2. Emmitt Smith, RB, 1990
The second draft led by the duo of Jones and Johnson saw the Cowboys actually luck into one of the best running backs to ever play the game. Entering the draft, Dallas had their eye on James Francis from Baylor, but he was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 12 overall.
That meant they went with their second choice, which was Emmitt Smith. The Cowboys did have to move up to land Smith, giving up a third-round selection to go from 21 to 17, but it was well worth it.
Smith, who was considered too small and too slow by some scouts had an immediate impact on America’s Team. As a rookie — following a long holdout ahead of camp — he recorded 937 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. That proved to be the only time in his Dallas career he would run for fewer than 1,000 yards until the 2002 season, finishing with 17,162 yards in 13 years while winning the NFL rushing title four times as well.
He wasn’t just a back who picked up a ton of yards either. Smith was the complete package, proving to be a monster in the red zone as he led the NFL in rushing touchdowns three times. The first was in 1992 when he had 18 touchdowns, then he put up 21 in 1994 and 25 in 1995.
Smith ended his career by playing two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and even had 937 yards and nine touchdowns in 2004 at the age of 35. To this day, he’s still No. 1 all-time in rushing yards and that record will be hard to break even with the extra game each season.