Cowboys 10 Worst NFL Draft Picks, All-Time - Ranked

The Bottom 10, Worst NFL Draft Picks in Dallas Cowboys History. Because We Say So
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FRISCO - In their previous 60 NFL Drafts the Dallas Cowboys have selected 739 players, highlighted by 11 future Pro Football Hall of Famers. They’ve also, however, wasted precious picks on a basketball player (Pat Riley in ’67), a baseball player (Merv Rettemund in ’65) and an Olympic sprinter (Carl Lewis in ’84) that never set foot on a football field.

Suffice to say, the Cowboys have historically been one of the most surprising teams in one of sports’ most fickle events.

In ’09 they orchestrated a Dirty Dozen, flubbing all 12 picks. In ’64 they recovered from a top-pick whiffto historically nab three Hall of Famers. In line with their lineage of inconsistency, the rolling five-year report card reveals a mixed bag of good (CeeDee Lamb in ’20, Leighton Vander Esch in ’18 and Ezekiel Elliott/Dak Prescott in ’16) and downright putrid (Trysten Hill in ’19 and Taco Charlton in ’17).

Though they’ve never had the 10th overall pick – as they do this year – drafting around that selection in the past has netted them Hall of Famers in Michael Irvin (11th in ’88), DeMarcus Ware (11th in ’05) and Tyron Smith (9th in ’11).

Given the nature of the draft in general and the impulse of Jerry Jones specifically, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint their 10th pick on April 29. (Though by gosh, at, we try!)

READ MORE: Who Tops Dallas Cowboys' 'Final 4' At No. 10 In NFL Draft?

Considering it’s much easier to look back with hindsight rather than ahead with foresight ... here, you can click into my Top 10 Best all-time Cowboys’ picks. And below? The Bottom 10:


10. David LaFleur – Hand-picked by Troy Aikman to replace Jay Novacek at tight end, the 22nd pick in ’97 flopped with only 85 catches in 60 career games.

9. Bobby Carpenter – Drafted 18th overall by Bill Parcells in ’06, he never became a starter in Dallas and was eventually cut.

8. Felix Jones – 22nd overall pick in ’08 scored on a kickoff return in his first game, but never rushed for more than 800 yards in a season.

7. Shante Carver – Defensive end was selected 23rd overall in ’94 (ahead of Larry Allen), but started only 26 games over four seasons.

6. Tody Smith – Southern Cal defensive end was drafted 25th overall in ’71, but produced 0 sacks in 69 games with Cowboys. Brandt had his misses, too.

5. Bill Thomas – The Boston College runner was taken ahead of Robert Newhouse in ’72, but never scored an NFL touchdown.

4. Morris Claiborne – They traded up to take him at No. 6 in ’12 because of his playmaking skills, which produced only four interceptions in five underwhelming seasons.

3. Kevin Brooks – Forgettable defensive lineman was picked 17th overall in ’85, one spot behind some guy named Jerry Rice.

2. Rod Hill – 25th overall pick in ’82 wasn’t even good enough to flop, never starting a game in a Cowboys uniform.

1. Scott Appleton – University of Texas Outland Trophy winner was taken 4th overall in ’64 and simultaneously traded (via pre-draft agreement) to the Steelers for receiver Buddy Dial, who scored only two touchdowns for the Cowboys. Appleton ultimately shunned Pittsburgh, signing instead with the AFL’s Houston Oilers to commence a disappointing career.

READ MORE: Again, The Top 10 All-Timers Are Glorious!