Dallas Cowboys land Ray Rice in 2008 NFL Re-Draft

Oct 13, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) gets tackled by Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett (42) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) gets tackled by Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett (42) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

In a do-over of the 2008 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys land controversial running back Ray Rice according to a Cowboys legend.

The 2008 NFL Draft was unique for the Dallas Cowboys. That’s due to the fact America’s Team had two selections in the first round that offseason due to a trade made the previous year.

The Cowboys traded the 22nd overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns for a future first round selection plus an additional second rounder. With that pick, the Browns drafted Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.

With their extra 2008 first round selection, ironically also 22nd overall, the Cowboys drafted Arkansas running back Felix Jones. After selecting the speedy scat back from owner Jerry Jones’ alma mater, Dallas turned around and traded their other first round selection, 28th overall, to the Seattle Seahawks to move up three spots in order to grab South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins with the 25th pick.

After a promising rookie season that was cut short by a torn hamstring and a toe injury, Jones was never quite the same player. The former Razorback played five years in Dallas, never rushing for more than 800 yards in a single season. A year after leaving the Cowboys in 2013, Jones was out of the NFL entirely.

Like Jones, Jenkins spent his first five seasons with the Cowboys. The cornerback also experienced early success in Dallas, even being named to the Pro Bowl after posting 49 tackles, 19 pass defends and five interceptions in 2009. The Cowboys moved on from Jenkins in 2013 after they signed free agent cornerback Brandon Carr and drafted LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne in first round the year prior.

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Jenkins spent a year with the Oakland Raiders, followed by two more seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his stint in Dallas. Last year, the Arizona Cardinals signed the then 31-year corner. But a torn ACL landed Jenkins on Injured Reserve prior to the start of the season.

Neither Jones nor Jenkins can be truly considered successful first round selections, as few players are. So if the Cowboys had a chance to redo the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, would they have fared any better?

According to Cowboys former vice president of player personnel for 29 years turned NFL media analyst Gil Brandt, Dallas would have landed another running back with their first selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. In a recent do-over of that draft, Brandt slated controversial rusher Ray Rice out of Rutgers as the Cowboys’ top selection.

"“One can’t ignore the serious ugliness of what Rice did to bring about his downfall in Baltimore,” wrote Brandt on his redraft that appeared on the league’s official website recently. “But it’s hard to imagine Rice going completely undrafted, given the levels at which he produced during his prime — from 2009 (when he first started getting significant carries) to 2012, only Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson ran for more yards in the NFL.”"

Rice was originally the 55th overall selection in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Prior to his infamous domestic violence incident in 2014, the 5-foot-8, 206 pound running back rushed for 1,000+ yards in four of his six seasons in Baltimore. Rice was also a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and a Super Bowl champion (XLVII).

Despite turning just 30-years old this year, Rice is still the poster child for domestic violence in the league. As a result, he’s likely played his last snap in the NFL. But as a projected member of the Cowboys, his production would have far exceeded that of Felix Jones.

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With the 25th overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft re-do, Brandt identified Glenn Dorsey, a defensive tackle out of LSU, as the Cowboys likely second pick in the first round. Dorsey was originally the fifth overall selection in this draft class. He spent his first five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 31-year old defensive tackle has been with the San Francisco 49ers the last four years, starting just 14 games for the Niners in the past two seasons combined.