Fans of the Dallas Cowboys can only dream of what could have been
The Dallas Cowboys have had a good run of draft success in recent years. In fact, seven of the Cowboys’ first-round selections since 2010 have been nominated to one or more Pro Bowls. But there have also been some major draft misses within that span. The biggest bust undoubtedly took place in 2017.
The 2017 draft class is very relevant today for the Cowboys as a bulk of their starters in the secondary were acquired that year. Those well-known names include cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis plus safety Xavier Woods. All of whom will become unrestricted free agents in March if they’re not re-signed.
But the real focus of the Cowboys’ 2017 draft class is first-rounder, Taco Charlton. The Michigan defensive end was chosen by Dallas with the 28th overall selection because he was viewed as a better fit for then-defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s scheme than Wisconsin linebacker, T.J. Watt.
The younger brother of Houston Texans’ star defensive tackle J.J. Watt was drafted two spots after Charlton, 30th overall, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thus forever linking to the two draftees in the minds of Cowboy fans.
Charlton would go on to become one of the biggest draft busts in franchise history. He would play just over two seasons in Dallas, with the team outright releasing him in September of 2019. Charlton would record a total of 4.0 sacks in seven starts as a Cowboy and now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Watt would go on to post 7.0 sacks as a rookie, starting in 15 games. Ever since he’s registered double-digit sack totals and earned Pro Bowl honors for each of the past three seasons. in 2020, Watt posted a career-high 15.0 sacks as a 15-game starter for the Steelers.
The football analytics website Pro Football Focus (PFF) recently revealed their choices for their own 2020 NFL All-Pro Team. At the EDGE position, PFF selected T.J. Watt on their first team and the Cowboys’ own DeMarcus Lawrence on the second team. This ranking is just another tragic reminder of what could have been in Dallas … the most dominant pass-rushing duo in the NFL.