Cowboys Make a List of Disappointing Oversights

The Cowboys have had their share of draft gaffes and other poor personnel moves during the past 17 or so years (i.e., the post-Jimmy Johnson years).  Thus, when an author from Football Outsiders ran a list of the 10 Most Disappointing Oversights of the past 25 years, one might expect the Cowboys to show up. And an oversight by the Cowboys indeed shows up on the list.

The selection might stump even the most knowledgeable fans.

Most would probably say that the Cowboys giving up on receiver Jimmy Smith would be near the top of this list. Smith was a second-round selection in 1992 but suffered through a series of injuries that ended his Dallas career. He was credited with seven appearances during his Dallas career (all in 1992 on special teams), and he did not catch a single pass. The Cowboys let him go in the 1995 expansion draft, and Jacksonville picked him up.

Between 1995 and 2005, Smith caught 862 passes for 12,287 yards and 67 touchdowns. The career totals of Alvin Harper and Kevin Williams combined were less than Smith’s in each of those categories. Even more stunning is that Smith’s totals also surpass those of Michael Irvin.

The other choices are less obvious. The Cowboys picked a number of players who ended up becoming starters with other teams. These players include the likes of Ron Stone (G, 1994-1995), Omar Stoutmire (S, 1997-1998), Oliver Ross (T, 1998), and Stephen Peterman (G, drafted in 2004). As for players signed as free agents and then released, Danny Amendola (training camp in 2008) is the first to come to my mind. Please comment if I am missing anyone.

However, none of those players ever became Pro Bowl players, let alone stars. The player who made the Football Outsiders list has made a total of five Pro Bowls.

8. Brian Waters, G, Dallas Cowboys

Undrafted out of North Texas, Waters went to training camp with the Cowboys as a rookie in 1999 but was waived in September and spent his first professional season at home. The Chiefs signed him in January 2000, and he entered the starting lineup on a permanent basis in Week 11 of the 2001 season. In the past 10 seasons, the five-time Pro Bowler has started 149 (of a possible 151) games he’s been active, blocking for 1,000-yard rushers seven times (Priest Holmes, three times; Larry Johnson, twice; and Jamaal Charles, twice) and earning five trips to the Pro Bowl and two first-team All-Pro selections. Waters was also the first offensive lineman to earn AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors (Week 7, 2004) and was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2009.

As you can imagine, Brett Favre was at the top of the list. Others include Steve Young, Jerome Bettis, coach Mike Shananhan, Priest Holmes, Jeff Saturday, Kurt Warner, Mike Vrabel, and Tramon Williams.

 

  • fgoodwin

    No love for Jim Zorn??

  • Anonymous

    Good call, Fred. The original list was limited to the last 25 years, but Zorn would certainly be on an all-time list.

  • fgoodwin

    Ooops — I missed the 25 year limit — never mind!

  • Timothytrump

    That’s a pretty notable miss by Dallas.  I see that Fred mentioned Jim Zorn but that was more than 25 years ago.  Another individual from that period of time that Dallas gave up on was Todd Christiansen who starred for Oakland.  I felt that Steve Deberg would have been a better back up for Dalas behind Danny White than Glenn Carano and Gary Hogeboom.

  • Timothytrump

    That’s a pretty notable miss by Dallas.  I see that Fred mentioned Jim Zorn but that was more than 25 years ago.  Another individual from that period of time that Dallas gave up on was Todd Christiansen who starred for Oakland.  I felt that Steve Deberg would have been a better back up for Dalas behind Danny White than Glenn Carano and Gary Hogeboom.

  • Timothytrump

    OOPS  Meant to add that Stev e Deberg was another player Dallas eventually gave up on as he went to SF and then other teams to do pretty well. If I remember, it was Deberg vs. Zorn for the back up spot when Zorn was released.

  • Didn’t Ron Stone make a Pro Bowl or two with the 49rs?

  • Anonymous

    Jason, you are right. He made two with the Giants and one with the 49ers.