Ranking the Cowboys Last 10 First-Round Picks, Worst to Best

The last 10 1st-round picks for the Cowboys ranked worst to best.
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9. Mazi Smith, DL (2023)

Another player the Cowboys took a calculated risk on from the Michigan program is 2023 first-round pick Mazi Smith, a defensive lineman with a very unique athletic profile and otherworldly strength.

Despite his "freaky" athletic traits, Smith wasn't great as a rookie and was often out of position. The Cowboys asked him to lose a bunch of weight and the combination of the loss of weight along with playing him out of position -- go figure -- didn't work.

Smith was rather disappointing as a rookie, surely by his own standards. The Cowboys will look to get him back on track in his second NFL season under new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Smith is far too talented to not be making a consistent impact, and at a problem area for the Cowboys over the last handful of years.

Smith was never a 15-sack player at Michigan. Not even a 10-sack player or a 5-sack player. His impact on the game goes far beyond the stat sheet. He's someone who makes life extremely difficult on the opposition, requiring a ton of attention on the interior defensive line while allowing the edge guys to feast.

Hopefully, we'll see more of that version of Smith in 2024.

8. Byron Jones, DB (2015)

In the end, Byron Jones could have been a lot higher on this list were it not for injuries and knee issues that caused his NFL career to sadly be cut short.

It might be a little controversial to place a player on this list at #8 overall who has an All-Pro nod, but I think the part of the equation that has to factor in here for Jones is the fact that his time with the Cowboys was rather short, and his time in the NFL was sadly cut short.

And Jones found other ways to be productive, but he finished his NFL career with just four interceptions in 109 career games. Considering his traits and talent, that's actually a pretty bizarre stat.

Jones wound up only playing five seasons in Dallas before bolting for a big-money deal in Miami, and in hindsight, maybe the Cowboys knew something regarding the long-term health of Jones that others didn't. The safety turned cornerback had the best year of his NFL career in 2018, earning All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl nod after racking up 67 total tackles and a career-high 14 passes broken up.

He allowed a career-best 52.5 percent of passes into his coverage to be completed that year. Had he been able to stay healthy, Jones might still be one of the better corners in the league today.