50 Seasons Series: The Ups and Downs of Bill Parcells’ Drafts

The Cowboys had two great drafts coupled with two subpar drafts under Bill Parcells.

In 2003, Jerry Jones proved his commitment to returning the Dallas Cowboys to prominence by convincing Bill Parcells to return to the sidelines. Parcells inherited a team that had only managed to win 15 games in the previous three seasons.

In his four seasons with the team, Parcells built what is still the nucleus of the team. Two of the drafts were especially critical, as the team in 2003 and 2005 picked up the likes of Terence Newman, Jason Witten, Bradie James, DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Marion Barber, and Jay Ratliff.

Then there were the other two drafts. In 2004, Dallas thought it was getting the team’s next great running back by taking Julius Jones, but he never managed to make people forget about Emmitt Smith or Tony Dorsett.  Two years later, Dallas took a chance with Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter while teams below Dallas took players such as Antonion Cromartie, DeAngelo Williams, Nick Mangold, Joseph Addai, and DeMeco Ryans.  The Cowboys traded Carpenter during the off-season in 2010, and he has since been released by two teams, including Miami, for which Parcells now serves as a consultant.

Here is a complete list of the drafts under Parcells:


1(5) Terence Newman, CB, Kansas State
2(38) Al Johnson, C, Wisconsin
3(69) Jason Witten, TE, Tennessee
4(103) Bradie James, LB, LSU
6(178) B.J. Tucker, DB, Wisconsin
6(186) Zuriel Smith, WR, Hampton
7(219) Justin Bates, G, Colorado


2(43) Julius Jones, RB, Notre Dame
2(52) Jacob Rogers, T, USC
3(83) Stephen Peterman, G, LSU
4(121) Bruce Thornton, DB, Georgia
5(144) Sean Ryan, TE, Boston College
7(205) Nate Jones, DB, Rutgers
7(216) Patrick Crayton, WR, NW Oklahoma
7(223) Jacques Reeves, DB, Purdue


1(11) DeMarcus Ware, LB, Troy
1(20) Marcus Spears, DE, LSU
2(42) Kevin Burnett, LB, Tennessee
4(109) Marion Barber, RB Minnesota
4(132) Chris Canty, DE, Virginia
6(203) Justin Beriault, DB, Ball State
6(209) Rob Petitti, T, Pittsburgh
7(224) Jay Ratliff, DE, Auburn


1(18) Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio State
2(53) Anthony Fasano, TE, Notre Dame
3(92) Jason Hatcher, DE, Grambling State
4(125) Skyler Green, WR, LSU
5(138) Pat Watkins, DB, Florida State
6(182) Montavious Stanley, DT, Louisville
7(211) Pat McQuistan, T, Weber State
7(224) E.J. Whitley, C, Texas Tech

The Cowboys certainly would not have had the success they did in the later part of the decade without the two solid drafts, but one can only imagine how good the team could have been if the drafts in 2004 and 2006 had been better.

  • Andyhe

    Yep I remember in ’04 we passed on Steven Jackson (who really wanted to be a Cowboy) and picked Julius Jones. What a mistake.