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A Brief History Of The Cowboys' Nine Draft Picks: What Dallas Can Expect To Get

A quick look at four year's worth of players selected with the draft picks the Cowboys currently hold in the 2016 NFL draft.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The NFL recently finalized the full order for 2016 Draft. The Cowboys will have nine selections in the draft in total, including four compensatory picks.

To get a better feel for what type of player could be waiting for the Cowboys in each round, here's an overview of the players selected in the past four years with the picks the Cowboys hold this year, along with a few selected metrics:

(On mobile devices, switch to landscape mode to better view the table)

Year Player
Pro Bowls Starter
1st Round, No. 4 overall
2015 Amari Cooper, WR, OAK 1 1 15
2014 Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF 0 2 29
2013 Lane Johnson, T, PHI 0 3 44
2012 Matt Kalil, T, MIN 1 4 64
2nd Round, No. 34 overall
2015 Donovan Smith, T, TAM 0 1 16
2014 Demarcus Lawrence, DE, DAL 0 1 13
2013 Justin Hunter, WR, TEN 0 1 13
2012 Coby Fleener, TE, IND 0 4 45
3rd Round, No. 67 overall
2015 A.J. Cann, G, JAX 0 1 13
2014 Billy Turner, T, MIA 0 1 12
2013 Bennie Logan, DT, PHI 0 3 38
2012 Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN 0 1 15
4th Round, No. 101 overall
2015 Trey Flowers, DE, NWE 0 0 0
2014 Jaylen Watkins, DB, PHI 0 0 0
2013 Ace Sanders, WR, JAX 0 0 4
2012 Omar Bolden, DB, DEN 0 0 1
4th Round, No. 135 overall
2015 Marcus Hardison, DE, CIN 0 0 0
2014 Tom Savage, QB, HOU 0 0 0
2013 Denard Robinson, WR, JAX 0 1 12
2012 Matt Johnson, DB, DAL 0 0 0
6th Round, No. 189 overall
2015 Charles Gaines, CB, CLE 0 0 4
2014 T.J. Jones, WR, DET 0 0 0
2013 Mike James, RB, TAM 0 0 3
2012 Christo Bilukidi, DE, OAK 0 0 0
6th Round, No. 212 overall
2015 Anthony Chickillo, DE, PIT 0 0 0
2014 Marquis Flowers, LB, CIN 0 0 1
2013 Joe Kruger, DE, PHI 0 0 0
2012 Michael Smith, RB, TAM 0 0 0
6th Round, No. 216 overall
2015 Christian Covington, DT, HOU 0 0 0
2014 Andre Hal, DB, HOU 0 1 11
2013 Charles Johnson, WR, GNB 0 0 10
2012 D.J. Campbell, DB, CAR 0 0 4
6th Round, No. 217 overall
2015 Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT, KAN 0 0 0
2014 Ted Bolser, TE, WAS 0 0 0
2013 Armonty Bryant, DE, CLE 0 0 4
2012 Jordan Bernstine, DB, WAS 0 0 0

When you first looked at the chart, there's a chance your eyes may have caught on the two Pro Bowlers in this table. If you go purely by the data in this table, there's a 50% chance that the fourth pick could get a future Pro Bowler in 2016. And if you consider that four of the Cowboys last six first-round picks made the Pro Bowl, there may be reason for optimism for the Cowboys' top pick. But frankly, that's what you would expect from the fourth-overall pick, in fact, if the Cowboys first-rounder this year isn't a future Pro Bowler, it'd be a huge disappointment.

But after the first round, there's a big fat row of zeros in the Pro Bowlers column. Despite the first four picks being very high in each round, the net result over the last four years in terms of Pro Bowls has got to be disappointing.

It's a commonly repeated phrase that the top 100 picks are where you get your future starters in the draft. Except that hasn't worked out too well for the teams drafting in the spots the Cowboys hold this year. The 12 prospects drafted here between pick 34 and pick 101 have combined for just 13 starter seasons out of a possible 30.

And it gets even worse beyond the top 101. The 20 players drafted with the Cowboys' final five picks have managed just two combined starter seasons between them. Apparently, it's become a thing to hyperventilate about the Cowboys' lack of success in rounds four and beyond like it's some kind of a new insight or revelation. But pickings have always been slim beyond the third round, not just for the Cowboys. Over the last six drafts, only 19% of the prospects drafted on the third day of the draft have become starters for at least one season.

The Cowboys have assembled more draft capital in the 2016 draft than in any other draft since 1992. But as we can see from the historic draft picks assembled in the table above, this draft capital does not automatically give you a stellar draft. This could turn into a draft that yields multiple Pro Bowlers and multi-season starters but could just as easily yield a lot of zeros behind the name of most drafted players.

How the 2016 draft class ultimately turns out is anybody's guess right now, but if the Cowboys have done their homework, then they have a chance of having a good draft, as Jason Garrett summarized after the 2013 draft:

"We use the expression, ‘If we,’" Garrett said. "If we evaluated these guys the right way and saw them the right way, we feel good about their potential to compete as starters, compete for roles or be special teams guys.

"If they are who we think they are, you have a great chance of having a good draft."

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