Tight Ends

Cowboys Headlines - How Cowboys Rookies Compare To Their Predecessors 12Finally, with the last pick of the draft, Rico Gathers, the basketball player out of Baylor, to play tight end.

Tight end, out of Baylor Ronnie Lee was drafted in 1979 by the Miami Dolphins. He started his career as a tight end, but then switched to right guard in 1983. As a tight end he had 25 receptions, for 167 yards and three touchdowns.

Greg Hawthorne, another TE taken in the 1979 draft, played TE, RB and WR. Hawthorne played 9 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as a rookie, he won a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV, the New England Patriots, played in Super Bowl XX, and the Indianapolis Colts. As a running back, tight end, and wide receiver, he accumulated 527 rushing yards and 92 receptions between 1979 and 1987.

While some could start a new chapter in their college’s NFL alumni history, others have a lot to live up to. I look forward to following the rookies’ careers unfold and how they compare to their predecessors.


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!

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Dallas Cowboys

Can Cowboys Trust Guard Jonathan Cooper in 2018?

Jess Haynie



Jonathan Cooper

One of the big decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 offseason is at left guard. Veteran Jonathan Cooper started 13 games last year and is now a free agent. Should Dallas bring Cooper back, or should they look elsewhere for next season’s starter?

With a lot of money already being spent on the rest of the starting offensive line, the Cowboys need a bargain at left guard. They didn’t re-sign Ronald Leary in 2017 for that very reason, hoping Cooper or Chaz Green would be able to handle the job for a fraction of what Leary got from the Denver Broncos.

Cooper took over for Green in Week 4 and held the job the rest of the season. The Cowboys rushing attack remained one of the league’s best, even performing well later in the year when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended. It looked like Jonathan could become part of future plans.

However, in Week 17, Cooper went out of the game with a knee injury. It thankfully wasn’t serious and he is expected to be ready for 2018. However, it was a reminder of the injury-plagued past that has caused the former first-round pick so much trouble.

Jonathan Cooper

Dallas Cowboys Guard Jonathan Cooper

Taken seventh overall in 2013 by the Arizona Cardinals, Jonathan Cooper was one of the true blue-chip guard prospects in recent draft history. He seemed like a can’t-miss pick, and interior linemen don’t often go that high in the draft. The Cowboys have even said they coveted Cooper in that class.

But constant battles with injuries caused Cooper to be traded, released, and discarded by the Cardinals, New England Patriots, and Cleveland Browns over his first four seasons. While 2017 was looking like a turning point for him, Jonathan’s injury in the season finale was a sobering reminder of why he’s become a bargain-bin player.

Still, at just 28-years-old, Cooper has good years left and will now have another offseason for continuity and chemistry development with the Cowboys.

Dallas should have to pay more than a few million to keep Cooper on the roster.

If Dallas is leery (no pun intended) of Cooper, they will have options. La’el Collins could move back to the guard position, allowing the Cowboys to go find either the best guard or tackle who would fit with their existing group.

Given so many other considerations this offseason, Dallas will likely try to simplify things by giving Jonathan Cooper another chance. His history is a red flag, but sometimes you have to take those gambles and save salary cap space to handle other needs.


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Player News

Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” 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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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie



Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.


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