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Dallas Cowboys Draft Myths Debunked

Michelle Wie watches in fascination as we put some Dallas Cowboys draft myths under the microscope.
Michelle Wie watches in fascination as we put some Dallas Cowboys draft myths under the microscope.

The virtual ink hasn't completely dried on the latest post by BTB-member 5Blings, and already we're ripping off the idea behind his 'Dallas Cowboys Myths Debunked' post.

In his post, 5Blings sheds light on three widely held, but largely unfounded 'myths' about the Cowboys and replaces them with facts. I liked the idea so much, I'm going to reapply it to some popular preconceptions about the draft and the Dallas Cowboys.

After the break, we'll look at Jerrys Jones' widely reported love for skill position players in the draft, his purported penchant for drafting players out of Arkansas, how the Cowboys have ostensibly neglected drafting linemen for years and more.

Myth No. 1: Jerry Jones loves drafting skill position players.

For all we know, Jerry Jones may indeed love drafting skill position players, but he certainly hasn't been doing it a lot. Tony Violetti from took an extensive look at each NFL team's drafting tendencies from 1992-2011. His findings will be a shock to many who firmly believe that Jerry Jones has a penchant for "shiny things" in the draft:

  • Only 20% of the Cowboys' total draft picks from 1992-2011 are offensive skill position players, the second lowest value in the league.
  • In the first three rounds of the draft from 1991-2011, the Cowboys spent only 16.1% of their draft picks on skill position players. This is the lowest value in the league.

Myth #2: Jerry Jones loves players out of Arkansas.

Jerry Jones attended college at the University of Arkansas. He played guard for the Razorbacks, was a co-captain of the 1964 National Championship football team and a teammate of Jimmy Johnson. This has led many to believe that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have a preference for players out of Arkansas, and it seems like every time there's a highly rated prospect out of Arkansas, that player is automatically associated with the Cowboys.

Fact is, of the 200+ draft picks in Jerry Jones' tenure as Cowboys owner, only one draft pick, 2008's Felix Jones, was a Razorback.

Myth #3: The Cowboys have neglected drafting linemen.

While it is true that Tyron Smith was the first lineman the Cowboys took with their first round pick since Jerry Jones took over the Cowboys, it doesn't mean they haven't drafted linemen in the other rounds.

In fact, as Tony Violetti also shows, the Cowboys spent 34, or 20%, of their 170 draft picks between 1992 and 2011 on offensive lineman. That percentage is the highest of any team in the league. The Cowboys may not have been particularly good at picking linemen, or they may have let a couple of good ones slip through their fingers, but they did draft more than any other team.

In the 23 drafts under Jones, the Cowboys have picked at least two offensive lineman in 14 drafts, and did not pick a single lineman only three times. And it's a pretty good bet that 2012 will not be the fourth such year.

Myth # 4: "I didn't want the Cowboys to pick Felix Jones."

The revisionist historians of the old Soviet Union would be slack-jawed in utter amazement at the amount revisionist history perpetrated unchallenged by fans and media alike about the NFL draft every year. And the amount of revisionism is directly proportional to the elapsed time since that draft.

Case in point: The Cowboys' Felix Jones. You simply cannot have a discussion about the 2008 draft without some dude popping up - armed to the teeth with the benefit of hindsight - and loudly and belligerently proclaiming that he (or she) was flabbergasted that the Cowboys picked Felix Jones ahead of Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles or [insert name of anybody taken below Felix Jones here].

Here's a poll we took on BTB in 2008, about two weeks before the draft. Note how the vote isn't even close. The vast majority of Cowboys fans would have picked Felix Jones over Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles in 2008.


So the next time somebody tells you how he or she knew all along that this guy or that guy was going to be good or bad, you make like you're from Missouri, the Show-Me State: ask them to back up their claim with some actual documentation to make sure they are not using their extraordinary powers of hindsight for their own personal gain.

Myth # 5: The Cowboys love drafting players from Texas

In their 51-year franchise history, the Cowboys have not shown a propensity for drafting players out of Texas-based programs. In fact, of the top ten schools as ranked ny number of Cowboys draft picks, only two are from Texas:

Rank School Draft picks
1 Tennessee 23
T2 Florida State 18
T2 Miami, Fla. 18
T2 Southern California 18
T2 Texas A&M 18
6 Oklahoma 17
T7 Ohio State 16
T7 UCLA 16
9 SMU 15
10 Washington 14

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