1977 – Second overall pick: Tony Dorsett, RB – Pittsburgh
12,036 rushing yards, 72 touchdowns in ten seasons with Dallas
Back in those days, 335 players were selected over 12 rounds. Out of all 335 players, only Dorsett has been enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Dorsett was named offensive Rookie of the Year, made four Pro Bowl teams, one All-Pro selection, and is still tenth all-time in rushing yards. Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys get an A+ for this choice.
1989 – First overall pick: Troy Aikman, QB – UCLA
Three Super Bowl rings, 11-5 playoff record in 12 seasons with Dallas
In an absolutely loaded draft that produced five Hall of Fame nominees in the first round, four of which in the first five picks, Dallas did not miss on their pick. Anytime you turn your draft card in to select a quarterback, you hope that player turns out like Troy Aikman. While he did not produce gaudy stats, he was a consummate winner who led this team back to prominence and the Cowboys second Hall of Famer in two straight top ten picks giving Dallas another A+ grade.
1991 – First overall pick: Russell Maryland, DT – Miami
Three Super Bowl rings, one Pro Bowl in five seasons with Dallas
While Maryland produced very pedestrian statistics and only played five seasons in Dallas, this draft was one of the worst overall in NFL history. Only five first-round selections ever became an All-Pro and no one selected in the top 32 picks made it to the Hall of Fame. Maryland contributed to three Super Bowl champion teams but he was not the reason why the team won those rings. It is hard to call this a miss, simply because the draft was so weak, so we will grade this as incomplete.