Outside of a couple of misses, the Dallas Cowboys have done a pretty solid job in the first round of the NFL Draft over their storied history. While not all of their top players were taken in Round 1, many of their building blocks were.
Having said that, there were some hits well before Will McClay and Stephen Jones took a more active role in the decision-making on draft day. Here, we look through the Cowboys history and identify their 15 greatest first-round selections.
The 15 greatest first-round picks in Dallas Cowboys history
15. Jim Jeffcoat, DE, 1983
One of the more overlooked names from the Cowboys’ strong defenses in the 1980s and early 1990s is Jim Jeffcoat. Selected at No. 23 overall out of Arizona State, Jeffcoat was a reserve as a rookie and had just two sacks, but then broke out in year two.
That second season, he started all 16 games and had 82 tackles with 11.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a defensive touchdown. That was the first of three-straight campaigns with at least 10 sacks for Jeffcoat. He also hit 100 tackles in the 1989 campaign, showing he was a stud when it came to shutting down the run as well as getting after the quarterback.
Jeffcoat won two titles with the Cowboys following the 1992 and 1993 seasons. During his 12 years in Dallas, he registered 94.5 sacks, which has him standing at No. 8 overall in franchise history.
Ahead of the 1995 season, Jeffcoat headed to the Buffalo Bills for his final three seasons, playing until the age of 36.