A couple of recent articles highlight the highs and lows of Cowboys draft day efforts.
This article looks all the way back to the Cowboys 1991 draft and ranks it ninth-best of all-time double-dip drafts. They define a double-dip draft as a team drafting twice in the first round. That year, the Cowboys were flush with acquired picks resulting from the Herschel Walker trade. They grabbed Russell Maryland and Alvin Harper with their first two picks in the first round that year, and helped build a dynasty with them. They weren't superstars in their own right, but cogs in a very powerful Cowboys machine. Bonus point: The Cowboys actually had three picks in the first round and drafted Kelvin Pritchett but immediately shipped him out as a pre-arranged trade that netted them Dixon Edwards among others.
What's really interesting about the article is just a reminder of how well the Cowboys did with those picks from the Vikings for Herschel Walker, along with their own picks.
This draft is easy to overlook because the Cowboys blew up the board every year under [Jimmy] Johnson. In 1989, they drafted Troy Aikman, Mark Stepnoski, Daryl Johnston, Steve Wisniewski (who starred for the Raiders) and Tony Tolbert: one of the best drafts ever. The 1990 draft brought Emmitt Smith and some role players; when your off year provides a Hall of Famer, your "on" years are pretty special. The 1992 draft brought starters Kevin Smith and Robert Jones in another first-round double dip, then Darren Woodson (a five-time Pro Bowler) and a wide receiver the team had no room for in the second round. The receiver was Jimmy Smith, one of the greatest players in Jaguars history.
A different article looks at more recent history and has Dallas as a winner in the 2005 draft, another Cowboys' double-dip draft. That year the Cowboys grabbed DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears, but they also got Jay Ratliff, Marion Barber, Chris Canty and Kevin Burnett.
But wherever there is good, there is bad. And the Cowboys 2009 draft was so bad that in many ways the Cowboys are still trying to recover. That year Dallas had 12 picks (but none in the first two rounds) and ended up with a whole lot of nothing. John Phillips or Victor Butler were probably the most successful picks, so that tells you how bad that draft was. Let's hope the Cowboys fare much better this year!