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Who is the Cowboys Biggest Draft Bust In The Jerry Jones Era?

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The Cowboys have had their share of draft disappointments, but which pick is the biggest bust for Jerry Jones?

San Diego Chargers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Cowboys have been on the wrong end of some poor draft report cards for their recent picks, but those grades have as much credibility as Steve Harvey calling out the bingo numbers. Let’s stop and think for a moment before just blurting stuff out. While most of the negativity has come from the team wasting the fourth-overall pick on a running back and then their second-round pick on an injured player. Neither of those players will play defense for the Cowboys in 2016.

But is that enough to bring the dark clouds to big D? If the nerve on Jaylon Smith’s knee never strikes, clearly that pick will be a bust for Jerry Jones and company. It will be a bad break for Dallas, but one of which they’ll only have themselves to blame. They did their homework, they trust their doctor, and gosh darn it – that knee will come alive!

If it doesn’t, fans will tell everyone all about it, but would it go down as one of Jerry’s biggest missteps in the draft? Let’s take a look back over the last 25 years and relive some things that didn’t work out so well for Dallas.

Shante Carver

There are times when trading quantity for quality is the right move. We’ve all heard the "one player away" logic for selling out to find that missing piece. This worked really well for the Cowboys in 1977 when the team traded up to select Tony Dorsett. The team was great in the ‘70s, but the revamped the running attack by acquiring the best college running back. It worked great. They went on to win the Super Bowl that year and I can’t recall any of the four players the Seattle Seahawks got from that trade.

But for this to be successful, you got to hit on that pick. It worked great for the Cowboys with the Dorsett trade, but hasn’t always been so satisfying. You can’t be too hard on a draft year when a team selects a future Hall of Famer, and that’s exactly what the Cowboys did in the second round of 1994 when they drafted Larry Allen. Unfortunately, they completely whiffed in the first round. Not only that, but they traded another second-rounder to move up for the pick. The Cowboys used their 62nd and 28th picks to move up to 23 to select Shante Carver, DE from Arizona State. With the 30-year old Charles Haley having trouble staying healthy, the Cowboys wanted to keep the pressure rolling on the quarterback. Unfortunately, Carver would never be that guy. In his four-year career, he only made 26 starts and had 11.5 career sacks. He had problems staying healthy and would get in trouble multiple times for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

"Shante’s Inferno" would never catch fire in Dallas.

Bobby Carpenter

Bill Parcells didn’t do a lot of things wrong in Dallas, but convincing the front office to select Bobby Carpenter with the 18th overall pick in 2006 is one of them. Carpenter had a productive career at Ohio State, but that production would not carry over into the professional level. He would average a measly 24 tackles a year and only make three starts during his four-year career in Dallas. He was abused on the HBO show Hard Knocks by offensive tackle Marc Columbo who was constantly putting him on the ground. Columbo gave him the nickname "Barbie Carpenter" for his softness and luscious blonde hair.

The team needed linebacker help, but they just guessed on the wrong player. Had they picked either one of the next linebackers taken in the draft (DeMeco Ryans or D’Qwell Jackson) they would have gotten a Pro Bowler.

Barbie Carpenter did not make any Pro Bowls.

David LaFleur

It seems to be a running joke to infer the Cowboys would use a premium pick to take a tight end. But after witnessing three second-round investments over the last ten seasons, you can see why. The Cowboys have drafted Anthony Fasano (2006), Martellus Bennett (2008), and Gavin Escobar (2013) in that span. But the joke was on us when the team went after David LaFleur with the 22nd overall pick in 1997. The tight end from LSU would have only 85 catches for 729 yards during his four year career, which equates to about what Jason Witten has averaged over his 13 season, 10 time Pro Bowl career.

Troy Aikman, who was the Cowboys quarterback and apparent tight end scout back then, sold the front office on selecting LaFleur. And just like the QB advocating for his services, LaFleur would see his career shortened due to back issues. He was sent packing.

Don’t let LaFleur hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

Dwayne Goodrich

The Cowboys paid a huge price when they traded for Joey Galloway and that price left them without a first round draft pick in 2000 and 2001. If you know the Quincy Carter story, then you know the team selected him with their first pick (53rd overall) in 2001. Well, in 2000 that honor went to Dwayne Goodrich, DB from Tennessee. Similar to the Carver pick, the Cowboys were trying to replace the production of a veteran superstar. This time that star was Deion Sanders.

He was taken 49th overall, which in its own right doesn’t provide a big reason to get upset, however, Goodrich was just terrible. He wouldn’t survive training camp in either of his first two seasons as he suffered a strained hamstring his rookie season and tore his Achilles the following year. Over the span of three seasons, he only played in two of them, logging 16 games and making just eight tackles.

Goodrich was no good.

Jerry Jones is only as good as the people around him. And after Jimmy Johnson left, he hasn’t had a lot of good people around him. Two of these busts occurred in the short Barry Switzer era and one of them during the even shorter Dave Campo era. The Cowboys were drafting for need and trying to replace Super Bowl winning superstars. It was a disaster and it really makes you appreciate their approach these days. Fans sometimes want the team to reach success in a hurry, but after years of going nowhere, I’ll gladly take the scenic route as long as they get there.

So who do you think has been the Cowboys biggest busts in the Jerry Jones era?