1978 Begins a String of Mediocre Dallas Drafts
This post is part of the 50 Seasons in 50 Weeks Series.
The Cowboys run of good fortune in the draft during the Landry/Schramm/Brandt era came to an end in 1978. Dallas picked up its best player in the 1978 draft in the 11th round, taking the namesake for Thurman’s Thieves. Here’s a look:
|1||Larry Bethea||DT||Michigan State||Dallas, 1978-1983|
|2||Todd Christensen||TE||BYU||N.Y. Giants, 1979;
Oakland/L.A. Raiders, 1979-1988
|4||Alois Blackwell||RB||Houston||Dallas 1978-1979|
|6||Harold Randolph||LB||East Carolina||n/a|
|7||Tom Randall||G||Iowa State||Dallas, 1978; Houston
|11||Dennis Thurman||DB||USC||Dallas, 1978-1985; St.
Louis Cardinals, 1986
|12||Lee Washburn||B||Montana State||n/a|
Bethea played as a backup for six years in Dallas before moving on to the USFL. His took his own life in 1987 after being involved in two armed robberies.
Christensen became an all-pro tight end with the Raiders, but he never played a down with the Cowboys. Blackwell and Randall were backups during their short tenures in Dallas.
Thurman became a starter by 1980 and recorded 36 interception during his eight-year career with the Cowboys. Tom Landry’s decision to release Thurman after the 1985 season was one of several mistakes the team made during the mid-1980s.
My grade: C. The 1978 draft was not a great one, but there were a few players Dallas could have taken. Al “Bubba” Baker was available at #40 overall, where he was taken by Detroit. Another solid player available in the early rounds was receiver Mike Renfro (4th round, Houston), who eventually joined the Cowboys in 1984.
Picking last did not help the Cowboys, and the problem would not get better in the coming years.