Ranking the Dallas Cowboys' most important offensive lineman in franchise history

The Dallas Cowboys, known as "America's Team," are among the greatest franchises in NFL history. Here are the 10 greatest offensive lineman in franchise history.
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The Dallas Cowboys have the most wins in NFL history since their inaugural season in 1960. A key ingredient to their success has been the presence of dominant offensive lineman.

So, let's look at the top ten offensive lineman in franchise history, who have contributed significantly to America's Team's legacy.

Honorable Mentions: Pat Donovan (1975-1983), Mark Tuinei (1983-1997), Andre Gurode (2002-2010), Flozell Adams (1998-2009)


10. Travis Frederick C (2013-2017, 2019)

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If it weren't for his career being cut short, Travis Frederick would be on his way to Canton. Frederick was a perennial Pro Bowler before being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. After taking a year off due to the autoimmune disease, Frederick returned and made another Pro Bowl.

However, the season proved to be too physically demanding, leading to his early retirement. Frederick will always be remember for his dominance and during his short time on the team the Cowboys had the league leading rusher three different times.

Accolades: 5x Pro Bowler, 1x All-Pro


9. Erik Williams RT (1991-2000)

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Erik Williams was once considered the best offensive tackle in the game before a tragic car accident in 1994. Despite the injury, Williams continued to have a great NFL career, winning one more Super Bowl, appearing in three more Pro Bowls, and even being selected as a first-team All-Pro. However, many Cowboys greats think he was destined for Canton if it wasn't for the injury.

Accolades: 4x Pro Bowler, 2x All-Pro, 3x Super Bowl Champion


8. Mark Stepnoski C (1989-1994, 1999-2001)

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Mark Stepnoski was undersized for a center, but it did not deter him from having a fantastic career in the NFL. Stepnoski was a key ingredient to the Cowboys' success, helping them win two of their three Super Bowls in the 1990s. He briefly left the Cowboys for the Houston Oilers and made an additional two Pro Bowls before returning to the Cowboys.

Accolades: 3x Pro Bowler, 2x Super Bowl Champion. HOF All-1990s Team


7. Ralph Neely LT/RT (1965-1977)

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Ralph Neely was a key player on the Cowboys' offensive line and was often underappreciated. Neely was known for his versatility, having played both tackle positions and even right guard. One of the Cowboys' many missteps over the years involves not including Neely in the Cowboys' Ring of Honor despite his significant contributions to the team's success.

Accolades: 2x Pro Bowl, 3x All-Pro, 2x Super Bowl Champion, HOF All-1960s Team


6. Nate Newton LG (1986-1998)

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Nate Newton's story is an all-time great. He started his career as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins in 1983. However, he was later waived and, on the same night, was involved in a serious car accident. After spending time in the USFL, "The Kitchen" eventually signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1986, becoming one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the NFL.

6x Pro Bowler, 2x All-Pro, 3x Super Bowl Champion


5. John Niland LG (1966-1974)

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Throughout John Niland's career, the Cowboys' rushing offense consistently ranked at least in the top five in the NFL, and they were number one for a few years. Without Niland, the Cowboys would not have won their first Super Bowl. He is arguably the most valuable player from that Super Bowl run. The Cowboys ran the ball to Niland's side nearly every time, and they were virtually unstoppable when running to his side.

6x Pro Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 1x Super Bowl Champion


4. Tyron Smith LT (2011-2023)

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tyron Smith is a wall at left tackle and one of the most physically intimidating athletes of all time. Smith is impenetrable when on the field, but he has struggled with injuries in the back end of his career, failing to play a full season the last eight seasons. His injuries shouldn't deter him from making it to the Hall of Fame, though. Smith played his final season with the Cowboys last year and signed with the Jets this off-season.

8x Pro Bowler, 2x All-Pro, HOF All-2010s Team


3. Rayfield Wright RT (1967-1979)

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Rayfield Wright, also known as "Big Cat," was an exceptional offensive tackle who played his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys. Wright initially joined the Cowboys as a tight end before making the transition to right tackle in his third season. Wright was the first offensive lineman to make the Hall of Fame as a Cowboy.

Accolades: 6x Pro Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 2x Super Bowl Champion, HOF All-1970s Team, Hall of Fame


2. Zack Martin RG (2014-2023)

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When it is all said and done, Zack Martin will join an extensive list of Dallas Cowboys players in the Hall of Fame. When the Cowboys drafted Martin, they were deciding between him and Johnny Manziel. I think I speak for all Cowboys fans when I say the Cowboys made the right decision. Martin's days in the NFL may be numbered, but if he retired today, he would have more Pro Bowl appearances than holding calls.

Accolades: 9x Pro Bowler, 7x All-Pro, HOF All-2010s Team


1. Larry Allen (1994-2005)

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Allen makes a strong case for being the greatest offensive lineman in history and is certainly regarded as the strongest offensive lineman of all time. In 2006, he benched 225 pounds 43 times and once benched 700 pounds, showcasing his incredible strength and power. Unfortunately, Allen passed away on June 2, 2024, but his legacy in the NFL is cemented forever.

Accolades: 10x Pro Bowler, 6x All-Pro, 1x Super Bowl Champion, Hall of Fame, HOF All-1990s Team, HOF All-2000s Team


These offensive lineman have helped make the Cowboys the most valuable franchise in sports. 

Despite their recent failure to win a Super Bowl, the Cowboys still have the third-most Super Bowls, fourth-most playoff wins, the most regular season wins, and the most Hall of Famers since their inaugural 1960 campaign.

Other Positions

- Quarterback

- Running Back

- Wide Receiver

- Tight End


Published
Koby Skillern

KOBY SKILLERN