In the history of the Dallas Cowboys, many players have, of course, been prone to suffer injuries. Some, however, have never only been able to contribute a small fraction of what they could because of those injuries.
Below is a list of players who fall into that category.
10. Robert Brewster, Tackle (3rd Round, 2009)
We begin with two picks from the dreadful 2009 draft. The team picked tackle Robert Brewster with the 75th overall pick. This was during a time when the team had a decent but aging offensive line.
Brewster tore a pectoral muscle during a workout and did not play as a rookie. He was released during the middle of the 2010 season.
He last played in the Arena Football League in 2012.
9. Brandon Williams, Linebacker (4th round, 2009)
The Cowboys needed linebackers even in 2009 and took Texas Tech defensive end Williams with the goal of converting him to outside linebacker.
He tore his ACL during a preseason game in 2009, though. He played in 10 games in 2010 but was waived before the start of the 2011 season.
He was on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad in 2011 and made active roster at the end of the 2011 season. He has not played in the NFL since being waived before the 2012 season by Arizona.
8. Billy Cannon, Linebacker (1st Round, 1984)
If the Cowboys could have picked up the senior Billy Cannon in 1960, he could have been a cornerstone in the new franchise. The senior Billy Cannon won the Heisman Trophy at LSU, and he was a key member of the Dallas Texans’ 1961 AFL Championship Game.
The junior Billy Cannon lasted eight games into his rookie season. He suffered a spinal injury against the Saints and was forced to retire.
7. Tody Smith, Defensive End (1st Round, 1971)
The Cowboys took USC defensive end Tody Smith with the 25th overall selection in 1971. Smith had to deal with an ankle injury as a rookie and played in only seven games. He had knee surgery during the off-season in 1972 but still played in ten games. Perhaps due to the bad knee, he was disappointing in 1972.
The upside of the Smith selection was that the Houston Oilers gave the Cowboys first- and third-round draft picks in 1974 to acquire Smith.
Smith lasted three years in Houston but was waived while injured before the 1976 season.
Meanwhile, Dallas used the picks from the Oilers to take Too Tall Jones and Danny White.
6. Robert Shaw, Center (1st Round, 1979)
Shaw took over as the starting center in 1980 and did an excellent job in three playoff games.
However, he suffered a catastrophic knee injury in 1981 and was never able to play again. Had he remained with the Cowboys, he probably would have anchored a very good offensive line.
Tom Rafferty did a fine job at center, but the Cowboys struggled to replace Rafferty at guard.
5. Jimmy Smith, Wide Receiver (2nd round, 1992)
Smith wound up with more than 12,000 receiving yards while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As a Cowboy, though, he was injured most of the time and even had to undergo an emergency appendectomy.
He never caught a pass with the Cowboys, who released him before the 1994 season. Jacksonville picked him up during the Jaguars’ expansion season, and he spent 11 years there, earning five Pro Bowl berths.
4. Bill Thomas, Running Back (1st round, 1972)
The Cowboys selected Bill Thomas as part of an effort to replace Duane Thomas. However, Bill Thomas never recovered from a shoulder injury suffered during college, and the Cowboys cut him before his second season in 1973.
He played two more seasons for the Oilers and Chiefs.
3. David LaFleur, Tight End (1st Round, 1997)
The Cowboys desperately needed to replace Jay Novacek in 1997 and used the 22nd overall pick to take LaFleur, thanks largely to an endorsement from Troy Aikman.
LaFleur played four seasons in Dallas, but he suffered through chronic back injuries. The team had to cut him before the 2001 season when he could not pass a physical.
He finished with just 729 yards in four seasons.
2. Mike Sherrard, Wide Receiver (1st round, 1986)
Sherrard had a promising rookie season in 1986, with 41 receptions for 744 yards and five touchdowns. He would have been the team’s top receiver in 1987, but he broke his ankle during training camp. He missed the entire season.
One year later, he suffered yet another broken ankle, causing him to miss yet another season.
The 49ers signed Sherrard through Plan B free agency in 1989, so Sherrard never played for the Cowboys after his rookie season in 1986.
Dallas had to use another first-round pick to take a receiver in 1988, but fortunately the team selected Michael Irvin.
Sherrard played for the 49ers, Giants, and Broncos but suffered through several more injuries. Nevertheless, his career lasted until 1996.
1. Sean Lee (2nd round, 2010).
Lee has the talent and leadership to be one of the franchise’s great linebackers.
He has the body of a porcelain vase and has been injured frequently. In four years, he has missed 18 games.
He will miss another 16 in 2014 while recovering from a torn ACL.
Nobody would seriously doubt how important Gil Brandt was to the development of the Dallas Cowboys as a consistent contender for more than two decades.
However, by the 1980s, Brandt’s magic was not what it was. Consider how the Cowboys approached the 1982 Draft.
Dallas had the 25th overall pick. Brandt referred to the draft as “unpredictable” that season, with player ratings varying greatly from team to team.
One player who stood out as a possible choice was Iowa linebacker Andre Tippett. However, Brandt apparently agreed with NFL scouts who thought that Tippett would not be able to grasp the Cowboys’ complicated defense.
Instead, the Cowboys took Kentucky State defensive back Rod Hill, who lasted two seasons in Dallas before leaving as one of the worst first-round busts in team history.
In the second round, Dallas took Yale linebacker Jeff Rohrer, who was presumably smart enough to master the team’s complicated defense.
Rohrer played six years in Dallas but hardly reminded anyone of Lee Roy Jordan.
How did Tippett do? Well, he went to the New England Patriots in the second round. He apparently figured out New England’s schemes, making the Pro Bowl five times. He was also elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008.
That is a bit better than Hill and Rohrer. The best player the Cowboys found that year was Notre Dame tackle Phil Pozderac. We can talk about him later…
The 1982 Draft did have one upside: the other name thrown around for the Cowboys was Arizona State tackle John Meyer. Brandt did not want to spend another high draft choice on an offensive lineman, having spent first-round picks on linemen in the 1979 (Robert Shaw) and 1981 (Howard Richards) drafts.
Meyer went to Pittsburgh in the second round but never played a down in the NFL. According to an Arizona State blog, the Steelers tried to convert him to defensive end, but his knees gave out on him.
I spent Saturday losing at a jiu jitsu tournament, so I missed watching the final day of the draft. Most are saying that the Cowboys were very conservative with this draft class, so expectations are not very high. We’ll see.
Here are ten facts about this year’s draft class.
- Until 2014, the Cowboys had never taken a Notre Dame player in the first round of the draft. Zack Martin is the third offensive lineman the Cowboys have selected from Notre Dame. The other two were Phil Pozderac (5th round, 1982) and Sam Young (6th round, 2010).
- Between 1960 and 2010, the Cowboys used three first-round picks on offensive linemen (John Niland, Robert Shaw, and Howard Richards). Three of the team’s last four first-round picks have been offensive linemen.
- Most are aware that the Cowboys drafted Orlando Scandrick and Tyrone Crawford from Boise State, the college of second-round pick Demarcus Lawrence. The team drafted two others in the 1970s. RB John Smith (1976) never played a down in the NFL. However, CB Rolly Woolsey was part of the Dirty Dozen of the 1975 Draft. He played one year for the Cowboys before moving on to play for three more teams over the next three seasons.
- Until taking LB Anthony Hitchens with the 119th overall pick, the Cowboys had not drafted a player from Iowa in 30 years. The last player was RB Norm Granger (1984), who played in 15 games as a rookie but did not play in the NFL after that except as a replacement player in 1987.
- The Cowboys had some good fortune with picks from Pittsburgh, taking Tony Dorsett in 1977 and Mark Stepnoski in 1989. Other picks, though, were less impressive. These include Curvin Richards (1991), Antonio Bryant (2002), and Rob Petitti (2005). Bryant and fifth-round pick Devin Street are the only receivers the Cowboys have taken from Pitt.
- Dallas did well with picks from Stanford in the 1970s, finding Scott Laidlaw (1975), Pat Donovan (1975), and Tony Hill (1977). Blaine Nye (1968) was also from Stanford. However, the last Stanford selection before Ben Gardner in 2014 was guard Matt Moran in 1985. Moran never played in the NFL.
- The Cowboys have taken eight players from Texas Tech, including linebacker Will Smith in 2014. However, only three of the previous picks ever played a down in the NFL. One of these three includes E.J. Holub, who was a five-time Pro Bowler with the AFL’s Dallas Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. The other two were Brandon Williams (2009) and Jamar Wall (2010). Only Williams ever played for the Cowboys.
- The Cowboys went with a Baylor player for the second year in a row, taking safety Ahmad Dixon with the 248th pick. He joines Terrance Williams, a third-round selection in 2013. Others from Baylor included guard Kelvin Garmon (1999), corner Ron Francis (1987), guard Bob Crenshaw (1964), and linebacker Sonny Davis (1961).
- Ken Bishop is only the second player the Cowboys have taken from Northern Illinois. The other was Doug Free in 2007.
- The Cowboys struck out on most of their previous picks from Oregon, the college that seventh-round pick Terrance Mitchell attended. The exception was Hall-of-Famer Mel Renfro.
The Dallas Cowboys have a new Demarcus on their defensive line.
Needing to upgrade the worst defense in the NFL last year, Dallas traded its second- and third-round picks this year to Washington to move up 13 spots in the second round to take Lawrence.
The video below provides a good review of Lawrence. Here are the pros and cons:
- Has not missed playing time in two years.
- Career at Boise State: 20 sacks, 7 forced fumbles
- Plays with leverage
- Is always around the ball
- Has natural pass-rush ability
- Served three one-game suspensions for off-the-field issues
- Can lose containment because he is overly aggressive
- Is somewhat small for a DE
Bottom Line (from NFL.com):
A loose, explosive, long-limbed athlete, Lawrence consistently pressurizes the edge and harasses quarterbacks. His pass-rushing ability rates among the best in this year’s class, and he holds mass appeal. Lacks ideal stoutness at the point of attack, but could thrive as a 4-3 right end or 3-4 rush linebacker, and should contribute readily on passing downs.
ESPN’s broadcast of the Dallas Cowboys’ 16th overall pick in the 2014 Draft focused almost entirely on quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Online sources said that the Cowboys would do it if Manziel were still there.
It did not happen.
However, the Cowboys also did not focus on defense with the pick, either. With defensive tackle Aaron Donald off the board (going to St. Louis at #13), the Cowboys took offensive tackle Zack Martin.
This was Mel Kiper’s guess in his mock draft posted on April 22. Martin began the off-season as someone who could fall to the late part of the first round. However, his stock rose, and some saw him as a top 10 pick.
Now he is a Cowboy. Whether he plays tackle or guard is something that needs to play out over the next few months.
Here is a video:
Jerry Jones will make news no matter what he says or does not say. That is just reality.
Today’s quote about the team’s chances in 2014: “Better than 8-8. We can get better than 8-8. We are hell-bent to change that.”
Good. Great. Just do it.
Anyway, for quote trivia today, we look back at a previous dark time during the Jerry Jones era. We will even look at two quotes.
Here’s the first one:
I couldn’t operate and couldn’t make decisions if I got up in the morning and thought that we were going to have a losing record. When I’m making decisions – even though we want to look long-term – I want to make decisions that help us win games this year, as well. I think we can do both, and that’s why I think we’ll win more than half our games.
Question #1: Jerry said this in June of what year?
Question #2: How did the Cowboys end up doing that year?
Jerry predicted a 10-6 record for the Cowboys in the season described above. A linebacker on the team made the following quote:
Actually, I feel like he shortchanged us a couple of games. He says 10-6, but we’ve got to believe we’re a 12-4 team.
Question #3: Who said this?
Herschel Walker made some news last week when he said he could play in the NFL at the age of 52. Here was my Facebook post about it:
The oldest player in NFL history was George Blanda, who played for the Raiders at the age of 48 in 1975.
No Dallas player has played past the age of 43. In the word scramble game below, the answers include the ten players who were at least 38 years of age when they played in Dallas.
Try to imagine Tony Romo making less than not one but two backup quarterbacks on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. Now consider this—
The Cowboys lured quarterback Don Meredith from SMU in 1960 by offering him what “was considered one of the finest in the history of professional football.”
Five years later, the team gave him a “slight raise” to about $27,000 per year when he signed a new contract.
Meredith was reportedly happy. He said, “I got what I wanted and I hope the club gets what it wants next season.”
The team selected quarterback Craig Morton in the first round of the 1965 draft, and Morton would make more as a rookie in 1965 than Meredith made even with the raise.
But what was even stranger was that another backup, Jerry Rhome, also made more than Meredith did. Rhome was a 13th round pick in 1964.
Of course, those were long before the days of free agency, so players had no real bargaining power. Moreover, Tex Schramm and the Cowboys were notorious about underpaying even the best players on the team.
I’m guessing Jerry would be quite jealous.
As usual, Jerry Jones opens his mouth, leaving fans of the Dallas Cowboys, once again, to figure out his priorities.
The latest controversy has focused on a statement Jerry made where he appears to brag about the Cowboys having high television ratings. This led an ESPN writer to write that Jerry is sending the wrong message by accepting mediocrity. Here is my Facebook post on this subject:
This leads us to today’s quote trivia. Jerry at one time had to deal with a player facing suspension, but Jerry was less than forthcoming about the facts of the player’s case. Jerry made the following statement:
What I have said, very consistently and very firmly over the last two weeks, is that if there was a suspension, I would be the first to know, because that’s the way I have it set up with the league. But me knowing cannot and did not go beyond notification of suspension. Outside of what I read in the papers, I knew nothing about this until late Tuesday afternoon.
(1) Which player was suspended?
(2) During which year was this player initially suspended?
(3) Which area writer called Jerry a liar in print?
Below is a crossword puzzle focusing on the Cowboys’ possible selections with the #16 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Below are the possible hints (the puzzle changes each time you play). You can identify the players by reviewing the hints and then visiting the 2014 NFL Draft Tracker.
DT, Florida State
DT, Notre Dame
DE, Oregon State
DT, Notre Dame