Underappreciated Dallas Cowboys: Tackles

This is part of the series on the All-Time Team of Underappreciated Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys have one tackle in the Hall of Fame (as well as the Ring of Honor), so the clear-cut choice as the greatest tackle in team history is Rayfield Wright.

As for the other tackle, there are some good choices. On ESPN’s poll, Erik Williams took the second spot by receiving 58.1% of the votes.

That leaves several other quality tackles for our All-Time Team of Underappreciated Dallas Cowboys.

Here are the ESPN poll results.

1. Rayfield Wright (68.9%)
2. Erik Williams (58.1%)
3. Flozell Adams (44.1%)
4. Mark Tuinei (19.6%)
5. Pat Donovan (5.6%)
6. Ralph Neely (3.6%)

Rather surprisingly, Wright does have the highest approximate value of the tackles according to Pro Football Reference. Here is the list:

Rk From To G Pos AV ?
1 Ralph Neely 1965 1977 172 T 124
2 Rayfield Wright 1967 1979 164 T 104
3 Flozell Adams 1998 2009 182 T 94
4 Erik Williams 1991 2000 141 T 86
5 Mark
Tuinei
1983 1997 195 T 80
6 Pat Donovan 1975 1983 129 T 73
7 Marc Colombo 2006 2010 72 T 36
8 Phil Pozderac 1982 1987 70 T 20
9 Jim Boeke 1964 1967 52 T 15
10 Doug Free 2009 2010 32 T 12
11 Andy Frederick 1977 1981 77 T 10
12 Rob Petitti 2005 2005 16 T 8
13 Ed Nutting 1963 1963 14 T 6
14 Daryle Smith 1987 1988 23 T 6
15 Charley Granger 1961 1961 8 T 5
16 Kurt Vollers 2003 2004 26 T 5
17 George Hegamin 1996 1997 29 G 5
18 Chris Schultz 1985 1985 16 T 4
19 Clyde Brock 1962 1963 18 T 3
20 Ryan Young 2003 2003 11 T 3
21 Byron Bradfute 1960 1961 17 T 2
22 Sal Cesario 1987 1987 3 T 2
23 Steve Cisowski 1987 1987 3 T 2
24 Pat McQuistan 2007 2008 32 T 2
25 Alex Barron 2010 2010 11 T 1
26 Javier Collins 2002 2002 9 T 1
27 Char-ron Dorsey 2001 2001 8 T 1
28 Jason Fabini 2006 2006 15 T 1
29 Bill Frank 1964 1964 4 T 1
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/18/2011.

From this, four candidates emerge:

1. Ralph Neely: 2-time Pro Bowler & 3-time First-Team All-Pro. Neely was the starter at left tackle for both Super Bowl championships of the 1970s.

2. Flozell Adams: 5-time Pro Bowler. Adams took over at left tackle in 1999 and lasted there for a decade.

3. Mark Tuinei: 2-time Pro Bowler. Tuinei was originally a defensive tackle but became a starter at left tackle by 1989.

4. Pat Donovan: 4-time Pro Bowler. Donovan was a starter when the Cowboys reached three NFC championship games in a row in the early 1980s.

We’ll also throw in Marc Columbo, who has been a starter for five years but who has not made a Pro Bowl.

Here are the results:

Neely, 30%
Tuinei, 30%
Adams, 21%
Donovan, 14%
Columbo, 2%
Other (nonsense), 2%

  • Krl97a

    Ralph Neely was 1960s All Decade and excelled at multiple positions on the line, but he doesn’t get talked about a lot today.

  • Timothytrump

    Both Ralph Neely and Pat Donovan are not thought of anymore. Neely was very mobile and a good pass blocker (though he got his share of holding penalities). Even with his higher AV, I still think Rayfield Wright was the better overall player. Pat Donovan was an elite player who was unappreciated even when he was playing. He more than held his own against some of the best defensive ends of his time. He also did not get many penalties. A true anchor on the offensive line for the time he was there. It should be mentioned that AV often his higher (from the Pro Football Reference system) for non-skill position players if they have played more games.

  • There’s a movement on FB to push Neely for the HOF: https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49002774543