For a franchise with a deep history and tradition of winning, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a rare position with a late first round pick in 2017.
Looking back in history, it doesn’t take a football guru to tell you that the Dallas Cowboys are a successful pillar of the NFL. With a franchise tradition as rich as theirs, one would think Dallas would be familiar drafting near the end of round one.
In actuality, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Only fifteen times since their first draft in 1961 have the Dallas Cowboys had a selection 24th or lower. Remember, this is a franchise that has won nine or more games 33 times.
Yet and still, it’s the rare occasion that has the Cowboys making a draft selection late on day one.
With just fifteen options to choose from, the sample size is quite small. That is especially true when you consider this will be 56th time Dallas has participated in the draft.
The production value, however, has been exceeding impressive.
Ten of the fifteen selections became starters at some point in time while donning the Star. That’s exactly what you’re looking for with a late first round choice.
Five players have been invited to the Pro Bowl despite being selected at the end of round one a total of twelve times. Former running back Calvin Hill leads the group with four while receiver Dez Bryant and center Travis Frederick have three appearances.
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Four of the fifteen played in 100+ games in their careers. That averages out to approximately six and one quarter seasons. Since the league average is between 3-4 years for a NFL career, I would say that puts the Cowboys ahead of the curve.
Speaking of four, that’s the number of times the Dallas Cowboys have selected a cornerback late in round one. Those four, including current safety Byron Jones, provided Dallas with 16 total interceptions. One might not consider that a truly great return on investment.
Ironically, that’s a position in strong consideration for this year’s 28th overall pick.
Three players became All-Pro’s at some point in their career. Two of them, Bryant (24th overall) and Frederick (31st overall) are on the current roster.
Only one selection, defensive end Anthony Spencer (26th overall), has double-digit sacks for his career. In fact, only three times have the Dallas Cowboys even thought of a defensive lineman this late.
That is another position very likely in the mix on Thursday, April 27.
While one could debate between Bryant, Frederick and Hill as the best overall choice, there is no argument as to who was the worst. In 1984, with the 25th overall pick, linebacker Billy Cannon became a Cowboy. His career lasted just eight games due to a neck injury.
Lastly, the Dallas Cowboys have never, ever went with a quarterback late in round one. I feel extremely confident you can expect that trend to continue next month as well.
Clearly, the Cowboys are hoping to strike some late round magic once again this year. Another Travis Frederick type might be too much to ask for. A solid starter, however, would make everyone in the organization happy.
Check in Tuesday morning for my follow up column on just how rare finding a star this late really can be.