With the 2013 NFL Draft about 2 months away and the Combine going on I thought it was a good time to look back at the Cowboys draft from 2003. This is a good way to check and see how your team has been drafting and 10 years is usually enough to give an accurate grade.
Coming out of the late 90's and early 00's the Cowboys were not a good team and a lot of that had to do with poor drafting. That started to change in 2002 when Dallas drafted solid contributors Roy Williams and Andre Gurode. In 2003 Dallas would grab three starters that would help push them ahead in the coming years.
1st round 5th overall, Terence Newman, CB, Kansas St. While his career in Dallas didn't end on a high not he was a starter for 9 years and a 2 time Pro-Bowler in 07 and 09. He finished his Dallas career with 32 INT's. Dallas 2003-2011, Cincinnati 2012-present.
2nd round 38th overall, Al Johnson, C, Wisconsin. Johnson battled injuries and the depth chart as he was buried behind Gurode. He missed all of 2003 and only stuck with the Cowboys through 2006. He was with Arizona in 2007 and Miami in 2008 and has been out of football since. He made 31 starts for Dallas and 14 for Arizona.
3rd round 69th overall, Jason Witten, TE, Tennessee. Amazing that a player like Witten fell all the way to the 69th pick but the future Hall of Famer has been great in Dallas. In 159 games including 149 starts he has 806 catches for 8948 yards and 44 TD's. He's also been to 8 Pro Bowls and is a 2 time first team All-Pro.
4th round 103rd overall, Bradie James, ILB, LSU. While James was never a great player he was a solid starter and good on the field leader. He stayed with Dallas through the 2011 season starting 111 games and playing in 143 while also notching 747 tackles. He spend 2012 with Houston and looks to be their in 2013.
6th round 178th overall, B.J. Tucker, CB, Wisconsin. Tucker never played with Dallas but did spend 2005 and 2006 with San Francisco making 19 tackles and picking up 1 start in 2006.
6th round 186th overall, Zuriel Smith, WR, Hampton. Smith would get just the 2003 season in the NFL. He appeared in 9 games and averaged 7.1 yards on 30 punt returns and 21.5 yards on 23 kick returns, he also added 3 receptions.
7th round 219th overall, Justin Bates, G, Colorado. Bates didn't make the team and never played.
While the last 3 picks of this draft did nothing 3 of the first 4 went on to have very good careers. All in all a very good draft.