1994 Review: Larry Allen Highlights an Otherwise Woeful Draft Class

The selection of Larry Allen was the highlight of the 1994 draft.

Heading into the 1994 season, the Cowboys had very few holes to fill. The biggest loss was linebacker Ken Norton, Jr., who signed with San Francisco. However, Dallas still had pretty good depth at the linebacker position, which helped to soften the blow.  The Cowboys otherwise had lost some important role players in Jimmie Jones, Thomas Everett, John Gesek, Kevin Gogan, and Bernie Kosar. Dallas also lost offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who became the head coach of the Redskins. However, the core of the team and many of its important reserves would return.

Down the road, though, the 1994 offseason was similar to those to come, as the team slowly saw its core gutted and failed to bring in enough talent to remain a championship caliber team.

As for the effect of the biggest loss in 1994– Jimmy Johnson– the Cowboys probably needed his drafting insight. The team moved up from 28th to 23rd to snag Arizona State defensive end Shante Carver, though some considered him to be a reach in the first round.

From the Dallas Morning News:

[S]everal NFL personnel directors compiled scouting reports on Carver that differed sharply from the Cowboys’. While the Philadelphia Eagles included Carver in the top 20 players, the San Francisco 49ers listed him a potential third-round draft choice. That is the round in which they drafted Haley in 1986. The personnel directors for two other NFC teams considered the Cowboys’ decision a reach for the 23rd overall pick.

Despite a school-record 41 sacks for Arizona State, Carver is considered undersized and somewhat slow to be a successful pass rusher in the NFL.

The result: 52 games in 4 seasons with 11.5 sacks.

The second-round pick may have appeared to be a reach as well, but Larry Allen turned out to be perhaps the best lineman in team history. In 12 seasons, he made the Pro Bowl 10 times and was named All-Pro six times. He will almost certainly be the next player to earn a trip to Canton.

The others didn’t come close to Hall of Fame status, to say the least.

1(23) Shante Carver, DE, Arizona State
2(46) Larry Allen, G, Sonoma State
3(102) George Hegamin, T, North Carolina State
4(109) Willie Jackson, WR, Florida
4(131) DeWayne Dotson, LB, Mississippi
6(191) Darren Studsill, DB, West Virginia
7(216) Toddrick McIntosh, DE, Florida State

George Hegamin became a starter by 1997 when Mark Tuinei went down with an injury. However, Hegamin was gone by 1998. Of the other four, only Studsill played in a game for the Cowboys (one game in 1994).

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