Beriault was our 6th round draft choice of the all-world draft class back in 2005. However, he had surgery on both knees that year, sitting on injured reserve the entire 2005 season. But he did play in preseason in 2006 and played exceptionally well. I only watch preseason games for two reasons: To see how the team overall is coming together and discover what newcomers are going to contribute to the team that year. Beriault stood out in those games like a man amongst boys. He was all over the field, making tackles, batting down passes and even made an interception or two. I was so excited for this kid and our secondary. He was the perfect fit for our defense and filled a major hole...that has still yet to be filled.
Oh, some of you have no idea nor can you remember who Justin Beriault, the safety that almost was, do you? Other die-hard pre-season scholars remember him quite well. The signing of FA OL Donald Leary has me thinking of the potential greatness of Beriault and what I thought was our saving grace at safety back in 2006.
Hopefully Leary's surgically-repaired knee holds up not only this season but for many seasons. I have a feeling this kid could be our starting RG if it does. If not, he'll be another one of those "what-might-have been" guys that few of us will ever remember.
Other notable injury-prone rookies who never got a chance to prove their long-term worth with the Cowboys:
Billy Cannon Jr. - 1st Round pick 1985. He was the 25th overall pick out of Texas A&M, but broke his neck against New Orleans in October of his rookie season while making a special teams tackle. His father was a Heisman Trophy winner at LSU.Would've had been the ideal MLB for the 'Boys for several years.
Mike Sherrard - 1st Round pick 1986. Ironically the year we missed on Jerry Rice in the 1st round because San Francisco traded ahead of us (Gil Brandt always tells this story), we drafted Sherrard out of UCLA. Sherrard caught 41 balls for 741 yards and 5 TDs his rookie season. He had all the physical tools, but broke his leg after his rookie season. While running on a beach the next season, Sherrard again broke his leg. His career never manifested in Dallas before he landed in all places...San Francisco. He went on to have a decent 9-year career with three different teams, amassing 257 catches for 3,931 yards. Had he panned out, we might have never drafted Michael Irvin. But then again, had we landed Jerry Rice in '85, we wouldn't have needed Sherrard.
Jimmy Smith - 2nd Round pick 1992: The WR broke his leg, as well in his rookie season. Then underwent an emergency appendectomy the following season. Got into a very public dispute with owner Jerry, who didn't want to pay him his money that year since it was a "non-football injury." Smith goes on to finish his career with 862 catches for 12,287 yards and 67 TDs, all Jacksonville Jaguar records and all better stats than Michael Irvin. Oh, Jerry. Was that few hundred thousand dollars you saved worth running off the ideal complement to Irvin? Keeping Smith, we would never had done the Joey Galloway trade, which cost us two 1st round picks. His early injuries haunts us more than any I can remember.
Are there any other players you guys can think of that fit in this group?
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