Our continuing series looking at the Top 10 Biggest Draft Successes Of The Jerry Jones Era rolls on with #4. The guidelines - Must have been drafted during Jerry Jones' era (1989 - present), and generally needs to be a player chosen in the 3rd round or later. Anybody above that was expected to succeed. It's not a list of the best players, but a list of the best value to the team, based on contributions and when they were drafted. Also, certain intangibles can be thrown into the mix.
4. Tony Tolbert (1989, 4th round, #85, DE, Texas-El Paso)
Often overshadowed by players like Charles Haley and Leon Lett along the Cowboys defensive line during the 90s, Tony Tolbert should get more attention than he does.
Tolbert spent his first two years as a backup but still received some playing time. By 1991, he was the starting defensive end in the Cowboys rotation of defensive linemen. No other player had more sacks for the Cowboys in the 90s than Tolbert, even though he only hit double-digits in one year (12 sacks in '96). That year was also his only trip to the Pro Bowl. Tolbert was a model of consistency, churning out an average of around 7 sacks a season, and he also led the Cowboys defensive linemen in tackles for seven straight years.
Initially, there was concern that Tolbert was a 'tweener, not quite a linebacker and not quite a defensive end. Even as a 4-3 defensive end, he was still considered a little light initially. But he managed to hold his own in the run game as evidenced by his tackle totals each year.
His career ended up being cut short due to degenerative knees, but he managed to make his mark with the Cowboys during a period of great success, and was one of the un-sung heroes of that championship defense. For a fourth-rounder, that's great value.
Miscellaneous stats: Returned the only interception of his career for 54 yards and a TD. Ended up with 59 sacks over his career.
OCC: Led the Cowboys d-line in tackles for seven straight years and was the bookend to Charles Haley as one of the top pass rushing duos in the league.
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