Five Things to Know About the 2017 NFL Draft for the Cowboys

I found five things about the 2017 draft class worth noting, but before presenting those five things, we cannot get enough of Drew Pearson:

Anyway, here are the five things:

(1) Before 2017, the Cowboys had drafted only eight players from Colorado. They took two–CB Chidobe Awuzie and DT Jordan Carrell–in 2017. Three of the previous players drafted from

Dallas took Chidobe Awuzie in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Colorado never played in the NFL. The only starter was Andre Gurode, a 2002 pick who became a Pro Bowl center.

(2) The Cowboys took four defensive backs with eight picks. The last time Dallas took as many as four defensive backs in one draft was 2009, when the Cowboys took DeAngelo Smith, Michael Hamlin, Stephen Hodge, and Mike Mickens. Those four combined to play nine games for the Cowboys.

(3) The last defensive back drafted by the Cowboys to make a Pro Bowl was Mike Jenkins in 2009.

(4) Xavier Woods is the first player from Louisiana Tech to be drafted by Dallas. The school has had 85 players in the NFL; the only one to play in Dallas was kicker Chris Boniol.

(5) A total of 229 players have been drafted from North Carolina, but only 12 of them before 2017 were wide receivers. Add 4th round pick Ryan Switzer to the mix. The best-known of the North Carolina receivers has been Hakeem Nicks, who has played for the Giants and Colts.

Five Things to Know About the Taco Charlton Selection

The Dallas Cowboys used to be a team filled with great nicknames—Doomsday Defense, Too Tall, the Manster, Hollywood, and so on.

(The Tony Romo nicknames never quite caught on, at least not in a good way.)

Well, the Cowboys took a player with a great nickname of Taco. Plenty of people wanted Dallas to take T.J. Watt (who ended up going to Pittsburgh), but others are happy the Cowboys have Taco Charlton.

Here are a few trivial matters about the pick:

  1. Dallas has not taken a player from Michigan since selecting running back Tony Boles in the 11th round in 1991. And Boles never played a down of football in the NFL.
  2. The only player from Michigan ever selected by the Cowboys in the first round was defensive tackle Kevin Brooks in 1985. Brooks spent three years as a starter but never really developed into a quality player along the defensive line.
  3. The first player ever taken from Michigan by the Cowboys was a running back named Ken Tureaud in 1962 (8th round). Like Boles, Tureaud never played in the NFL.
  4. The last time the Cowboys took a defensive end in the first round was 2007 when the selected Anthony Spencer from Purdue. Of course, the Cowboys played in the 3-4 at the time and converted Spencer to an outside linebacker.
  5. The last time the Cowboys took a defensive end to fit a 4-3 scheme was 1999 when Dallas selected Ebenezer Ekuban. One year earlier, Dallas had taken Greg Ellis.

Anyway, some highlights featuring Charlton:

 

When the Cowboys Used to Visit St. Louis

I became a fan of the Dallas Cowboys in 1977 when I was six years old and living in the St. Louis area. Following the St. Louis Cardinals then was a bit much for a six-year-old to handle, so I decided not to handle it.

I recall the games where Dallas visited St. Louis pretty well. They were often close, and the Cardinals usually made the Cowboys wear their blue jerseys, which I hated. My dad was never able to afford tickets to take me to a game, but that was probably a good thing. I do not know if I could have taken the Cowboys losing at St. Louis.

Several videos have been uploaded to YouTube showing the games (either highlights or the entire game) from 1977 to 1980. Most of these games were even closer than I remember.

1977 (highlights available here): This game featured a 77-yard touchdown run by rookie Tony Dorsett, but Dallas trailed 24-16 heading into the fourth quarter. However, a Dorsett run followed by a touchdown pass from Roger Staubach to Golden Richard sealed the win for the Cowboys.

1978 (full game): The Cardinals took this game into overtime, but Dallas pulled it out thanks to a Rafael Septien field goal.

1979 (highlights): The Cowboys could not shut down O.J. Anderson, who rushed for 193 yards. Dallas was also without Dorsett, who had injured his foot in a strange accident. However, Robert Newhouse managed to gain 108 rushing yards, and a Rafael Septien field goal gave Dallas the 22-21 win.

1980 (see below): I remember the 1980 game more clearly. I think it was the first game I watched where Roger Staubach served as a color commentator. He was not good. Thankfully, though, new Dallas QB Danny White was good, throwing for a touchdown pass to Tony Hill with less than two minutes remaining to give Dallas a 27-24 win.

Here is the full video:

Remembering the Romo-Bledsoe Debate

I launched this blog in 2006, which was the year when Drew Bledsoe started six games before losing his job to Tony Romo. Bledsoe had led Dallas to a 9-7 record in 2005, barely missing the playoffs.

By game 6 of the season, Dallas was 3-2. The Cowboys dominated the Houston Texans in week 5, and Romo saw his first action. He completed a pass to Sam Hurd, followed by a touchdown pass to Terrell Owens.

The highlights:

Fans, of course, wanted to see more. Bledsoe was a decent quarterback when he had protection. The Dallas offensive line in 2006, though, was not well known for providing protection, so Bledsoe often looked like a statue.

For the record, I did not think Parcells should have started Romo. And how wrong I was.

Here was a comment I made in October 2006:

I think Parcells takes a huge risk by putting Romo in right now. Remember the debate regarding Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson in 2002? Carter wasn’t a great choice at quarterback by any means, but the team started 3-4 with him that year. Enter Hutchinson and the Cowboys finish 2-7. Not all of it was Hutchinson’s fault, but I have always thought that the move was premature and put Dallas in a worse position to win.

With Bledsoe, Dallas is 11-9. Does Dallas win more than 55% of its games with Romo at quarterback? Maybe, but odds are probably against it. Do we know how Romo would handle the blitz against the Eagles? We would like to think so, perhaps, but that is based largely on watching him play preseason games where defenses are not going full speed for 60 minutes. I think that keeping Bledsoe in there is the smart move, even if the Dallas offense may lapse again and again because of Bledsoe’s various habits.

When the Cowboys fell behind at halftime on a Monday night game against the Giants, Bledsoe left the game and never played another down in the NFL. Romo did not have a great game, but he provided a spark.

Tony Romo during his first NFL start vs. the Carolina Panthers in 2006.

Romo started against the Panthers on October 29, 2006, and he led the Cowboys to a 6-4 mark for the remainder of the year.

(For purposes of this article, I will only mentioned a failed field goal attempt parenthetically.)

It appears that 11 years later, Romo’s career has ended.

Crossword Puzzle: 1980 Dallas Cowboys

A short crossword puzzle featuring questions about the 1980 Dallas Cowboys.

1980 Dallas Cowboys » make crossword puzzle

Rank Receiving Performances (That Not Everyone Remembers)

This is the third entry in a short series about underappreciated or forgotten performances in team history. Previous entries covered underappreciated quarterbacks and running backs with largely forgotten performances.

Today’s entry covers receiving performances that not everyone remembers. Excluded from this list were performances by the likes of Michael Irvin, Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, Dez Bryant, and Terrell Owens.

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Dallas Cowboys: Good Receiving Performances Nobody Remembers

The Dallas Cowboys have had plenty of great performances by their famous receivers, including Michael Irvin, Drew Pearson, Dez Bryant, Bob Hayes, and others.

Not all great receiving performances have involved the most famous receivers. This list focuses on ten good receiving performances that not everyone remembers.

1

Lance Rentzel, November 19, 1967

Mar 04, 2017
Lance Rentzel, November 19, 1967

Lance Rentzel had some big games during the late 1960s. None of his performances was bigger than his game against the Washington Redskins on November 19, 1967. He caught 13 passes for 223 yards with a touchdown in a 27-20 loss.

(Pictures is not from the same game.)

Dallas Cowboys: Rank the Running Back Performances (That Nobody Remembers)

So I caught a few highlights of Cowboys games from the 1970s and saw a reel of the 1972 game between Dallas and Washington. The teams played in Dallas on December 9, just three weeks before they would face off again in the NFC Championship Game. Of course, Washington reached the Super Bowl that year.

Dallas was the victor on December 9, though, and the leading rusher was not who you would expect—Walt Garrison, who outgained Calvin Hill, 122 yards to 111 yards.

How many good (if not great) performances by a running back have most fans forgotten? This list introduces a few of those games.

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Dallas Cowboys: Good Running Back Performances Nobody Remembers

Most fans of the Dallas Cowboys remember great games by the likes of Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, and even DeMarco Murray or Ezekiel Elliott.

But the Dallas franchise is 57 years old, and several running backs have had memorable games that few, if any, would remember.

This list focuses on those games.

1

Joseph Randle, Sept. 27, 2015

Feb 25, 2017
Joseph Randle, Sept. 27, 2015

Randle began the 2015 as the starting running back before he ran into legal problems. His best game as a pro occurred on September 27, 2015, when he rushed for 87 yards and scored three touchdowns. However, he played in only three games after that before Dallas released him.

2

Scott Laidlaw, Nov. 11, 1978

Feb 25, 2017
Scott Laidlaw, Nov. 11, 1978

Scott Laidlaw served largely as a backup fullback in Dallas between 1975 and 1979. He rarely carried the ball more than ten times per game and had only two games with 100 or more rushing yards.

Against the Redskins on November 23, 1978, he had his best game, rushing for 122 yards with two touchdowns in a 37-10 Dallas win.

(Image is not from the same game.)

3

Daryl Johnston, December 24, 1989

Feb 25, 2017
Daryl Johnston, December 24, 1989

Daryl Johnston will also be one of the all-time great Cowboys, as he served as the hard-nosed fullback for the great Emmitt Smith.

Did he ever lead the team in rushing yards?

Yes!

On December 24, 1989, with the pipes in Texas Stadium freezing, Moose rushed for 60 yards in a 20-10 Dallas loss.

(Image is not from the same game.)

4

Tashard Choice, December 5, 2010

Feb 25, 2017
Tashard Choice, December 5, 2010

Tashard Choice was the third running back behind Felix Jones and Marion Barber in 2010, but he wound up with some opportunities to play.

During the dreadful season, Dallas had a 3-8 record when the team traveled to Indianapolis to face Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Dallas blew a 17-0 lead and a 27-14 lead before finally winning the game in overtime.

Choice had one of his best games as a pro, rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. It was his only career game with 100 rushing yards.

5

Chris Warren, Oct. 4, 1998

Feb 25, 2017
Chris Warren, Oct. 4, 1998

Chris Warren had been a star running back in Seattle, but he was only a backup when he arrived in Dallas in 1998.

In three seasons in Dallas, he watched as Emmitt Smith chased the career rushing mark.

Warren had one game, though, that stood out. On October 4, 1998, he filled in for Smith and gained 104 yards on 14 carries, scoring twice.

(Image is not from the same game.)

6

Darren McFadden, Oct. 25, 2015

Feb 25, 2017
Darren McFadden, Oct. 25, 2015

Nobody wants to remember the 2015 season, when the Dallas Cowboys were 4-12.

Darren McFadden had better rushing days as the lead back in Oakland, but he had a game to remember against the Giants, gaining 152 yards on 29 carries with a touchdown.

Of course, Dallas found a way to lose anyway.

7

Duane Thomas, Oct. 25, 1970

Feb 25, 2017
Duane Thomas, Oct. 25, 1970

Duane Thomas certainly made a name for himself in Dallas, despite playing only two seasons with the Cowboys. He had six career 100-yard games for Dallas during the regular season, plus some great playoff performances.

The game few would remember was his first 100-yard performance. On October 25, 1970, the team traveled to Kansas City to face the Chiefs, who were the defending Super Bowl champions. Up to that point, Thomas had only 127 total rushing yards, but he surpassed his season total in one game, gaining 134 yards with two touchdowns in a 27-16 Dallas win.

8

Troy Hambrick, Dec. 14, 2003

Feb 25, 2017
Troy Hambrick, Dec. 14, 2003

Troy Hambrick was the immediate successor to Emmitt Smith in Dallas, but Hambrick lasted only one season.

He had his bright spots, though. Against the Redskins on December 14, 2003, he gained 189 yards on 33 carries, far surpassing any other performance during his career.

9

Felix Jones, Jan. 9, 2010

Feb 25, 2017
Felix Jones, Jan. 9, 2010

Felix Jones had bright spots during his Dallas career, but he was too inconsistent to develop into a quality starter.

His best performance came in the playoffs. Dallas managed to win its first playoff game in more than a decade on January 9, 2010, beating Philadelphia 34-14. Jones led the way, gaining 148 yards on 16 carries, including a great 73 yard touchdown run that put the game away.

10

Walt Garrison, Dec. 9, 1972

Feb 25, 2017
Walt Garrison, Dec. 9, 1972

Walt Garrison was an integral part of the 1972 Dallas Cowboys rushing attack, but he managed to gain more than 100 yards in only one game.

That game occurred against division rival Washington on December 9, 1972. The Cowboys managed a 34-24 win against the eventual NFC champions, and Garrison helped to lead the way with 121 rushing yards and a touchdown.

It marked the second, and final, time that Garrison surpassed 100 rushing yards in a game.

11

Julius Jones, Dec. 6, 2004

Feb 25, 2017
Julius Jones, Dec. 6, 2004

Julius Jones looked at times to be the next great back after the departure of Emmitt Smith.

As a rookie in 2004, he had a game to remember--that not everybody remembers.

In a wild game in Seattle, Dallas came from behind to win 43-39. Jones ran the ball 30 times and gained 198 yards.

Remarkably, Jones had run the ball 30 times or more during each of the previous two games as well, giving him three consecutive games with 30 or more carries. However, he would have 30 or more attempts only once more during his career.

12

Emmitt Smith, Nov. 28, 2002

Feb 25, 2017
Emmitt Smith, Nov. 28, 2002

Emmitt Smith had so many memorable games that he probably does not belong on this list.

One game does, however.

During his final season in Dallas, Smith struggled. He frequently ran fewer than 15 times during games, and until Thanksgiving Day, he had gained more than 100 yards only once.

Then he had his last great game as a Cowboy.

At age 33, Smith rushed 23 times for 144 yards, leading the Cowboys to a 27-20 win over Washington.

 

Dallas Cowboys: Rank the Most Unappreciated Quarterbacks

Tony Romo will probably leave the Dallas Cowboys this off-season. His career seemed to have so much promise, and thanks to individual accomplishments, he will likely wind up in the Ring of Honor.

But there is this matter of two playoff wins in a decade as a starter. Many will remember the dropped snap against Seattle. Or the failed pass at the end of the game against the Giants in 2007. Or the playoff losses at Minnesota and Green Bay in 2009 and 2014. Or interceptions that often overshadowed his otherwise great achievements.

Is he the most unappreciated Dallas Cowboys quarterback in team history? This list ranks quarterbacks falling in that category (meaning those not named Meredith, Staubach, Aikman, or Prescott).

Dallas Cowboys: Rank the Most Disappointing Playoff Losses

Every playoff loss is, of course, disappointing, but some are more heartbreaking than others. It’s been two weeks since the Cowboys fell to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs—and the loss still stings.

The list below includes each of the 27 playoff losses in team history, ranked in order of most disappointing.

Although some will insert the latest loss as the most disappointing, I ranked it fourth behind “The Catch” in 1981, the Ice Bowl in 1967, and Super Bowl V.

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Dallas Cowboys: Most Disappointing Playoff Losses

The Dallas Cowboys lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 NFL Playoffs. This list ranks the most disappointing losses in team history.

1

1981 NFC Championship Game

Jan 29, 2017
1981 NFC Championship Game

No reference needed other than "The Catch."

Puzzle Trivia: Creating Turnovers in a Playoff Loss

Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the Cowboys have gone 14-9 during divisional round playoff games. The team’s first loss in the division round occurred in 1976.

The team’s first loss in the division round occurred in 1976. The 11-3 Cowboys hosted the 10-3-1 Rams at Texas Stadium.

Dallas had a 10-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Rams regained the lead and held on for a 14-12 win. The lack of a running game prompted the Cowboys to trade for a draft pick that allowed them to select Tony Dorsett.

One Dallas player during that 1976 playoff loss recorded two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Who was it?

The picture below is not from the game in question but provides the answer.