A former classmate and fellow Dallas Cowboys fan hit me up with an e-mail question earlier today. That question was "Which Cowboys legend would you chose to start a franchise with?" The kicker was that he added a provision that I could not opt for Bob Lilly, since that had already been tried. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that there were several ways to go, and any of them could be a workable option.
My first instinct was to say a quarterback, i.e. Roger Staubach, because I would need an outstanding field general in whom the players had the utmost confidence. The 'Boys of Roger's era often stated that they never lost a game when Roger played, however they sometimes ran out of time. They didn't call him 'Captain Comeback' for nothing. I could certainly do a lot worse than selecting #12 to build a franchise around, but ultimately I decided that perhaps a quarterback would not make the best choice. There is no sense in getting perhaps the most valuable piece in place first and subjecting that investment to the type of risk that would be involved without having the other pieces in place first.
That line of thought made me start thinking offensive linemen. Without a doubt either Rayfield Wright or Larry Allen would make a stout foundation for an offensive front to protect my passer, once I made that investment. The hard part would be choosing between the two gentlemen. That is the type of conundrum that a team's front office would love to be faced with. If you believe that you must build in the trenches first, either man would more than fit the bill.
The next problem I ran into was the fact that there is an equal and opposite force on the other side of the line of scrimmage. A dominating defense can set the tone for an entire team. Remember groups like Doomsday, the Steel Curtain, and the Purple People Eaters. That is the type of mentality I want from my team, so a player like Randy White comes in to play. So do guys like Ed 'Too Tall' Jones and Harvey 'Too Mean' Martin, although I would be hard pressed to invest my very first pick on either one.
Speaking of defense, someone has to run things and make plays on that side of the ball. There have been some great players at linebacker for the Cowboys, Maybe a Lee Roy Jordan or a Chuck Howley would be a good start. Another option would be to have a playmaker in the secondary. I could see taking Mel Renfro to patrol the secondary. I might even opt to bring in Woody. His style of play would help to set the tone for the team I want.
At the end of the day, the object of the game is to put the most points on the board. For that purpose, it is important to consider a receiver or a running back. Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, Tony Dorsett, and Emmitt Smith all would give the team a dynamic threat to put serious points on the board from anywhere on the field. Each could dominate his position immediately and would make another excellent choice.
There were plenty of viable options to consider. Given that Lilly was taken out of the equation, and the fact that I was on the clock, so to speak, I fell back to my belief that football games are won up front. The pick I made was not a sexy one, but it was a choice I felt the most confidence in making. With my #1 draft pick, ruling out Mr. Cowboy, I chose to build my franchise with Mr. Rayfield Wright. The final deciding factor for me was something that I once heard said by Roger Staubach.
If Rayfield Wright ever made a mistake, I never saw it.
What more could you ask for from the guy you plan to build a team around?
Now it is time to throw this out to the community. There are no wrong answers, well maybe if you decide to build around Clint Longley, but I doubt you will do that. So, excluding Bob Lilly, which Dallas Cowboys legend would you build a team around?