Cowboys Flashback: Best Dallas Cowboys Draft of the 2000’s

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Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) celebrates after recovering a fumble with linebacker Trent Cole (58) in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have had some drafts that were pretty remarkable back in the days of Tex Schramm and Tom Landry.  Granted they had 29 years to put in the work to get that way but after watching the NFL Network’s new show on the drafts from the 50 years ago, it had me wondering what the best draft class was ever for the Cowboys.  It also made me inquire to which draft Jerry Jones has done that would turn heads.  We pretty much know that the draft classes from the 1990’s weren’t all Jones as former coach Jimmy Johnson made the picks early on.  After Jones “learned” from Johnson, he has had some pretty forgettable draft selections.

I chose the most recent decade to focus on because when I started researching, it caught my eye that Dallas had a decent draft back in 2005.  You could probably dub that draft the “Double Twins Draft” because we had at that time, two #1’s, two #4’s, and two #6’s.  Here is a list of the players selected and how they helped the team and if they are still on the roster:

  • 1st round selection DeMarcus Ware, LB, Troy State- DeMarcus Ware was the coveted pick of the draft as he brought with him a style of play that impacted the team in so many positive ways.  Ware is tied with Randy White for most sacks in a game during his rookie season.  He was a half-a-sack away from becoming the first player in NFL history to have 2 consecutive 20+ sacks in a season.  He also became the first Cowboy since Jim Jeffcoat to have a 14 sack season in 2007.

There was no doubt the impact that Ware has made on this franchise.  In March of this year, Jerry Jones released Ware at his request so he could test the free agency market.  It took one day and he was signed by the Denver Broncos.  Ware will make his return to AT&T Stadium during the preseason when the Broncos come to town in August.

  • 1st round selection Marcus Spears, DE, LSU- Marcus Spears got a slow start out of the gate as injuries hampered his first training camp.  He had a knee, calf, and ankle injury that slowed his progress and even had knee surgery after his rookie season.  Spears shook off the injuries and at one point in his career went on to having an 88-game playing streak.  A calf injury placed him on injured reserve in 2010.  From that point on, he was relegated to a backup role starting in 2011.  He couldn’t get back into the starting lineup even with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Spears left Dallas in 2013 and played as a backup for the Baltimore Ravens but after that season, he retired and is now an analyst for the SEC Network.

  • 2nd round selection Kevin Burnett, LB, University of Tennessee- Burnett didn’t contribute much with the Cowboys.  He was nothing more than a backup for several seasons.  He eventually signed with the San Diego Chargers and later with the Miami Dolphins.  With the Chargers in 2009, he started 7 games and every game the next year.  As a Dolphin, he started every game in his 2 seasons but was released in 2013 and has been signed with the Oakland Raiders.
  • 4th round selection Marion Barber, RB, Minnesota- Barber started out as a 3rd down back and as a closer in his second season.  His third season proved to be his best as he earned a Pro Bowl spot as a backup running back.  His aggressive running style of hit or be hit garnered him the nickname of “Marion the Barbarian.” The Barbarian didn’t last long as his production fell once he became a starter in 2008.  He struggled with injuries and new blood came in to claim his starting role in ’09.  After a disappointing 2010, he was released and picked up by the Chicago Bears.  Following another disappointing 2011, he retired from the NFL on March 23, 2012.
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