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The 1983 Dallas Cowboys had a few players even the most knowledgeable fans would have trouble remembering.
Punters Jim Miller and John Warren?
RB Gary Allen?
LB Scott McLean?
TE Cleo Simmons?
For the Most Obscure Player of 1983, we are going to go with a running back. At Clemson, Chuck McSwain gained a total of 2,320 yards in four seasons with the Tigers. He also had one of his biggest games during the Tigers’ National Championship season in 1981. Here is a snip from a Clemson fan site:
The Clemson tailback rushed for a career-high 151 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 29-13 victory over South Carolina to cap an 11-0 regular season in 1981. Six weeks later, Clemson beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to win the National Championship.
There is even a video of McSwain from that game against South Carolina:
The Cowboys took McSwain in the 5th round of the 1983 draft, and he made the team.
He played in a game, returning a kickoff in a week 3 win against the Giants.
And then, he tore a tendon on the ring finger of his right hand, and he was gone for the season. He returned in 1984 and returned 20 kickoffs in 15 games, but he never recorded a single rushing attempt.
Like another of our MOP Award winners (Angelo King), McSwain saw action as a replacement player in 1987. He played in three games for the New England Patriots. He gained a total of 23 yards on nine carries.
That ended his career.
He has since become a high school athletic director in North Carolina. Here is his bio page.
(Now why did I pick him? Because I found his bio page. That’s why.)
The Dallas Cowboys have not taken many guards early in previous NFL drafts. When the team has gone in that direction, it has been a hit-or-miss effort.
Hits, for example: Larry Allen (2nd round, 46th overall, 1994); Andre Gurode (2nd round, 37th overall, 2002).
Of course, Gurode had much greater success as a center.
Misses, for example: Stephen Peterman (3rd round, 83rd overall, 2004); Solomon Page (2nd round, 55th overall, 1999); Scott Scifres (3rd round, 83rd overall, 1997); Shane Hannah (2nd round, 63rd overall, 1995).
Here’s a trivia question: Which two guards have the Cowboys taken in the first round?
These players may be joined by a guard in the 2013 draft. Mel Kiper predicts that the Cowboys could take North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, and several others have predicted guards as well.
* * *
Here’s another trivial matter.
Did you know that the first guard the Cowboys ever selected in a draft wound up in the Hall of Fame?
In 1961, the Cowboys selected Georgia Tech guard Billy Shaw in the 14th round (184th overall). The AFL’s Buffalo Bills took Shaw in the second round of the AFL Draft, and he signed with the Bills. He played nine years in the NFL and made eight trips to the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro honors five times.
The other guard the Cowboys selected in 1961 was Lynn Hoyem of Long Beach State. He played two years in Dallas before moving on to Philadelphia.