13. Ed “Too Tall” Jones, DE, 1974
There were a couple of firsts that came together in 1974. One was that it was the first time the Cowboys made a selection with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. They obtained that spot by trading Tody Smith and Billy Parks to the Houston Oilers for their position in the draft.
Then, they took Ed “Too Tall” Jones with that pick, making him the first ever player from an HBCU to go first overall. The 6-foot-9, 271-pound Jones proved to be a problem for opposing offensive linemen right away.
The Tennessee State product finished third in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting after recording six sacks in a rotational role. He then became a starting defensive end by his second year and held that job for four seasons, even winning a title with Dallas following the 1977 campaign.
Jones then left the NFL in 1979 when he decided to retire and pursue a career as a professional boxer. He had some success but then returned in 1980 to play for the Cowboys again, later saying his boxing training helped him improve as a football player.
That season, Jones landed in the Pro Bowl and was named an All-Pro in both 1981 and 1983. He played until the 1989 season and finished with 106 career sacks. At the time of his retirement, Jones had played in the most games ever for a Cowboy, and never missed a game.