Dallas Cowboys Draft: Worst 1st Round Picks in the Jerry Jones Era


Almost every football fan believes he could do a better job than his team’s general manager.  However, the failure rate of first round picks suggests that the draft is a difficult and inexact science and no team is a better example of this than the Dallas Cowboys.

Some of Jerry Jones’ first round picks have been complete disasters that set the team back years. These picks became black holes into which Dallas had to throw significant resources to try to fix its mistake.

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It can be argued that the worst first round pick in the Jones era came in 2012 when Dallas traded up to select cornerback Morris Claiborne from LSU at number six overall. Claiborne is still on the roster but due to injuries and poor play he is not one of the team’s starting corners, nor is he in the corner rotation unless there is an unusual circumstance.

The player that Jerry Jones said was the best cornerback prospect since Deion Sanders has claimed that various defensive coordinators put him in the wrong style of defense or that the team has been unfair to him at times by not giving him playing time. Claiborne was signed for $16.4 million plus a $10.3 million signing bonus for which he has given Dallas only three interceptions and three fumble recoveries in three seasons.

Mike Jenkins is another first round cornerback disaster on the record of Jerry Jones. Drafted at number 25 in the 2008 draft, the former University of South Florida standout performed so poorly that Dallas did not re-sign him after his rookie contract expired.

During Jenkins time in a Cowboys’ uniform, Dallas also added corners Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, and Morris Claiborne. The drafting of Claiborne angered Jenkins so much that he held out of offseason workouts and chose to rehabilitate his surgically repaired shoulder outside of the care of team doctors.

Ironically, Jenkins lost his starting spot to fellow draft bust, rookie Morris Claiborne.  For years, the Cowboys have been spending valuable resources trying to upgrade their situation at corner, but to no avai,l so do don’t be surprised if Dallas spends another high pick on a corner this year.

The first round selection of defensive end Shante Carver in 1994 signaled the unofficial end to former head coach Jimmy Johnson’s way of conducting business. Jones traded two picks to San Francisco (the arch rival of the 1990’s Cowboys) to acquire the Arizona State product.

In addition to being unproductive on the field, Carver had numerous off-the-field incidents. He was involved in an automobile accident, left the scene and was questioned by the police. He was also suspended six games in 1996 for multiple violations of the NFL substance abuse policy.

With the 18th pick of the 2006 draft the Cowboys were victimized by the nepotism of then head coach Bill Parcells when they selected Bobby Carpenter of Ohio St. who is the son of former Parcells’ favorite Rob Carpenter.   The blame for this awful pick should fall on Parcells but Jones did allow his team to draft the unphysical and slow linebacker who never amounted to more than a decent back-up in the NFL.

Carpenter was so fragile and weak that his teammates nicknamed him “Barbie” Carpenter.

When each team drafts, fans cheer, boo, or throw their hands into the air in frustration because obviously the average fan has done the due diligence to be qualified as a draft expert or team executive.

However, even the professionals often get it wrong. Jones is currently riding a hot streak in the first round but it would be wise for fans to keep a level head when Dallas picks tomorrow night.

On the other hand, that wouldn’t be much fun so instead, throw a party, throw a fit, throw your remote at the dog but above all keep your passion for America’s Team alive. It makes the roller coaster of NFL fandom so much more fun.

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