Underappreciated Dallas Cowboys: Defensive Line

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

The Cowboys have been blessed since early in their history with some great defensive linemen. The list of names that appeared at the top of the ESPN poll were hardly surprising, though there are a few notable omissions. Here were the results:

Defensive Ends

1. Too Tall Jones (76.8%)
2. Charles Haley (53.6%)
3. Harvey Martin (42.8%)
4. Jim Jeffcoat (18%)
5. George Andrie (6.8%)
6. Larry Cole (1.9%)

Defensive Tackles

1. Randy White (86.8%)
2. Bob Lilly (75.6%)
3. Leon Lett (14.8%)
4. Jay Ratliff (10.6%)
5. Russell Maryland (5.4%)
6. La’Roi Glover (2.9%)
7. Chad Hennings (1.7%)
8. Jethro Pugh (1.6%)
9. John Dutton (.6%)

Among more recent players, Greg Ellis didn’t get a single vote in the poll. Fans from the 1990s will also note the absence of Tony Tolbert, who was a very solid run-stopper and generally underrated throughout his career. George Andrie also didn’t get enough attention, given that he was a five-time Pro Bowler.

As for defensive tackles, Lett probably received a little bit too much attention, given the quality of several of the others. I would argue that Glover was more consistent in his time in Dallas, and given more years, I think that Ratliff will have a better career than Lett did.

Here is the complete AV list of defensive linemen:

Rk From To G Pos AV ?
1 Bob Lilly 1961 1974 196 DE 175
2 Randy White 1975 1988 209 DE 156
3 Too Tall Jones 1974 1989 224 DE 133
4 Jethro Pugh 1965 1978 183 DE 107
5 Harvey Martin 1973 1983 158 DE 100
6 George Andrie 1962 1971 138 DE 95
7 Larry Cole 1968 1980 176 DE 87
8 Greg Ellis 1998 2008 162 DE 85
9 Jim Jeffcoat 1983 1994 188 DE 73
10 Tony Tolbert 1989 1997 144 DE 72
11 John Dutton 1979 1987 117 DE 51
12 La’Roi Glover 2002 2005 64 DT 49
13 Jay Ratliff 2005 2010 82 DE 46
14 Leon Lett 1992 2000 104 DE 46
15 Chad Hennings 1992 2000 119 DE 44
16 Charles Haley 1992 1996 63 DE 41
17 Russell Maryland 1991 1995 75 DT 36
18 Marcus R. Spears 2005 2010 88 DE 34
19 Tony Casillas 1991 1997 77 DT 34
20 Pat Toomay 1970 1974 70 DE 31
21 Anthony Spencer 2007 2010 60 DE 23
22 Jim Colvin 1964 1966 42 DE 23
23 Chris L. Canty 2005 2008 64 DE 23
24 Kavika Pittman 1996 1999 61 DE 21
25 Danny Noonan 1987 1992 67 DE 21
26 Ebenezer Ekuban 1999 2003 59 DE 21
27 Brandon Noble 1999 2002 64 DT 21
28 Larry Stephens 1963 1967 63 DE 19
29 Michael Myers 1998 2002 67 DE 18
30 Bill Gregory 1971 1977 96 DE 18
31 Lee Folkins 1962 1964 41 DE 18
32 John Wilbur 1966 1969 50 DE 17
33 Willie Townes 1966 1968 32 DE 17
34 Shante Carver 1994 1997 52 DE 16
35 Alonzo Spellman 1999 2000 32 DE 14
36 Jimmie Jones 1990 1993 63 DE 14
37 Kevin Brooks 1985 1988 48 DE 14
38 Peppi Zellner 1999 2002 57 DE 12
39 Igor Olshansky 2009 2010 32 DE 12
40 Guy Reese 1962 1963 28 DT 12
41 John Meyers 1962 1963 28 DT 12
42 Nate Borden 1960 1961 26 DE 11
43 Don Healy 1960 1961 26 DT 11
44 Dean Hamel 1989 1990 28 DT 11
45 Danny Stubbs 1990 1991 25 DE 10
46 Jason Ferguson 2005 2006 32 DT 10
47 Maury Youmans 1964 1965 28 DE 9
48 Dave Stalls 1977 1979 43 DE 9
49 Stephen Bowen 2007 2010 62 DE 9
50 Hurvin McCormack 1995 1998 60 DT 9
51 Broderick Thomas 1996 1997 32 DE 8
52 Jim Doran 1960 1961 26 DE 8
53 Kenyon Coleman 2003 2006 56 DE 8
54 Monte Clark 1962 1962 14 DE 8
55 Larry Bethea 1978 1983 81 DE 8
56 Leonardo Carson 2003 2004 23 DT 8
57 Jim Ray Smith 1963 1964 12 DE 7
58 Don Smerek 1982 1987 67 DE 7
59 Jason Hatcher 2006 2010 75 DE 7
60 Bill Herchman 1960 1961 25 DT 7
61 Willie Blade 2003 2003 15 DT 7
62 Marcellus Wiley 2004 2004 16 DE 6
63 Tody Smith 1971 1972 17 DE 6
64 Eric Ogbogu 2003 2004 31 DE 6
65 L.P. Ladouceur 2005 2010 88 DE 6
66 Ron East 1967 1970 56 DE 6
67 Ed Husmann 1960 1960 12 DE 5
68 John Gonzaga 1960 1960 11 DE 5
69 Gene Cronin 1960 1960 11 DE 5
70 Buzz Guy 1960 1960 12 DT 5
71 Paul Dickson 1960 1960 8 DT 5
72 Willie Broughton 1989 1989 16 DT 5
73 Antonio Anderson 1997 1997 16 DE 4
74 Mark Walen 1987 1988 24 DE 3
75 Bruce Thornton 1979 1981 41 DE 3
76 Tank Johnson 2007 2008 24 DT 3
77 Andy Stynchula 1968 1968 5 DE 2
78 Artie Smith 1998 1998 16 DE 2
79 Garry Porterfield 1965 1965 2 DE 2
80 Demetric Evans 2001 2001 16 DE 2
81 Daleroy Stewart 2003 2003 15 DT 2
82 Junior Siavii 2009 2009 16 DT 2
83 Bill Sandeman 1966 1966 8 DT 2
84 John Nix 2001 2002 30 DT 2
85 Ken Frost 1961 1962 17 DT 2
86 Mike Dwyer 1987 1987 3 DT 2
87 Randy Watts 1987 1987 5 DE 1
88 Greg Schaum 1976 1976 12 DE 1
89 Ray Perkins 1987 1987 2 DE 1
90 Tony L. Hill 1991 1991 8 DE 1
91 Byron Frisch 2001 2001 13 DE 1
92 Dimitrius Underwood 2000 2000 15 DT 1
93 Dick Klein 1960 1960 7 DT 1
94 Forrest Gregg 1971 1971 6 DT 1
95 Chad Eaton 2004 2004 6 DT 1
96 Jon Carter 1989 1989 13 DT 1
97 Darren Benson 1997 1997 6 DT 1
98 Dowe Aughtman 1984 1984 7 DT 1
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/18/2011.

My votes:

Defensive Ends: George Andrie and Tony Tolbert

Notes: I don’t think that Jim Jeffcoat or Greg Ellis were underappreciated while they were here. Both were solid players who were later overshadowed by better talent (Charles Haley in Jeffcoat’s situation; DeMarcus Ware in Ellis’ situation). Larry Cole was a contributor for a long time, but I don’t think he was as important during his time than Andrie was in the 1960s or Tolbert in 1990s. Thus, my votes go to Andrie and Tolbert.

Defensive Tackles: Jethro Pugh and La’Roi Glover

Notes: Pugh spent 14 seasons in Dallas, where he was overshadowed by Lilly and White. But he was a solid player throughout his career and is not remembered well enough by the fans in general. Glover may seem to be an odd choice, but many seem to forget how good he was at a time when the team simply wasn’t that good. He made the Pro Bowl in each of the four years he was in Dallas.

  • Puckering

    jethro pugh hands down