Last year, in the run-up to his Hall of Fame induction, Bill Parcells was asked in a national telephone call which one player in NFL history he'd start a team with. Parcells chose Lawrence Taylor:
"There are priority positions in this game, quarterback is one of those, so I consider that," Parcells said. "But if you're pinning me down -- I'm a little prejudiced -- I think I'd take Lawrence Taylor. Because I know he's going to be there every Sunday and try his best to win, for sure."
That's not a bad choice, and given that Parcells won both of his Super Bowls with the Giants and with Lawrence Taylor, it is also an honorable choice, as Parcells could have chosen almost any player on any team with the way the question was phrased.
Which brings us to our Question of the Day, which we'll phrase slightly differently: Which current and which former Cowboys player would you choose to start a franchise with?
Comparing players acros eras is always a bit tricky (a 260-pound All Pro tackle from the 1960s might be considered undersized today) but as we're looking for that foundational player for our franchise, we're more concerned with intangibles than with any measurables anyway. I asked some of my fellow writers here at BTB for their take, and here are the current and former players each one of us selected to build our hypothetical franchise around:
|Writer||Current Player||Former Player|
|Joey Ickes||Dez Bryant||Harvey Martin|
|Joey: It's hard to find two more passionate football players than Martin & Bryant. Put these two on opposite sides of the ball, let them set the tone and watch the fireworks fly all over the field.|
|Kegbearer||Tyron Smith||Roger Staubauch|
|Keg: Pro Bowl LT don't grow on trees and they usually aren't as good at run blocking as they are in pass protection, and almost never 23 years young. Perhaps it's because I never got to see him play live, but Roger's leadership and professionalism are legendary and it would be great to see what he could do in a modern NFL offense.|
|Rabblerousr||Tyron Smith||Troy Aikman|
|Rabble: Franchises are built around great players at the cornerstone positions: QB; WR; LT; CB and passrusher. The Cowboys currently have exactly one franchise-level player at one of those positions, and that's Smith. The most important of these positions, of course, is quarterback, which is why I choose Aikman, who was as competitive and fiery as Staubach and arguably the most accurate passer in NFL history.|
|Tom Ryle||Jason Witten||Bob Lilly|
|Tom: I pick the Senator for the example he sets. With every other player, I point to him and say "If you want to be a success in the NFL, do it like he does." Bob Lilly was the first draft choice ever for the franchise, and they built a pretty good team starting with him. I believe in sticking with what works.|
|Dawn Macelli||Dez Bryant||Randy White|
|Dawn: Dez Bryant would give the franchise a dynamic playmaker from the get go, and Randy White to bring not only his skill, but also his mind-set to the defense..|
|Neithan20000||Sean Lee||Emmitt Smith|
|Neithan: Emmitt Smith. I think RB's are presently undervalued, especially ones that can handle a 20+ touch workload. Couple that with a healthy Sean Lee and you have a foundation of a hard nosed team that can remain competitive even if the talent around them is mediocre.|
|OCC||Sean Lee||Michael Irvin|
|OCC: Some day in the not too distant future, I'll probably pick Dez Bryant over Michael Irvin, but for now Irvin is the type of emotional leader I'd want to build my franchise around. Sean Lee would be my modern day choice as the consummate professional, field general of the defense, and overall leader of the franchise.|
Would you pick one of these players to start your franchise with, or would it be another current or former Cowboys great not on this list? Let us know in the comments.