Ranking the Cowboys' Worst Draft Picks of the Last Decade

The Cowboys haven't been good on Day 2
Dallas Cowboys, Taco Charlton
Dallas Cowboys, Taco Charlton / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Taco Charlton, DE (2017)

The 2017 NFL Draft is a tough one to forget for Cowboys fans.

Desperate for a pass rusher to play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence — who still had yet to truly break out — the front office zeroed in on one position. They were looking for a defensive end but they were very narrow-minded about it. Rather than looking for the best player, they were hyper-focused on measurables — again, thanks to Rod Marinelli who had far too much influence on their drafting.

He fell in love with Taco Charlton, who went into the NFL Combine at 6-foot-6 and 277 pounds. Citing his size as the deciding factor, Charlton was chosen over T.J. Watt. An outside linebacker at Wisconsin, the Cowboys said Watt (6-foot-4 and 252 pounds) wouldn't be able to play with his hand in the dirt and was a poor fit for their scheme.

Most successful teams would realize a scheme that couldn't use elite talent was the problem but the Cowboys have been without an NFC Championship Game appearance since 1995 for a reason. They passed on Watt — who is bigger than Micah Parsons for what it's worth — and took Charlton.

The Michigan defender was released after just two seasons, but not before he gave their overhyped D-line the atrocious nickname 'Hot Boyz'. He recorded four sacks but those numbers were misleading as he was able to rack up a couple of them thanks to the superior pass rushers pushing the quarterback his way.

Charlton bounced around the NFL for a while, last playing for Chicago in 2022. He has 95 career tackles and 11.5 sacks for five different teams.

As for Watt, he won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2021 and tied the NFL record for most sacks in a season with 22.5. In all, he has 96.5 sacks, seven interceptions, and 198 hits on the opposing quarterback. Charlton is now in the UFL.

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