50 Seasons Series: 1968 Marks a Transition for the Dallas Cowboys

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The 1968 season for the Dallas Cowboys marked the beginning of a transition. Many remember that year as the final season for Don Meredith and Don Perkins, who retired before the team experienced championship glory in the 1970s.

In addition to the departure of Meredith and Perkins, two other Cowboys bowed out of the spotlight to an extent.

Dan Reeves, who had shown so much talent in the backfield, tore up his knee early in the 1968 season and was never the same afterward.

Bob Hayes remained a starter after 1968, but he never again had more than 900 yards receiving after 1968, nor did he ever catch more than 50 passes in a season after that year.

What did not change for the Cowboys was the defense that had improved every season. The team lost defensive end Willie Townes to injury, but Dallas found in the 16th round of the draft a defensive end who would remain with the team for more than a decade.

1968 Draft

The Cowboys had picks in each round of the 1968 draft. The first four picks in 1968 were less than impressive, but the Cowboys more than made up those selections.


Round

Name

Pos.

College

Career
1 Dennis Homan WR Alabama Dallas, 1968-1970; Kansas
City, 1971-1972
2 Dave McDaniels WR Miss. Valley State Dallas, 1968
3 Ed Harmon LB Louisville Cincinnati, 1969
4 John Douglas LB Missouri New York Giants, 1970-1973
5 Blaine Nye G Stanford Dallas, 1968-1976
6 D.D. Lewis LB Mississippi State Dallas, 1968-1981
7 Bob Taucher T Nebraska n/a
8 Frank Brown DT Albany State n/a
9 Ken Kmiec DB Illinois n/a
10 Ben Olison FL Kansas n/a
11 Ron Shotts RB Oklahoma n/a
12 Wilson Whitty LB Boston University n/a
13 Carter Lord FL Harvard n/a
14 Ron Williams DB West Virginia n/a
15 Tony Lunceford K Auburn n/a
16 Larry Cole DE Hawaii Dallas, 1968-1980
17 George Nordgren RB Houston n/a

First-round pick Dennis Homan did not have much of an NFL career, catching a total of 37 passes in five seasons. Homan caught a touchdown pass in his very first NFL game in 1968 but then never caught a touchdown pass with the Cowboys again. He had much better luck with Birmingham franchises of the World Football League.

Blaine Nye, D.D. Lewis, and Larry Cole were outstanding picks, putting in a combined 36 seasons with the Cowboys.

Grade the 1968 Draft

Select your grade for the 1968 draft by using the form below or by visiting Zoho polls.

My Grade: B+

Although the Cowboys missed on their first four picks, the team picked up a starting offensive lineman along with two key role players on defense. I did not give this draft a grade in the A range because there were so many misses– ten players never played a down in the NFL.

  • I gave the draft a C+. Too many (na)s on that list, 10 to be exact. I think Blaine Nye was the best pick of the draft. He turned out to be an ALL PRO and made a few Pro Bowls before succombing to injury. The Gentle Giant is what he is or was referred to.

    Of course, Cole and DD Lewis were great picks also as both put in some SOLID years on defense..

  • Although the Cowboys had picks in every round, they did in fact trade two picks away, but they also acquired two picks in trades to make up for the losses:

    The Cowboys traded their original 3rd round pick to Minnesota for Lance Rentzel, but acquired a 3rd rounder from Chicago in exchange for Austin Denney and Mac Percival.

    They also traded their original 4th round pick to New Orleans in exchange for Larry Stephens, but acquired a 4th round pick from New York in exchange for Jim Colvin.

    By the way, Nye and Cole were founding members of the Zero Club (to be joined in 1970 by Pat Toomay). The fact that Cole made a habit of scoring TDs against the Redskins almost cost him his membership!

  • Matt Cordon

    Thanks, Fred. I just found a reference to those trades in one of the DMN articles.

  • Tim Truemper

    Thanks Fred for mentioning the “Zero Club.” I believe their motto was “All for none and all for naught.”

    I was not aware that Larry Cole cost his membership with his TD’s against Washington. I do know that Blaine Nye often had astute observations about the team. I can’t quite recall a quote he had about Clint Longley–it was pithy and not complimentary.

    Regarding Blaine Nye’s All Pro career–according to Pro Football Reference, he did not make any major All Pro teams (he did make two pro bolws). John Niland though did make two All Pro Teams and was 6 time Pro Bowler). Two great guards for Dallas for sure.

  • I believe Nye’s quote about Longley’s performance was that it was a “triumph of the uncluttered mind”.

    I assume as the backup to Roger, he rarely took any snaps with the first team, and probably didn’t pay a lot of attention during team meetings. So when his number was called, he didn’t have to worry about remembering all the details of Landry’s famously complex “multiple offense”.

    He just went out there and flung it!