2010 NFL Draft: Ranking the Last 10 Drafts of the Dallas Cowboys
With all of this draft talk going on and people publishing mock drafts like they are going out of style, I decided to take a look back at the last decade of drafts for the Dallas Cowboys.
I have ranked each year's draft, giving each draft pick and an analysis of the players that made a difference in Dallas.
Too Soon to Tell: 2009 Draft
Pick 69- LB Jason Williams, Western Illinois
Pick 75- OT Robert Brewster, Ball State
Pick 101- QB Stephen McGee, Texas A&M
Pick 110- LB Victor Butler, Oregon State
Pick 120- LB Brandon Williams, Texas Tech
Pick 143- CB DeAngelo Smith, Cincinnati
Pick 166- S Michael Hamlin, Clemson
Pick 172- K David Buehler, USC
Pick 197- S Stephen Hodge, TCU
Pick 208- TE John Phillips, Virginia
Pick 227- CB Mike Mickens, Cincinnati
Pick 229- WR Manuel Johnson, Oklahoma
Although it was just last year, the 2009 draft is beginning to look like a very mediocre draft for the Cowboys.
K David Buehler
Last season, Buehler gave the Cowboys a much needed weapon on special teams. He led the league in touchbacks with 29. Buehler played the role of jack-of-all-trades for the Cowboys' special teams unit as he was also a contributor on punts. With the field goal kicker situation up in the air, Buehler may get a chance to handle that responsibility as well.
The Best of the Rest:
TE John Phillips
Phillips was a very serviceable backup to Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett last year. Although he only had seven receptions all year, he was a solid addition to the Cowboys. He is a better blocker than Bennett and was a good component to the running game. With these three tight ends, the Cowboys are set for next year.
The jury is still out on the rest of the players as none of them made any significant impact on the Cowboys last season. One major injury to a starter could force one of these young players into the lineup.
No. 9: 2000 Draft
Pick 49- CB Dwayne Goodrich, Tennessee
Pick 109- CB Kareem Larrimore, West Texas A&M
Pick 144- RB Michael Wiley, Ohio State
Pick 180- CB Mario Edwards, Florida State
Pick 219- LB Orantes Grant, Georgia
CB Mario Edwards
Edwards was the only player in this draft that made any significant contributions for the Cowboys. He played four seasons with Dallas, totaling four interceptions with two interception returns for touchdowns. He was a three-year starter for Dallas.
The other four players the Cowboys drafted in 2000 played only 10 total seasons in Dallas. They played in a combined 90 games for the Cowboys, starting only eight total games. This had to be one of the least successful drafts in Cowboys history. Other than Edwards, no player made a significant contribution.
No. 8: 2001 Draft
Pick 53- QB Quincy Carter, Georgia
Pick 56- S Tony Dixon, Alabama
Pick 93- DT Willie Blade, Mississippi State
Pick 122- LB Markus Steele, USC
Pick 137- G Matt Lehr, Virginia Tech
Pick 171- DT Daleroy Stewart, Southern Mississippi
Pick 207- DT Colston Weatherington, Central Missouri
PIck 240- DT John Nix, Southern Mississippi
Pick 242- OT Char-ron Dorsey, Florida State
QB Quincy Carter
Carter started 31 games for the Cowboys in just three years. His best season was in 2003 where he started all 16 games and led the Cowboys to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance. With Dallas, he totaled 29 touchdowns to go with 36 interceptions. He never really showed the Cowboys that he could be a good leader and a successful quarterback so they released him after just three years with the team.
The Best of the Rest:
G Matt Lehr, S Tony Dixon
Both Lehr and Dixon were solid players for the Cowboys, totaling a combined 37 starts in eight seasons with Dallas. Lehr started the entire 2003 season, but was released the next year. Dixon had 109 total tackles in his four seasons with the Cowboys.
The other six players started only a combined 17 games in their tenures with the Cowboys. None of them had any meaningful impact on the team.
No. 7: 2004 Draft
Pick 43- RB Julius Jones, Notre Dame
Pick 52- OT Jacob Rogers, USC
Pick 83- OT Stephen Peterman, LSU
Pick 121- CB Bruce Thornton, Georgia
Pick 144- TE Sean Ryan, Boston College
Pick 205- CB Nathan Jones, Rutgers
Pick 216- WR Patrick Crayton, Northwest Oklahoma State
Pick 223- CB Jacque Reeves, Purdue
P Mat McBriar, Hawaii
WR Patrick Crayton
Not much was expected of Crayton after being picked in the seventh round out of Northwest Oklahoma State, but he has turned into a solid player for the Cowboys. He is a very good slot receiver because he is quick and knows where to find the openings in the defense. His numbers aren't excellent, but they are good for that of a team's third receiver.
The Best of the Rest:
RB Julius Jones
Jones was a decent starter for the Cowboys during his time in Dallas, but he never did anything spectacular. He had one season over 1,000 yards rushing, but averaged only 3.6 yards per carry in his final season in Dallas. Dallas drafted Marion Barber one year later and they chose to stick with Barber over Jones.
P Mat McBriar
McBriar was an excellent pick up after the draft because he has been a good punter for the Cowboys for the past six seasons. He has a career average of 45 yards per punt. He has only allowed two punt returns for touchdowns, so he knows how to use his punts to force the returner into his punt coverage team.
No. 6: 2006 Draft
Pick 18- LB Bobby Carpenter, Ohio State
Pick 53- TE Anthony Fasano, Notre Dame
Pick 92- DE Jason Hatcher, Grambling State
Pick 125- WR Skyler Green, LSU
Pick 138- S Patrick Watkins, Florida State
Pick 182- DT Montavious Stanley, Louisville
Pick 211- OT Pat McQuistan, Weber State
Pick 224- C EJ Whitley, Texas Tech
WR Miles Austin, Monmouth
Find of the Draft:
WR Miles Austin
Austin finally got a chance to start in 2009 and he showed just how good he could be. He made the Pro Bowl after only starting nine games all year. He surpassed the 1,000 yard mark and was one of the most explosive receivers in the game. He has excellent size and speed and should only improve with more playing time.
The Jury is Still Out:
LB Bobby Carpenter
Bobby Carpenter has been labeled as a bust so far in his career, but he has not received enough playing time to really tell how good or bad he will be. Last season, he finally began to play in nickel and dime situations and he had a pretty good year. He finished with 46 tackles and two sacks, and he definitely looked a lot more comfortable near the end of the year.
DE Jason Hatcher
Hatcher has given the Cowboys a good backup for starting DE Marcus Spears, but he too has not received enough playing time to make a real judgment. He only plays in certain situations, but he has all the physical tools needed to play as a 3-4 defensive end in the Cowboys' scheme. With Marcus Spears possibly leaving in free agency next year, Hatcher may be asked to step into a starting role.
Patrick Watkins has been a solid special teams player for the Cowboys, but that is really it. He got his chance as a starting safety but he didn't run with the opportunity. With Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh back as the starting safeties, Watkins will be stuck playing on special teams and in mop up duty.
No. 5: 2007 Draft
Pick 26- LB Anthony Spencer, Purdue
Pick 67- OT James Marten, Boston College
Pick 103- WR Isaiah Stanback, Washington
Pick 122- OT Doug Free, Northern Illinois
Pick 178- K Nick Folk, Arizona
Pick 195- FB Deon Anderson, Connecticut
Pick 212- CB Courtney Brown, Cal Poly
Pick 237- CB Alan Ball, Illinois
LB Anthony Spencer
Last season, in his first full year as a starter, Spencer looked lost at first. He didn't get his first sack until week 12, but after that point, he was almost unblockable. He forms an excellent duo with DeMarcus Ware and should get even better next year. It seems like he is finally getting used to rushing from a two-point stance.
The Best of the Rest:
OT Doug Free
At the end of last season, Free filled in for an injured Marc Colombo at right tackle and was very effective. He has all the physical tools needed to play right tackle, but people question whether or not he will be able to transition to left tackle. He will be the primary backup to both tackle spots and will be able to fill in in an instant if either Flozell Adams or Colombo gets hurt.
FB Deon Anderson
Anderson has been a solid lead blocker for the Cowboys, but he doesn't really have much value otherwise. Dallas has often used a two tight end set rather than having a fullback, and with the blocking ability of tight end John Phillips, Anderson may not be back next season.
CB Alan Ball
Last season, Ball was used as the dime cornerback and was a backup at both safety spots. He is a good player to have in your defensive backfield because he can play any position. He may not be the most talented player, but he has been in the system for three years now and is comfortable with anything that is thrown at him.
What Could Have Been:
K Nick Folk
Folk entered the league with a bang in 2007, making the Pro Bowl right out of college. He showed the world he had ice in his veins when he hit the game-winning 53 yard field goal against the Bills on Monday Night Football. Last season, he made only 18 of his 28 field goal attempts and was eventually cut a few weeks before the playoffs. He may get another chance because the Cowboys have yet to find a replacement.
No. 4: 2002 Draft
Pick 8- S Roy Williams, Oklahoma
Pick 37- C Andre Gurode, Colorado
Pick 63- WR Antonio Bryant, Pittsburgh
Pick 75- CB Derek Ross, Ohio State
Pick 129- FB Jamar Martin, Ohio State
Pick 168- CB Pete Hunter, Virginia Union
Pick 179- C Tyson Walter, Ohio State
Pick 208- WR DeVeren Johnson, Sacred Heart
Pick 211- TE Bob Slowikowski, Virginia Tech
C Andre Gurode
Gurode has been a key player for the Cowboys since he was drafted. In his eight seasons with Dallas, he has started 106 of a possible 128 games. When he first came to the Cowboys, he played both guard and center, but he has now established himself as one of the best centers in the game. He has been named to the Pro Bowl for the past four years and was named an All-Pro in 2007.
The Best of the Rest:
S Roy Williams
Williams had a very rocky relationship with the Cowboys, but the talent was always there. During his time with the Cowboys, he was one of the most feared safeties in the game. He was excellent in run support and was not afraid to make a big hit. His problem was in pass coverage. When he had a free safety playing with him that was good in coverage, Williams was able to play closer to the line where he excelled. He totaled 506 tackles and 19 interceptions in seven years with the Cowboys.
WR Antonio Bryant
Bryant had a very successful rookie season with the Cowboys, starting all but one game. He had over 700 yards in his first season, but his play tailed off after that, which caused the Cowboys to trade him to the Cleveland Browns. He has had two seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving since his departure from Dallas, leaving fans wondering what could have been if he would've stayed out of trouble in Dallas.
CB Derek Ross started nine games as a rookie and had five interceptions. He seemed as if he was going to be a solid starter for the Cowboys, but just three years into his career, he was out of the league.
No. 3: 2008 Draft
Pick 22- RB Felix Jones, Arkansas
Pick 25- CB Mike Jenkins, South Florida
Pick 61- TE Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M
Pick 122- RB Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech
Pick 143- CB Orlando Scandrick, Boise State
Pick 167- DE Erik Walden, Middle Tennessee
CB Mike Jenkins
Jenkins is really starting to show the Cowboys that he was worthy of a first round draft pick. He made his first Pro Bowl last season and will only get better with more experience. He is excellent in man coverage and has very good ball skills. He led Dallas with five interceptions last year, a number that will most likely grow in years to come.
The Best of the Rest:
RB Felix Jones
Last season, Felix Jones showed everyone just how explosive he can be when he is completely healthy. He averaged nearly six yards per carry over the entire season. It seemed like offensive coordinator Jason Garrett finally found some ways to get the ball to Jones in space.
TE Martellus Bennett
Going into last season, everyone in the world had extremely high expectations for Bennett. He ended up being a major disappointment, only having 15 receptions all year. He is still only 22-years-old and has a lot of raw potential. His athletic ability is extremely rare for a tight end and he should be able to iron a few things out and come back strong next year.
RB Tashard Choice
Although very talented and loaded with potential, Choice has a hard time finding the field in a crowded backfield with Felix Jones and Marion Barber. Last season, he only had 64 rushing attempts, but he had an average of 5.5 yards per rush. The talent is there with Choice, but his opportunities will be limited unless something drastic happens.
Too Early to Tell:
CB Orlando Scandrick
Scandrick is a very talented player. At times he has shown that he can be a good corner in the NFL, but the sample size is not big enough. He only played in nickel and dime situations last year, so he hasn't played a whole lot. From what I've seen so far, it looks like he has a lot of the skills and instincts that a corner needs to be successful.
As of right now, I would give this draft a B+ with the potential to go a lot higher in the next few years. Most of these players are just realizing their potential and should only get better next year.
No. 2: 2003 Draft
Pick 5- CB Terence Newman, Kansas State
Pick 38- C Al Johnson, Wisconsin
Pick 69- TE Jason Witten, Tennessee
Pick 103- LB Bradie James, LSU
Pick 178- CB BJ Tucker, Wisconsin
Pick 186- WR Zuriel Smith, Hampton
Pick 219- G Justin Bates, Colorado
S Keith Davis, Sam Houston
QB Tony Romo, Eastern Illinois
TE Jason Witten
When the Cowboys drafted Witten in the third round in 2003, they had finally found their franchise tight end. In his seven years with the Cowboys, Witten has started 101 out of a possible 112 games, showing how dependable he has been. He has totaled 27 touchdowns in his career and has been named to the Pro Bowl six times.
The Best of the Rest:
CB Terence Newman
Newman has been exactly what everyone in Dallas thought he would be when they drafted him: a borderline shut-down corner. He has had health problems the last couple of years, but when he is healthy he is one of the best corners in the league. He has 23 career interceptions and has been named to the Pro Bowl twice in his seven-year career.
LB Bradie James
When people think of Bradie James, the first word that should come to mind is consistency. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2005, James has never missed a game. In his five full seasons as a starter, he has eclipsed 100 tackles four times. Despite being so consistent every year, James has never been named to a Pro Bowl. His best season came in 2008 when he totaled 116 tackles, eight sacks, and three forced fumbles.
Both Tony Romo and Keith Davis were undrafted free agents who signed with the Cowboys after the 2003 draft. We all know how talented Romo is, and this year he finally showed that he is capable of winning a playoff game. He has been named to the Pro Bowl three times and has 107 career touchdown passes.
Davis was a special teams ace in his time with the Cowboys. He was consistently the best player on the special teams unit, which eventually led to a chance to start at safety next to Roy Williams. While he wasn't the most instinctive safety, he did a decent job of holding the position until the Cowboys found a more suitable replacement.
No. 1: 2005 Draft
Pick 11- LB DeMarcus Ware, Troy
Pick 20- DE Marcus Spears, LSU
Pick 42- LB Kevin Burnett, Tennessee
Pick 109- RB Marion Barber III, Minnesota
Pick 132- DE Chris Canty, Virginia
Pick 208- S Justin Beriault, Ball State
Pick 209- OT Rob Petitti, Pittsburgh
Pick 224- DT Jay Ratliff, Auburn
RB Tyson Thompson, San Jose State
LB DeMarcus Ware
This one is a no-brainer. He is considered by some to be the best defensive player in the game and is definitely one of the five best. He has meant everything to the Cowboys' defense, as offensive coordinators constantly have to change their game-planning to offset Ware's abilities.
The Best of the Rest:
DE Marcus Spears
Spears may be considered by some to be a bust because he doesn't have great stats, but his position is not one that is meant to accumulate them. As a 3-4 defensive end, his job is to occupy blockers so the linebackers can run free and stuff the run. He does an excellent job at these two things and should be considered one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL today.
LB Kevin Burnett
Since being drafted by the Cowboys, Burnett has left for greener pastures in San Diego but he had an impact during his time in Dallas. Burnett played as the nickel and dime linebacker because of his unique set of skills. He wasn't the biggest or most powerful player in the league, but he had excellent speed and instincts that allowed him to be effective in coverage on passing downs.
RB Marion Barber III
Marion the Barbarian has been a solid running back for the Cowboys. He had his best years when he was the backup to Julius Jones because he could come in and wear out the defenses in the second half. Now that he is starting, he has begun to tire out more quickly and he is more prone to injuries. Look for Felix Jones to be the starting back next year, with Barber coming off the bench like he did a few years back.
DE Chris Canty
Canty was another solid defensive end that fit well in the Cowboys' scheme. He was a big body that occupied blockers and stuffed the run well. He left the Cowboys before last season to go to the division rival New York Giants where he is being used as a defensive tackle.
NT Jay Ratliff
Ratliff was the steal of the draft as he was selected in the seventh round out of Auburn. Since being drafted, he has been named to the Pro Bowl twice and was named an All-Pro last season. He has excellent quickness and constantly wreaks havoc in the opposing team's backfield. He is one of the few nose tackles in the league who constantly gets pressure on passing plays.