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Top 20 And BOTB Players On Offense In Cowboys History (Non-QBs)

We are now three posts in, taking care of those that get credit for the wins and losses. The coaches and the quarterbacks are out of the way, now let's move along to the other position players. For a look at the quarterback pool, check here. Even excluding the signal callers, the Cowboys have been exceptionally blessed in being able to find championship level talent. The list is full of players with multiple championship rings, pro bowl nominations and some MVP honors.

We'll stray a little from out previous format, and for this post and probably the next, we will present the Top 20 non-quarterbacks. These rankings are per's Approximate Value score. PFR has graded each player in NFL history on a season by season basis, in an attempt to rank players from different eras.

Here's a brief explanation of the metric from it's creator, Doug Drinen.

"AV is not meant to be a be-all end-all metric. Football stat lines just do not come close to capturing all the contributions of a player the way they do in baseball and basketball. If one player is a 16 and another is a 14, we can't be very confident that the 16AV player actually had a better season than the 14AV player. But I am pretty confident that the collection of all players with 16AV played better, as an entire group, than the collection of all players with 14AV."

For the full explanation of AV, you can go here. We'll only be focusing on AV's accrued while in a Cowboys uniform.

As with all advanced metrics, the results are up for debate. While the majority of PFR's rankings pass the initial eye test, most of us aren't able to recollect players from other generations because we've never had a chance to watch them in action. We do have some BTB members that have been watching the team for 40 to 50 years, and as usual we appreciate any insight they have on these historical lists.

Follow the jump for the lists.

Rank Player Played From Played To Cowboys AV
20 TE Billy Joe Dupree 1973 1983 71
19 OT Pat Donovan 1975 1983 73
18 FB Don Perkins 1961 1968 76
17 TE Jason Witten 2003 2010 80
16 OT Mark Tuinei 1983 1997 80
15 C Mark Tuinei 1983 1997 80
14 WR Tony Hill 1978 1986 82
13 OT Erik Williams 1991 2000 86
12 C Tom Rafferty 1976 1989 87
11 OG John Niland 1966 1974 89


10 - WR 'Bullet' Bob Hayes

Hayes played from 1965-1971. Dallas Career AV 92. Three time Pro Bowler, two time First-Team All Pro. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2009. Led NFL in TD receptions 1965, 1966. Led league in yards per reception in 1970 and 1971. Led league with 20.8 punt return average in 1968.

9 - OG Nate Newton

Newton played from 1986-1998. Dallas Career AV 93. Six time Pro Bowler, two time First-Team All-Pro. Three time Super Bowl champion. Played two seasons in USFL.

8 - OT Flozell Adams

Adams played for the Cowboys from 1998-2009. DCAV 94. Five time Pro Bowler.

7 - WR Drew Peason

Pearson played from 1973-1983. DCAV 99. Three time Pro Bowler and Three time First-Team All-Pro. Led NFL in receiving yards in 1977. Played in three Super Bowls, winning one.

6 - OT Rayfield Wright

Played from 1967-1979. DCAV 104. Six time Pro Bowler, three time First-Team All-Pro. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2006. Played in five Super Bowls, winning two.

5 - OG Larry Allen

Played from 1994-2005. DCAV 110. 10 time Pro Bowler with Dallas, six time First Team All-Pro. Played in and won one Super Bowl.

4 - OT Ralph Neely

Played from 1965-1977. DCAV 124. Two time Pro Bowler, three time First-Team All-Pro. Played in four Super Bowls, winning two.

3 - WR Michael Irvin

Played from 1988-1999. DCAV 128. Five time Pro-Bowler, one time First-Team All-Pro. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. Played in and won three Super Bowls. Led league in receiving yards and ypg in 1991. Had career high 111 catches, 1603 yards and 10 catches in SB winning year of 1995. Had 47 100 yard games, third most in NFL history. 87 postseason receptions for 1315 yards, both rank second all-time.

2 - RB Tony Dorsett

Played for the Cowboys from 1977-1987. DCAV 131. Four time Pro-Bowler, one time First Team All-Pro. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1994. Played in two Super Bowls, winning one. Had NFL's longest runs from scrimmage in 1977 (84 yds) and 1982 (99) which is still the longest in NFL history. Ran for over 12,000 yards with the Cowboys, another 3400 yards receiving. Had 51 catches in 1984, averaged 9.0 yards per reception for his career.

1 - RB Emmitt Smith

Played for the Cowboys from 1990-2002. DCAV 162. Eight time Pro Bowler, four time First-Team All-Pro. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2010. Played in and won three Super Bowls. Led NFL in carries in '91, '94 and '95. Led league in rushing yards four times. Led league in rushing TDs three times, including 25 in '95. Also caught 62 passes that season. Averaged over 100 yards per game three different seasons. Career NFL leader in rushing yards with 18,355, over 17,000 with the Cowboys including the record breaker. 153 career rushing touchdowns in Dallas (2nd all time 164 total).


The rest of the Offensive Player Pool

I took a couple liberties here, but only a couple. There are some current Cowboys listed here that haven't had a chance to prove their all time worth just yet. I have confidence in them, though, and to round out the field they've been included.

Position Player Played From Played To
C C John Fitzgerald 1971 1980
C C Andre Gurode 2002 2010
C C Mark Stepnoski 1989 2001
C C Jim Cooper 1977 1986
C C Dave Menders 1964 1974
G G Tony Liscio 1963 1971
OG OG Herb Scott 1975 1984
OG OG Blaine Nye 1968 1976
OG OG Leonard Davis 2007 2010
OG OG Kevin Gogan 1987 1993
OG OG Kyle Kosier 2006 2010
OT OT Marc Colombo 2006 2010
OT OT Doug Free 2009 2010
RB RB Calvin Hill 1969 1974
RB FB Walt Garrison 1966 1974
RB FB Robert Newhouse 1972 1982
RB RB Herschel Walker 1986 1997
RB RB Marion Barber 2005 2010
RB FB Ron Springs 1979 1984
RB FB Moose Johnston 1989 1998
RB FB Amos Marsh 1961 1964
RB RB Duane Thomas 1970 1971
RB RB Felix Jones 2008 2010
RB FB Richie Anderson 2003 2004
TE TE Jay Novacek 1990 1995
TE TE Doug Cosbie 1979 1988
TE TE Eric Bjornson 1995 1999
TE TE Mike Ditka 1969 1972
WR WR Frank Clarke 1960 1967
WR WR Terrell Owens 2006 2008
WR WR Alvin Harper 1991 1994
WR WR Terry Glenn 2003 2006
WR WR Lance Rentzel 1967 1970
WR WR Miles Austin 2007 2010
WR WR Dez Bryant 2010 2010



Quick question. I was amazed to see Tony Dorsett had 84 fumbles while with the Cowboys. That is an incredible number including three years in double digits. I started watching the Cowboys in the mid to late 80's, can someone fill me in on how that was viewed at the time?

Also, let us know how you feel about PFR's rankings. Anything that you'd have done differently? Give us your version of a top 20 and anything else that has caught your eye.


Up next in the series: BOTB Defensive Skill Positions

Special recognition for this series goes to the following resources. I'm very appreciative of the content provided.

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