Grading Jerry’s Drafts; Cowboys Draft Scorecards


Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith have been Jerry Jones most recent first round draft picks. While Dez Bryant has had no shortage of off the field issues since arriving in Dallas, he performed well when on the field in 2010. Jerry Jones controls almost all of the Cowboys picks, so let’s take a look back at Jerry’s draft history. Is it filled with booms or busts?

The 90’s

Jerry Jones assumed the job as owner, general manger, and team president in 1989 and has played a major role in 22 drafts since then.

1990– Mr. Jones did quite well with his first ever draft pick, selecting Emmitt Smith 17th overall. Smith was the second running back taken in the round and 1 of 6 taken in the entire round. The other 6 running backs career stats do not add up to the 18,000 plus yards that Smith gained throughout his illustrious Hall of Fame career. It is unbelievable to think that Jones drafted the NFL all time leader in yards, touchdowns, and 100-yard games in his very first draft.–BOOM

1991– Jones had 3 first round picks this year. He received the number 1 overall pick in a trade with the Patriots. They were thrown a curveball with Raghib “Rocket” Ishmail, who would have been the number 1 pick decide to go play in the CFL. They ended up selecting Russell Maryland, a Defensive Tackle from Miami, with the pick. As great as Maryland was in college, his skills just did not transfer to the pros. He was a probowler in 1993 and won 3 Super Bowls but never completely lived up to the hype only having 24.5 sacks in his 9-year career.

The next pick in 1991 was a Wide Receiver from Tennessee named Alvin Harper. Harper was very solid for the Cowboys and throughout his entire career but was never considered one of the best in the league. He had 3,473 career receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.

With their last pick in 1991 at number 20 they selected Kelvin Pritchett who never played in a Cowboys uniform because he was very soon traded to the Lions. Pritchett was just another average player that never became a star in the league.-BUST

1992– There were 2 first round picks in 1992. At pick 17 they selected Kevin Smith a Defensive Back from Texas A&M. Smith started for the Cowboys his rookie year and was on path for a great career until he tore his Achilles season at the start of his 3rd season and was never the same player afterwards.–BUST

The other pick was Robert Jones at pick 24. Jones, a linebacker from East Carolina, won 3 Super Bowls in his 4 seasons with the Cowboys. He was Defensive Rookie of the Year and had a Pro Bowl season where we recorded 162 tackles.–BOOM

1993– No first round picks

1994– With their one pick at 23, Jones selected Shante Carver. Carver had a very short-lived 4 year career where he only totaled 11.5 sacks at the Defensive End position. He was quite a bust at pick 23.–BUST

1995– No first round picks

1996– No first round picks

1997– After two years with no picks the Cowboys had pick 22 in 1997. David LaFleur, a tight end from LSU, was the pick for Jerry Jones. It didn’t exactly pan out as LaFleur never had a season with over 350 yards in his short 4-year career. Another 4 year and done player meant another bust on Jones’ record. –BUST

1998– After years of swinging and missing, Jones finally made a great choice at pick 8 in 1998. The pick was Greg Ellis, the all-time sack leader at North Carolina. Ellis quickly became a star for the Cowboys. He was a probowler, comeback player of the year after an Achillies tendon tear in 2006, and finished his career with over 82 sacks and 388 tackles.-BOOM

1999– The Tar Heels helped the Cowboys with a great defensive player the year before so why not try again? Ebenezer Ekuban a very raw defensive end was selected. The second Tar Heel was not as good as the first as Ekuban only managed 9 sacks in 45 career games with the Cowboys. Injuries derailed any momentum that Ekuban had in his career. -BUST

So throughout Jerry’s first decade as owner of the Cowboys, he selected 7 players who graded out as busts while selecting only 3 booms, but we would be wrong to not reiterate that he did draft perhaps the greatest running back of all time with his first pick in his first draft. He got off to quite a start.

Check back tomorrow for analysis of the 2000s.