The NFL Draft is coming up next month and we started reflecting on Dallas Cowboys picks of years past. There were some selections that turned out great while others flopped.
Today, we’re going to review those drafts and see how things would’ve gone if the Cowboys drafted different players. We’ll talk about the picks that hit along with the ones that never worked out.
Dak Prescott: The Mid-Round Gem
The Cowboys got a steal with Dak Prescott in round four of the 2016 NFL Draft. It’s not often that a selection that late in the draft winds up having the third-most passing yards in franchise history after seven seasons.
The QBs selected before Dak were Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, Jacoby Brissett, Cody Kessler and Connor Cook.
The only one that compares to Prescott is Goff; the first overall pick in the draft. Goff actually has more passing yards than Prescott, but Dak has thrown more touchdowns and fewer interceptions.
To select a franchise QB in the fourth round is a rarity, so the Cowboys knocked it out of the park here.
Trevon Diggs: The Gamble That Paid Off
When the Cowboys took Trevon Diggs in round two of the 2020 NFL Draft, it was a bit of a gamble. Diggs started his college career as a WR, then switched to CB, playing only 28 games on defense before declaring for the draft.
But the Cowboys had faith Diggs could perform at the next level and they were spot on. In just three seasons, Trevon has 17 interceptions and has made an All-Pro team along with two Pro Bowls.
The CBs that went before Diggs were Jeff Okudah, C.J. Henderson, AJ Terrell, Damon Arnette, Noah Igbinoghene, Jeff Gladney and Jaylon Johnson. But Diggs has far and away outperformed them all.
Taco Charlton: A Rare First Round Flop
The Cowboys recent first round selections have been solid. Tyler Smith, Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb and Leighton Vander Esch have begun carving out solid careers.
An exception to this trend was Taco Charlton in the 2017 NFL Draft. Taco played just two seasons in Dallas and only recorded four sacks. The team would release Charlton ahead of the 2019 season after failing to find a team willing to trade for him.
What’s even worse is that two picks after Charlton went off the board, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted T.J. Watt. After just six seasons, Watt is a three-time All-Pro, a five-time Pro Bowler and has won the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Dallas doesn’t miss on first rounders often, but they really dropped the ball with this one.
Morris Claiborne: The Cowboys Could’ve Done Better
Morris Claiborne was solid and the team even picked up his fifth year option before he left Dallas. But the Cowboys took him sixth overall, and there were some Hall of Fame talents that were selected after him.
One of those players is Luke Keuchly. The former Carolina Panther is decorated with five All-Pros, seven Pro Bowls, Defensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and is a member of the All-2010s HOF Team.
Then you’ve got Fletcher Cox who has been a force for the Philadelphia Eagles for 11 seasons now. Cox is also a member of the All-2010s HOF Team, is a six-time Pro Bowler and a one-time All-Pro.
Claiborne was a fine player. But it’s easy to daydream about what the early-2010s Cowboys teams could’ve accomplished if they had Keuchly or Cox.