Last year at this time, I ran a post that summarized the results of about 100 mock drafts. As of the time of that post (Feb. 25, 2007), Texas tackle Justin Blalock was the clear leader. Blalock eventually fell to the second round, where the Atlanta Falcons selected him with the 39th overall pick. He started 14 games in 2007.
How worthwhile was that effort on my part? Here’s an clue: none of the 27 mock selections in the 100 mock drafts was Purdue linebacker Anthony Spencer. This immediately makes me second-guess my current post.
But it’s too late. I reviewed a sampling of 100 mock drafts from FF Toolbox and My Mock Draft to identify players that various draftniks have chosen in advance on behalf of the Cowboys. I did not include those mock drafts that expect Dallas to trade the 22nd and 28th picks in the first round. From this review I have identified 30 players who were picked in either position in the first round.
Key: Name, Position, College (number of mock drafts selecting this player in either position of the first round). Click on the links to visit NFL.com’s profiles of these players.
Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona (13)
Reggie Smith, CB/S, Oklahoma (13)
Limus Sweed, WR, Texas (13)
Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan (13)
Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas (12)
Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy (11)
Early Doucet, WR, LSU (11)
DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal (8)
Rashard Mendenall, RB, Illinois (8)
Jeff Otah, T, Pitt (7)
Sam Baker, T, USC (6)
Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida (5)
Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma (5)
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon (4)
Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn (2)
Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech (2)
Kenny Phillips, S, Miami (2)
Derrick Harvey, DE, Miami (1)
Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana (1)
Gosder Cherilus, T, Boston College (1)
Keith Rivers, OLB, USC (1)
Marcus Griffin, S, Texas (1)
Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas (1)
Matt Forte, RB, Tulane (1)
James Hardy, WR, Indiana (1)
Dan Connor, LB, Penn St. (1)
Dre Moore, DT, Maryland (1)
Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina (1)
Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan St. (1)
Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt (1)
Defensive Backs: 11
Wide Receivers: 7
Running Back: 5
Defensive Tackles: 2
Defensive Ends: 1
* I have no doubt that Dallas needs help in the secondary, but I think it will be an enormous mistake if the team focuses once again on the defense in the first round and ignores its pressing needs on offense. I would personally like to see the Cowboys take a receiver and would not mind at all if the first two picks were a running back and a receiver, in either order.
* Along those lines, if Dallas uses either of those picks on a defensive lineman or a linebacker, I will be just as sick as I was on January 13 after the Giants game. Only one of the mock drafts anticipated the Cowboys taking Penn State linebacker Dan Connor, but at least one of the draftniks thought Conner was the best selection. I know there was a day when a team may have benefited from cornering the market on Big 10 linebackers, but today ain’t that day.
* Of the five running backs on the list above, Jones’ time in the 40 ranked fourth. The fastest was Jamaal Charles, who recorded a 4.38. Jones performed better in other events, especially the 20-yard shuttle. Here are the complete times.
* Another player who may get some good looks is Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart. The 235-pound back ran a 4.48 and completed 28 reps on the bench press, both very impressive. Here is more on Stewart.
* A few receivers that impressed those in attendance (and who do not appear on the list above): Eddie Royal (Virginia Tech), Andre Caldwell (Florida), and Maurice Purify (Nebraska).
* Two receivers who could see their stock rise after the combine: James Hardy (Indiana) (6’5, 217 pounds, 4.48 in the 40) and Devin Thomas (Michigan State) (6’2, 215 pounds, 4.40 in the 40).
* DeSean Jackson (Cal) was the fastest of the receivers, running a 4.35 in the 40.
* One player who may be slipping: Mario Manningham of Michigan, who only managed a 4.59 in the 40.
* Three receivers who appear on the list above– Limas Sweed (Texas), Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma), and Early Doucet (LSU) — did not participate in drills.
Cornerbacks and safeties will perform on Tuesday, so I will have a follow-up afterward.
This is part of a series of posts that provides an in-depth look at the Cowboys of the 1960s.
The title of the 1967 Dallas Cowboys highlight film was “Appointment with Destiny,” referring to the team’s run for an Eastern Conference title and a second showdown with the Green Bay Packers in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The clip below focuses on the defense, which had already earned the nickname “Doomsday.”
1967 Dallas Cowboys Defense
The 1967 Dallas Cowboys ranked seventh out of 16 teams in total defense in 1967, giving up 276.5 yards per game. The team allowed 268 points, 6th best in the NFL, and led the league in run defense, as opponents managed only 3.2 yards per carry.
Here are the starters for that season:
LE, #71 Willie Townes
LT, #75 Jethro Pugh
RT, #74 Bob Lilly
RE, #66 George Andrie
LLB, #54 Chuck Howley
MLB, #55 Lee Roy Jordan
RLB, #52 Dave Edwards
LCB, #34 Cornell Green
RCB, #23 Mike Johnson
SS, #27 Mike Gaechter
FS, #20 Mel Renfro
All-Pros on this unit included Andrie, Green, Howley, and Renfro.
As you most likely know, the Cowboys have agreed in principle to sign free agent linebacker Zach Thomas, the former Texas Tech start and long-time Miami Dolphin standout. There is a little bit of history here, for Thomas was clearly a Jimmy Johnson-type who would have fit in very well with the Cowboys when he entered the league in 1996.
The 1996 season was one of transition at the linebacker position for the Cowboys. Robert Jones, who had started at middle linebacker for a part of his four-year stint with the Cowboys, had left for St. Louis (and later ended up in Miami). Dallas had also lost Dixon Edwards to Minnesota, leaving Darrin Smith as the only linebacker from the Super Bowl teams. Dallas signed former Green Bay middle linebacker Fred Strickland and also added Broderick Thomas, a former first-round pick who had been a bust in Tampa Bay before spending time in Detroit and Minnesota. With their second selection of the second round in 1996, Dallas took linebacker Randall Godfrey, who stayed in Dallas until 1999 before becoming a journeyman.
Thomas was not taken the 22nd pick of the 5th round (154th overall). Dallas had three picks prior to that selection and wound up selecting C Clay Shiver, WR Stepfret Williams, and DT/DE Mike Ulufale. Ulufale was a complete bust, playing in only three games in 1996 before being released during training camp in 1997. Williams caught 30 passes in his second year in 1997, but he was let go during training camp in 1998. Both Ulufale and Williams tried to latch on in other leagues– Ulufale played for a few years in the Arena Football League, while Williams was an all-league player with the XFL (along with another former Cowboy, Shante Carver)
Meanwhile, Thomas was an all-pro by 1998, earning the honor seven times along with seven Pro Bowl berths.
* * *
Incidentally, the Cowboys have not during their history relied heavily on linebackers from other teams. Some notable linebackers that the Cowboys have picked up via free agency or trade include the following:
- Jerry Tubbs (1960-1966): One-time Pro Bowler (1962). Selected in the 1st round by the Chicago Cardinals in 1957.
- Chuck Howley (1961-1973): Six-time Pro Bowler and Seven Time All-Pro. Selected in the 1st round by Chicago in 1958 but suffered a serious knee injury in 1959. Dallas picked him up, and Howley became one of the best linebackers in team history.
- Jack Del Rio (1989-1991): The current Jacksonville coach also played for New Orleans, Kansas City, and Minnesota.
- Broderick Thomas (1996): Thomas was a solid contributor in 1996, but he was less effective in 1997 and did not play after that season.
- Fred Strickland (1996-1998): Started 45 games in three seasons with Dallas.
- Barron Wortham (2000): The former Titan was brought in to replace Randall Godfrey, but he eventually lost the job to Dat Nguyen.
- Kevin Hardy (2002): Hardy, a free agent pickup from Jacksonville, was a solid player in 2002, but he left for Cincinnati after one season.
- Al Singleton (2003-2006): Singleton was a solid contributor after coming to Dallas from Tampa Bay, but he was moved aside with the transition to the 3-4 defense.
- Scott Shanle (2004-2005); Scott Fujita (2005): Dallas obtained both of these linebackers, but then lost Fujita via free agency to New Orleans and traded Shanle to the same team. By the end of the following season, both were team captains as the Saints made it to the NFC Championship game.
* * *
There were a few other players of interest who were also still available at the time that Thomas was selected in 1996:
- LaRoi Glover (166th overall pick by the Raiders)
- Anthony Dorsett (177th overall pick by the Oilers)
- Marco Rivera (208th overall pick by the Packers)
- Carlos Emmons (242nd overall pick by the Steelers)
* * *
This is part of a series of posts that provides an in-depth look at the Cowboys of the 1960s. Several will provide comprehensive statistics.
Bob Hayes is widely regarded as the best receiver in Cowboys history prior to the arrival of Drew Pearson, but Frank Clarke needs to be mentioned any time that this conversation arises. Clarke was, of course, the first player in team history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and his 14 touchdowns in 1962 remained the standard until 2007.
That said, the team’s passing game took off once Hayes arrived. In 1964, when the Cowboys featured such players as Clarke, Tommy McDonald, and Pettis Norman, Dallas averaged 179.71 yards per game. These number climbed to 237.93 yards per game in 1966 once the Cowboys had added Hayes, Pete Gent, and running back Dan Reeves. Lance Rentzel later emerged as a major target and became the third player in team history to gain more than 1,000 yards in a season.
|Team Receiving Totals: 1960s|
|Total Combined Receptions, 1960s|
|Dunn, Perry Lee||10||104||10.4||1|
|Conrad, Bobby Joe||4||74||18.5||0|
|Top Annual Receiving Totals|
|1965||Dunn, Perry Lee||8||74||9.3||1|
|1969||Conrad, Bobby Joe||4||74||18.5||0|
|1964||Dunn, Perry Lee||2||30||15.0||0|
Notwithstanding my recent trip back to the decade before I was alive, there is some Cowboys news to report.
Barber’s Contract Talks
Romo’s Possible Proposal
Now here’s a sudden change in direction for this blog: From 1960s Cowboys rushing statistics to Tony Romo’s love life. Someone from US Magazine.com sent me a link to this story, so I feel somewhat obligated to share it:
Jessica Simpson is head over heels in love with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo – and close pals say an engagement might be around the corner.
“I think they’re going to get married,” Romo’s close friend of three years, Michael Starr, says in the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
Starr’s prediction comes on top of Romo’s former fling Sophia Bush telling Us, “I think they could go the distance.
“They’re perfect for each other,” the actress, a mutual friend of Romo and Simpson, added. “They’re both funny and wonderful and kind. I’m rooting for them.”
Even Simpson’s ex, Nick Lachey, has chimed in to add his blessing. “I wish her nothing but happiness,” he told Us. “If she’s found that… good for her.”
I personally know far more about Jim Lachey of Washington Redskins fame than I do about Nick Lachey, but I suppose this is indeed news.
Flozell and the Free Agent Market
Apparently this draft has quite a number of candidates at the tackle position, but I am not pleased about the possibility of losing Flozell Adams is troublesome. Here is a blurb from the DMN:
The team has some concerns about signing Adams. Signing an offensive lineman in free agency is doubtful unless it’s an upgrade over what they have or finding someone better than Adams. But taking one in the second day of the draft is possible.
The report says that Dallas will start Pat McQuistan if Flozell leaves. Not good.
This is part of a series of posts that provides an in-depth look at the Cowboys of the 1960s. Several will provide comprehensive statistics.
By today’s standards, the Cowboys’ rushing statistics in the 1960s are hardly impressive. But for that era, the Cowboys were consistently one of the best running teams in the league, even though Dallas was in its first decade of existence. As you can see from the first table below, the Cowboys’ ranking in rushing yards climbed steadily, and the team finished first or second in the league in rushing yards during three of its four most competitive years between 1966 through 1969.
Don Perkins currently ranks 62nd on the all-time rushing list, with 6,217 yards on 1500 carries. At the time of his retirement following the 1968 season, however, Perkins ranked fifth on the all-time list, even though he had only played eight years. The other players ahead of him included Jim Brown (12,312 in 9 years); Jim Taylor (8,597 yards in 10 years); Joe Perry (8,378 in 14 years); and John Henry Johnson (6,803 in 13 years). So if anyone should want to question why Perkins is in the Ring of Honor, that gives a pretty good reason for it.
|Team Rushing Totals: 1960s|
|Year||Att.||Yards||Ave.||TD||Yds. Per Game||NFL Rank|
|Total Combined Rushing Yards, 1960s|
|Dunn, Perry Lee||80||274||3.4||3|
|Top Annual Rushing Totals|
|1965||Dunn, Perry Lee||54||171||3.2||2|
|1964||Dunn, Perry Lee||26||103||4.0||1|
This is part of a series of posts that will provide an in-depth look at the Cowboys of the 1960s. Several will provide comprehensive statistics.
In looking at the passing statistics of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s, it is plainly obvious and not surprising that Don Meredith leads every major category in terms of single-season stats and in terms of stats for the entire decade. What is somewhat surprising is that Eddie LeBaron, who played on some pretty awful Dallas teams from 1960 to 1962, generally outperformed Craig Morton, who saw a significant amount of playing time in 1967 and 1968 and who started in 1969.
For some context, consider these facts:
The 1961 season was the last year that LeBaron served as the primary starter (10 of 14 games). The Cowboys finished 4-9-1 and finished with the following rankings on offense:
Passing Attempts: 3rd out of 14 teams (422)
Passing Yards: 6th out of 14 teams (2661)
Rushing Attempts: 10th out of 14 teams (416)
Rushing Yards: 10th out of 14 teams (1819)
In 1969, when Morton started 13 of 14 games, the Cowboys finished with these rankings:
Passing Attempts: 12th out of 16 teams (355)
Passing Yards: 4th out of 16 teams (2846)
Rushing Attempts: 1st out of 16 teams (532)
Rushing Yards: 1st out of 16 teams (2276)
Morton finished with a better passer rating during the decade, but also had a much better offensive line and all-around talent with which to work than LeBaron. Morton played four more seasons with Dallas during the 1970s, and though he had his best year with the club in 1970, his overall stats were not much better than what he compiled in the 1960s.
Below are total stats for the decade and top 10 performances by season in the various passing categories.
1960s: Career Passing Statistics
|1964||Perry Lee Dunn||2||0||0.00%||0||0||0||39.6|
1960s: Season Passing– Attempts
1960s: Season Passing– Completions
1960s: Season Passing– Percentage (min. 100 att.)
1960s: Season Passing– Yards
1960s: Season Passing– TD
Season Passing– Interceptions
Season Passing– Rating
Once upon a time, I owned a Sega Genesis. Some time later, Sega introduced an add-on called the Mega-CD, which featured some games that had short videos (and not much else). I bought the thing thinking that the games would be much better than the Genesis itself, but there wasn’t much to these games. (YouTube has a clip of Joe Montana’s NFL Football on Sega CD… not impressive).
The one game that was worthwhile at the time was the one for NFL’s Greatest: San Francisco vs. Dallas 1978-1993. According to Elitist Gaming, this game allowed you to call plays and then watch video clips of actual games between the Cowboys and 49ers. The clips were spliced together so that it was really a simulation. Thus, you could call a play for Roger Staubach to throw a pass and then watch Michael Irvin catch it. The concept sounded better than the actual game, but I got a few hours out of it.
Here is a video clip showing the introduction of the game.
I recall that there was an arcade game similar to this featuring the Raiders and Chargers. With today’s technology, it kind of makes me wonder what the tech folks could do now.
Here is a trivia question that I bet nobody could answer: who was the first official historian of the Dallas Cowboys?
For the answer, check out this story from May 28, 1961:
Teen-Ager Named Cowboy Historian
May 28, 1961
Judith McKinna, a 16-year-old National Football League fan, Saturday was named official historian of the Dallas Cowboys.
Miss McKinna, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William McKinna, 6964 Bob-O-Links Drive, was appoitned by Gen. Mgr. Tex Schramm when he discovered she had a better set of scrapbooks on the team and the league than the club itself.
Here is an image of the article itself:
I am seriously considering a title change around here– Know Your Dallas Cowboys: The Search for Judith McKinna’s Scrapbook.
How’s that for obscurity?
The Redskins this week hired Jim Zorn as their new head coach. This move was rather surprising, given that Zorn has had little experience with the type of head coaching duties that he will assume, but I don’t exactly feel sorry for Washington.
Some know this, but Zorn originally tried to latch on with the Cowboys in 1975 before getting his break the following year with the upstart Seattle Seahawks. Zorn had a good preseason in 1975 and very nearly made the Dallas team as the third-string quarterback. However, just before the regular season began, Zorn was cut to make room for running back Preston Pearson after the Steelers cut the versatile back. As it turns out, Pearson was a starter with Dallas for a couple of seasons and continued to contribute until the 1980 season, while Zorn was the starter for the Seahawks from 1976 through 1982.
Here is a classic article about Zorn’s chances of making the team in Dallas (the headline kind of gives it away):
Chances Slim for Jim Zorn
July 28, 1975
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.– If your last name start with “Z,” being last in line or at the bottom of a list is as natural as snow on Kilimanjaro.
So of the four quarterbacks remaining in the Dallas Cowboys camp here, Jim Zorn is, of course, number four.
He not only realizes he’s last, but sort of expects it . . . for now, anyway. He is, you see, the only survivor among the several rookie quarterbacks that charged up one of pro football’s aspiration hills here. And since there is only only Roger Staubach, Clint Longley and Leo Gasienieca in line in front of him and there are a million or more passes to be lofted before this training camp breaks, Zorn awakes daily telling himself he can overcome the seemingly impossible odds.
Weighing in those odds– depending on how one looks at it– is the fact that the 6-2, 195-pound free agent from Cal Poly Poma is a lefthander. Between Frankie Albert and Ken Stabler, successful NFL quarterbacks who fired from port have been about as numerous as declarations of war in Switzerland.
“Most teams are right-handed,” Zorn rationalized. “They have righthanded quarterbacks and defenses are used to working against them. A lefthander can confuse defenses. We bring the ball back a little differently before we throw. They can’t tell as early where we are going to put it.”
Zorn made Dallas’ list of desirable free agents because he is an all-around athlete. There is talk of trying him at other positions here– most natural for converted quarterbacks seems to be the defensive backfield– if the scythe man decides he must wield the blade on him as a QB.
There were words and looks of disbelief when the youngster from Artesia, Calif. finished so far ahead of his rookie mates in the cross-country that was part of the first day of orientation and testing here.
“When I was in high school,” Zorn grinned, “I was a skinny runt and hadn’t planned to go out for any sports. A good friend of mine was running in the cross-country and he finally got me to run with him just for the company.”
“To participate in athletics at our school, you couldn’t have long hair. I hated it, but it got a butch and wore it teh rest of the time in high school.”
He played football and basketball, too. At Cerritos Junior College for two years, he also was a multi-sport participant. By the time he entered Cal Poly, he was no longer a skinny runt.
He had a good junior year, but not as much as a senior,” recalled Gil Brandt, club vice president and scouting director. “He didn’t have much of a team to work with his senior year. He was a good athlete and that’s the way we’ve usually drafted, or selected free agents . . . by their athletic ability and potential.”
Zorn was into such sports as speed skating, badminton and javelin throwing at Cal Poly. He gained 1300 yards on the ground as a collegiate quarterback, which may be the reason he identifies more readily with Bobby Douglass than the most famous lefty, Stabler.
Zorn’s handicap is a lack of experience, of course. He is a rookie while Gasienieca is not “pure.” Leo has been with other NFL teams the past two years, although only briefly.
“You can’t tell about Zorn,” Coach Tom Landry said. “He shows promise. He could be the type of prospect Clint Longley was a year ago. And right now Longley is looking very good out there.”
“Of course,” Landry went on,” Gasieniesca has it on him now a bit of experience. We aren’t sure yet our third quarterback will come from either of them but, if so, Leo is ahead of Jim.”