Ranking the Cowboys’ last 10 first-round draft picks

The Dallas Cowboys have had some strong picks in Round 1
Dallas Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb
Dallas Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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As much grief as the Dallas Cowboys front office gets — and much is deserved — they've actually done a great job in drafting as of late. Much of that is due to the work of Will McClay, who is essentially the team's general manager. Jerry Jones has that title but McClay, who holds the title of vice president of player personnel, refuses to interview elsewhere for any GM jobs. There's a reason for that.

With several holes to fill, there's a concern leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft, especially since the Cowboys didn't have a great draft in 2023. Historically, however, they have been able to land playmakers in Round 1 (Round 2 is a different story for another day). Here, we look at the past 10 players selected in the first round by Dallas and rank them from worst to first.

Note: The criteria isn't focused solely on statistics, especially since several offensive linemen don't have that to lean on. Instead, we look at stats, tenure, and importance to the success of the franchise. Future projections matter but won't be given much weight.

10. Taco Charlton, EDGE (2017)

No one can be perfect.

As good as the Cowboys have been in Round 1, they can get in trouble when they focus on a single position. We saw this in 2017 when they used the 28th overall selection on Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, Dallas fell in love with his measurables and used them as justification to pass on T.J. Watt — who went to the Steelers one pick later.

Charlton lasted just two years with the Cowboys and had 46 tackles and four sacks. He struggled with consistency and drew the ire of Rod Marinelli who had concerns with his lack of progress. Charlton should also get dinged for coming up with the annoying nickname "Hot Boyz" for the overrated defensive line they featured during his short tenure.

After being released by Dallas, Charlton bounced around the league and was out of football in 2023. Watt, who every fan unanimously asked for at No. 28, is still going strong with Pittsburgh.