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Top 10 Cowboys First Round Picks

John Williams

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DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys All-Time Sack Leader, Announces Retirement
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

As we count down the final seconds toward the NFL Draft, I've taken some retrospective looks at the Dallas Cowboys history in the NFL Draft. The other day I went over the success rate of the Cowboys during the Jason Garrett coaching era.

Today, I'm taking a bit of a lighter look at the top 10 first round picks made by the Dallas Cowboys in their nearly 60 year history.

Before I get into this, let me just say that I don't have the benefit of some of my elders who've been fans of the Dallas Cowboys since the 60s, 70s or even the 90s since I came on board a few years after my family moved to Texas in 1997. So, I don't have the first-hand knowledge of some of these guys, but I've dug deep into the history of America's Team.

With that said, let's get into the Top 10 First Round Picks

10. Tyron Smith, OT, University of Southern California

Dallas Cowboys Player Profile: T #77 Tyron Smith 4

Cowboys LT Tyron Smith (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Under Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys had never used a first round pick on an offensive lineman. That was until Jason Garrett became the head coach and was able to convince the Owner and General Manager that protecting their most valuable asset, Tony Romo, was of the highest priority.

The ninth overall pick in 2011 hasn't disappointed. In seven seasons with the Cowboys he's become one of the most dominant players in the league at his position. He's made the Pro Bowl the last five seasons and was awarded first-team All-Pro selections in 2014 and 2016. Coincidentally, those were also the years that Dallas made the playoffs and had the league leader in rushing.

While the Dallas Cowboys have since added other first rounders, it was Smith who started it all, and he remains the veteran leader in the offensive line room.

Slowed by back injuries over the last couple of seasons, if Smith can maintain his Pro Bowl form he'll find himself enshrined in the Dallas Cowboys' Ring of Honor as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

9. DeMarcus Ware, EDGE, Troy

When Bill Parcells came on board with the Dallas Cowboys in 2005, it marked a switch from the 4-3 defense the Cowboys had been running for-ev-er to the 3-4 Parcells preferred. In the 2005 NFL Draft, they made DeMarcus Ware the 11th overall pick out of small school Troy. He didn't disappoint.

In nine years with Dallas, Ware made the Pro Bowl six times including four first-team All-Pro seasons. He was a dominant force on a defense that lacked playmakers at other positions for much of his tenure.

When he left for the Denver Broncos, due to age and injury issues, there was an outpouring of criticism from the fans. He was a beloved player, often playing injured and helped keep the Dallas Cowboys afloat when they didn't have much reason to contend for the playoffs.

The 8-8 seasons at the start of the Jason Garrett tenure, though disappointing, were also a result of Ware's presence. Like Tony Romo on offense, if Ware hadn't been around, some of those historically bad defenses under Rob Ryan and Monte Kiffin would have been even worse and they wouldn't have so much as sniffed .500.

Ware went on to two more Pro Bowl appearances with the Denver Broncos and won a Super Bowl in 2016.

He's back helping the defensive linemen with the Dallas Cowboys and it's only a matter of time until he receives his Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame inductions.

8.  Calvin Hill, RB, Yale

Calvin Hill earned first-team All-Pro honors his first year in the NFL in 1969 and helped the Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl in 1971. He made the Pro Bowl four times with the Cowboys and never had less than 1,000 total yards for Dallas.

His career with the Cowboys was short-lived, but had an impact. Though they only won one Super Bowl with Hill on the roster, they made it to the NFC Championship game three other times, winning one.

7. Ed "Too Tall" Jones, DT, Tennessee St.

The first overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft, Ed "Too Tall" Jones was a huge part of the Dallas Cowboys reaching the Super Bowl four times in five years in the mid-70s. Jones played 15 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and averaged seven sacks a season from 1982 -- when sacks became an official stat -- to 1989.

Jones is a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, made the Pro Bowl three straight seasons from 1981 to 1983 with a first-team All-Pro selection in 1982.

Cowboys Blog - 4

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Irvin (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

6. Michael Irvin, WR, Miami

Michael Irvin may not have the statistical accomplishments that players like Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, and Cris Carter have, but it can't be understated how important Michael Irvin was to the success of the Dallas Cowboys in the 90s.

While Troy Aikman might have been seen as the leader of the team, Irvin was the heart of the team. The swagger that came from the Miami Hurricanes teams of the late 80s carried over with Irvin to his role on the Dallas Cowboys.

Selected 11th overall in 1988, Irvin was selected to the Pro Bowl five straight seasons from 1991-1995, earning first-team All-Pro accolades in 1991. That 1991 season was statistically Irvin's best as he went for more than 1,500-receiving yards and scored eight touchdowns. That season should extinguish any thought that Irvin wasn't in the same tier as Rice and Brown.

Though he's only 38th in receptions and 27th in receiving yards, Irvin was the epitome of a "do-it-all" receiver as his run blocking was a key to Emmitt Smith's success.


Irvin was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 and was a member of all three Super Bowl winning teams in the 1990s. Along with the other "Triplets," he maintains a place in the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

5. Tony Dorsett, RB, Pittsburgh

The second overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft, Tony Dorsett has his name in the Hall of Fame and rushed for more than 12,000 yards in his 11-year career. His career rushing total is ninth most in the history of the NFL. With more than 1,300-rushing yards in the playoffs, he sits 4th All-time.

As a rookie, he helped the Dallas Cowboys win their second Super Bowl in 1977. He was selected to three straight Pro Bowls from 1981-1983 and was a first team All-Pro in 1981. Also a member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

4. Randy White, DE, Maryland

Randy White was the second overall pick in the 1975 draft. "The Manster" was and still is a huge part of the Dallas Cowboys community.

White was named to the Pro Bowl nine straight seasons from 1977 to 1985, and in that same time frame was named to the All-Pro's first team eight times.

Randy White went to three Super Bowls with the franchise in the middle to late 70s, winning one in 1977. White and Harvey Martin were selected as Co-MVPs of Super Bowl XII.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994, White is in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.

2. Bob Lilly, DT, Texas Christian University

Cowboys Headlines - Bob Lilly Named "Greatest Cowboys Defender"

Dallas Cowboys DT Bob Lilly

Bob Lilly, also known as "Mr. Cowboy," was a part of the Dallas Cowboys teams of the 1960s and 1970s that affectionately became known as America's Team.

There's no way to quantify his impact to those teams since tackles and sacks aren't recorded with Pro Football Reference for the time that he played with the Cowboys. Cowboys historians, however, know the impact the Hall of Famer and Ring of Honor member had on the franchise.

He played 14 seasons with the Cowboys from 1961 to 1974 and was selected to the Pro Bowl 11 times, including 10 straight seasons from 1964 to 1973. Lilly was also selected to the All-Pro's first-team six years in a row and seven overall.

He was a feared member of the "Doomsday Defense" that tormented opposing teams in the 60s and 70s. Lilly helped the Dallas Cowboys win their first Super Bowl in 1971.

2. Emmitt Smith, RB, Florida

Emmitt Smith was drafted as the 17th overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. The NFL's All-Time leading Rusher was, like Troy Aikman, a big reason for the Dallas Cowboys' historic run in the early 90s. Emmitt was a huge part of the identity of those Cowboys teams that former teammate and current Head Coach Jason Garrett is trying to recreate.

He was a physical runner who played hurt and gave up his body for the team. It's incredible that he had a 14-year career and never suffered any major injuries. His durability is nearly as impressive as his statistics were.

Like Wayne Gretzky in the NHL, Smith's rushing totals will be nearly impossible to match or break as it has turned into more of a passing league, and given the way the NFL uses running backs in today's game.

Smith is a Hall of Famer and member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor and was awarded MVP for Super Bowl XXVIII.

1. Troy Aikman, QB, UCLA

When the Dallas Cowboys made Troy Aikman the number one overall pick in the 1989 draft, they were at a transition point in the history of the franchise. Jerry Jones had purchased the team and Jimmy Johnson was brought in as head coach. A lot of changes were underway, and they got everything they could have hoped for when selecting Aikman first overall.

He was a leader on and off the field, a great player, a three-time Super Bowl winner, and a Hall of Famer. He may not have the statistics of some of his contemporaries like Dan Marino, Joe Montana, or Brett Favre, but that is a result of the symbiotic balance the Dallas Cowboys were able to create with the run and pass game.

While he benefited from being on a great team, he was also a huge part of what made those teams great.

Aikman was selected as Super Bowl XXVII's MVP in their 52-17 win over the Buffalo Bills. He is a Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor member and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys have had tremendous success in the first round of NFL Drafts, more so than they've had flops.

Tonight they have a great chance to add to the legacy of those Hall of Fame players who have gone before them.


Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Ezekiel Elliott Quietly Having Best Start of His Career

Matthew Lenix

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Ezekiel Elliott Quietly Having Best Start of His Career

The Dallas Cowboys and All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott were the talk of the summer when negotiations for a long term extension came to an impasse. Slick maneuvering through the media on both ends left everyone on pins and needles. Ultimately, the two parties reached an agreement just days before the season opener on a six-year 90 million dollar extension with 50 million in guarantees. With his financial security now taken care of, it was time for Elliott to get a few practices under his belt before the season kicked off against the New York Giants. Now, after two weeks of action, it's clear Elliott has knocked off the rust and is ready to have another All-Pro season.

Elliott is traditionally a slow starter and this season was no different. The Cowboys dominated the Giants 35-17 mostly due to Dak Prescott's 405 yard 4 touchdown performance that also included a perfect 158.3 passer rating. With him slinging the ball around and producing points at will it was easy for the Cowboys to stick to their plan of limiting Elliott's touches. He finished with 53 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown as he knocked the dust off the tires so to speak.

Week two saw the Cowboys hit the road in another NFC East matchup with the Washington Redskins. Elliott came into the game having rushed for more yards (484) and more touchdowns (6) against the Redskins than any other team he's faced, including two 100 yard performances. This game was a steady dose of Elliott as he methodically racked up yardage. At halftime, he had 48 yards on 11 carries as the Cowboys held a 14-7 lead.

With the score 24-14 late in the fourth quarter, Elliott capped off a 10 play 54-yard drive with a score from two yards out with just over five minutes left. After a Redskins touchdown made it 31-21 the Cowboys got the ball back with just over two minutes left. Elliott broke a 27-yard run that iced the game and put his total at 111 yards on 23 carries as the Cowboys improved to 2-0. Just the kind of performance you want to see from your star runner after a quiet first game.


In 2016, Elliott had 134 yards and 2 touchdowns in his two games. He had 112 yards and no touchdowns the first two weeks of 2017 and 147 yards and 2 touchdowns last season in the first two games. This season he has 164 yards and 2 touchdowns in two games. With all the talk about the historic start of Dak Prescott, and rightfully so, what has gotten lost is that Elliott is currently off to the best start of his career through two games.

After carefully monitoring his snaps the first two games Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore is ready to put a full workload on Elliott going forward.

"This is our third game," Moore told the Dallas Morning News. "I think he's at that point where we're pretty much playing this thing out at this point. It was good those first two weeks just to be aware of it and then also trust Zeke's response and how he feels and all those things and just balancing that stuff out."

With all the restrictions gone Elliott can get back to his normal amount of reps. This Sunday the Cowboys host the Miami Dolphins and a defense that has allowed 102 points and 391 rushing yards in two games. Another opportunity for a big performance for the All-Pro and to continue reminding the world that he's the best at his position.

 


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Cowboys en Español: Mitos y Verdades en Dallas, Adiós Taco Charlton

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Taco Charlton

El ala defensiva producto de la universidad de Michigan, Taco Charlton, fue seleccionado en la primera ronda del NFL Draft 2017 por los Dallas Cowboys para la sorpresa de muchos. Con jugadores como T.J. Watt y Kevin King en la tabla, muchos esperaban que Stephen Jones y compañía tomaran una ruta diferente. Sin embargo, Rod Marinelli logró influir la selección del equipo y Charlton recibió la llamada. Desde ese momento, se convirtió en un jugador altamente debatido entre los aficionados y analistas de Dallas.

El 2019 es la tercera temporada de Charlton en la NFL y tras estar inactivo en las primeras dos semanas, los Cowboys lo dejaron ir. El motivo por el que Taco estuvo inactivo no era su salud, sino el hecho de que los coaches no lo vieron como uno de los mejores linieros defensivos. Se ha especulado por mucho tiempo sobre la relación entre Marinelli y Charlton, después de que algunos comentarios del coach y algunos directivos nos hicieron dudar sobre su ética de trabajo y su compromiso al equipo.

Según reportes de Jane Slater, Charlton solicitó al equipo un trade hace unos meses, cosa que los Cowboys no consiguieron con ningún equipo y por tanto resultó cortando al defensivo antes de la semana 3 de la temporada. Las cosas se "calentaron" después de que Charlton publicó en redes sociales "Free me." Gran parte por su corte es el regreso del defensivo Robert Quinn, quien estuvo suspendido las primeras dos semanas.

El domingo, Charlton enfrentará a su ex-equipo vistiendo los colores de los Miami Dolphins, mientras que Quinn hace lo mismo pero vistiendo el uniforme de los Dallas Cowboys. En Cowboys en Español, le deseamos éxito a Taco Charlton en su nuevo equipo.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Should be rid of all Rust

Mitos y Verdades

Con dos semanas de acción de los Dallas Cowboys, hemos visto y escuchado todo tipo de conclusiones. Algunas parecen ser una exageración, mientras otras tienen todo el sentido del mundo. Por eso es que hoy nos aventuramos a unas cuantas declaraciones comunes sobre el equipo y determinamos cuales son mitos y cuales son verdades...

Debido a la alta producción del juego aéreo en la ofensiva de Kellen Moore, muchos han pasado por alto el trabajo del corredor Ezekiel Elliott. Anteriormente, hemos visto un equipo de los Cowboys que se enfocaba principalmente en el juego terrestre y ahora no parece ser el caso.

Sin embargo, Elliott ha tenido un impacto importante. De hecho, después de dos juegos cuenta con el mejor inicio de su carrera. Hasta el momento ha acumulado 164 yardas en 36 acarreos. Su mejor marca en los primeros dos juegos de toda su carrera.

Veredicto: MITO. 

  • Michael Gallup es cosa seria

Las expectativas eran altas para el receptor de segundo año, Michael Gallup. Se esperaba que su rol incrementara drásticamente después de un 2018 que cerró con una participación importante. En training camp fue dominante y por fin lo pudo demostrar en el emparrillado.


A pesar de que tendrá que recuperarse de lesión, Gallup ha demostrado que la emoción que lo rodea es completamente real.

Veredicto: VERDAD. 

  • El interior de la línea defensiva podría ser un problema

Hasta el momento, una de las mayores decepciones ha sido la selección de segunda ronda de los Cowboys, Trysten Hill. El tackle defensivo de Central Florida ha estado en la lista de inactivos durante las primeras dos semanas.

Antwaun Woods sufrió una lesión contra los Washington Redskins que no parece muy seria. Sin embargo, no hemos visto mucha calidad por parte de los tackles defensivos. Hasta el momento, no hemos visto una dupla de titulares que nos hagan sentir mejor respecto la posición.

Veredicto: VERDAD

  • Somos un equipo pasador

Tras dos semanas, parece que este es el caso. Habiendo dicho eso, no estaré convencido de que la ofensiva mantendrá un nivel tan agresivo en el juego aéreo hasta que vea el mismo plan de juego coontra rivales más fuertes. Kellen Moore ha hecho todo bien por ahora, pero tengo muchas ganas de verlo en un escenario con más presión.

¿Volverá en un punto a depender del juego terrestre o seguirán apostando por Dak Prescott y el juego aéreo? Ya veremos.

Veredicto: VERDAD por ahora, por definir...

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Mitos y Verdades en Dallas, Adiós Taco Charlton" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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NFC East Weekly: Giants Change QBs, Eagles Take First Loss

Jess Haynie

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Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Giants

While we always have plenty to talk about when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, it's never a bad idea to look around our division and see what's happening with the rivals. This is the first is a new weekly feature on Inside The Star where we'll talk about the major happenings in the NFC East, and especially what they mean for the good guys.

Before we get into the headlines, though, here's a quick glace at the current standings for the division after Week 2 of the 2019 season:

  1. Dallas Cowboys 2-0 (2-0 vs division)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles 1-1 (1-0 vs division)
  3. New York Giants 0-2 (0-1 vs division)
  4. Washington Redskins 0-2 (0-2 vs division)

The Cowboys have started off the season in grand fashion, picking up two division wins against the Giants and Redskins. It's an incredible foundation from which to continue through 2019, and one that they will hopefully build on this week against the tanking Miami Dolphins.

Those division wins could be crucial this year if the Eagles live up to expectations. Despite the loss last week in Atlanta, Philly should still be right there in the end and the NFC East crown may come down that tie-breaking record against division opponents.

If these two weeks have shown us anything, it's that all projections of 2019 being a two-horse race between Dallas and Philadelphia were spot on. New York is as bad as most thought they'd be, and any thoughts of Washington being a plucky underdog are about gone now.

In fact, it only took two weeks for the Giants to throw in the towel and name rookie Daniel Jones their starting quarterback.

Eli Manning, New York Giants

New York Giants QB Eli Manning

End of the Eli Era

Remember this offseason when Giants' General Manager Dave Gettleman said that Eli Manning "had plenty left" going into 2019? Apparently it ran out fast, and it only took two losses for New York to promote Daniel Jones and effectively end Manning's run with the Giants. He had been the full-time starter since 2005.

Assuming that an injury or a total management meltdown don't lead to Eli being renamed as the starter, Jones will get six games under his belt before the rematch with the Cowboys in Week 9. The rookie gets a few soft opponents in Tampa Bay and Washington to start his career, but then it toughens up quickly with Minnesota and New England in Weeks 5 and 6.

Taking my Cowboys glasses off for a second, I actually am rooting for this kid. Daniel Jones was one the most maligned draft picks I've ever seen, basically declared a bust before he even had time to hug the commissioner on stage. On a purely human level, I'd like to see him prove people wrong.

We'll have plenty of time to look at Jones in the weeks and years to come. But before we change topics, I wanted to quickly reflect on the end of the Eli Era.

It was hard as a Dallas fan to watch Manning's success with two Super Bowl wins. Other than physical durability, there was nothing about Eli's game that made you think he was better than our own Tony Romo.


But happenstance is what makes the NFL work so well. It's why Week 1 in the NFL means more than the middle rounds of the NBA Playoffs; unpredictable outcomes make for greatest excitement and intrigue. The best teams and players don't always win, because single-elimination games and even single plays within can change history.

The bottom line is that "ifs" don't make legacies or Hall of Fame resumes. Like Batman said to Rachel Dawes, "it's what I do that defines me." Eli Manning won two championships against the greatest coach & QB combo of the last two decades. He kept his team relevant in the most competitive division in football more years than not.

If he doesn't make it into Canton then I won't think it's a tragedy. But if it does, it's absolutely deserved.

Carson Wentz, Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz

Eagles Lose 1st of 2019

Philadelphia fell behind a little in the race with Dallas by dropping their first game of the season, losing on the road against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday. A late touchdown by Julio Jones on 4th-down stole the game away from the Eagles.

All losses hurt in the NFL but this one wasn't too damaging. The record against NFC opponents is more relevant to Wild Card races than divisions crowns.

But for two weeks at least, the Cowboys have looked like the better team. They beat the Redskins by a wider margin on Sunday than the Eagles did, and that was even with the game being in Washington.

This week could allow the divide to increase. The Eagles will host the Detroit Lions, who have yet to lose a game this year (they finished Week 1 with a tie) while Dallas gets the league's worst team in Miami.

Also concerning coming out of the loss in Atlanta was that Carson Wentz had to leave the game, albeit briefly, after the NFL's medical spotter called for him to be examined for a concussion. Wentz has since stated that he was fine and the exam was unnecessary.

Even if the concussion exam was overzealous, the fact remains that Wentz was taking some big hits throughout that game. Given his history, one has to wonder if he can make it through the season without some better protection or more efforts to avoid contact.

Until he proves otherwise, Carson is going to be seen as injury prone. It's a fear that Eagles fans keep deep down, in places they don't like to talk about at parties or on Twitter, but it's there.

But if Philly slips up again this week against the Lions, especially with Dallas likely improving to 3-0, then a much more present and potent fear could start to take hold.


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