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Dallas Cowboys Nation: Every Round Matters - The Best 3rd, 4th and 5th Round Picks In Recent History

We all remember the first-rounders but don't forget about these hidden gems.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-NFL Honors Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Every round matters. As the NFL draft slowly approaches, there is unlimited focus on what the Cowboys will do with their top pick in the draft. Given that it is a late pick, there needs to be a clear expectation that the Cowboys will hit gold in some of the later rounds too. As has been chronicled, the Cowboys relied heavily on Tony Romo, an undrafted free agent, over the last ten years. While Jerry Jones and his front office have been credited with a series of talented first-round picks (Ezekiel Elliott, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant), they have also hit gold in the later rounds in recent years. Let’s take a look at the best third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks in recent history.

Jason Witten, Round 3

Need we say more? Bill Parcells selected Jason Witten out of the University of Tennessee in the third round as the 69th pick of the 2003 draft. Since earning the starting job just months later, Jason Witten has become the franchise leader in receptions and will soon become the franchise leader in touchdowns and yards. He has been the ultimate leader, teammate and security blanket for then-starter Tony Romo and now Dak Prescott. Witten is a first ballot Hall of Famer, and the only question remains, will be also be a Super Bowl champ? Value-wise, this was the best pick the Jones’ made until 2016 happened.

Dak Prescott, Round 4

Franchise quarterbacks are the most scrutinized and heavily debated athletes in all of collegiate sports. Their technique, play-calling and instincts are all measured, dissected and critiqued by draft gurus and NFL front offices. 2016 was no different. The Cowboys had an aging Tony Romo and knew they wanted to invest a high pick on a capable backup at quarterback. It was clear that Carson Wentz and Jared Goff would be drafted early, so Dallas set its sights on Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook. They struck out both times and settled for Dak Prescott. Sometimes, you just get lucky and find the perfect player in the perfect system. Fast forward 11 months from that pick and Dallas has pinned Dak, the Rookie of the Year, as the franchise quarterback. While his long-term success will determine just how magical this fourth-round pick was, his rookie year is already a testament to the front office’s knack for finding talent.

Orlando Scandrick, Round 5

Many do not know but Orlando Scandrick had a sizzling 4.32 second 40 yard dash at the combine. The Dallas Cowboys saw something special and traded their fifth- and seventh-round picks in order to move up in the fifth round to select him. Since his rookie year, he has been the starting nickleback and later became a sometime starter on the outside. He has remained a starter at cornerback ever since (with the exception of 2015 when he tore his ACL and MCL) and has been a defacto leader in the secondary during that time. While high-priced agents like Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have come and gone, Orlando Scandrick has remained a vital part of the Cowboys secondary.

While the first and second rounds are rightfully scrutinized and come with high expectations (and salaries), it is often the late-rounders that can sneak by and provide tremendous talent. Will this year bring over an offensive tackle to take over for Doug Free, or a cornerback to replace Brandon Carr or a stud defensive end who becomes the next Khalil Mack? Let’s not underestimate day two and day three of the draft.

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