Former SMU player-turned-Cowboys' stud Bryan McCann got me to thinking. Has an undrafted guy ever made such an immediate impact in Dallas?
An interception return of 101 yards one week, followed by a 97-yard punt return the following week is impressive. But he'd better keep it up if he hopes to barge onto this prestigious list of players who slipped through the NFL Draft and into Cowboy folklore ...
10. Miles Austin (Monmouth, 2006) - Went to the Pro Bowl in 2009 after catching 11 touchdowns despite starting only 11 games and continues to be one of the most productive receivers in the NFL.
9. Dan Reeves (South Carolina, 1965) - A quarterback in college, he became a consistent running back in Dallas, throwing a halfback pass for a touchdown in the '67 Ice Bowl and winning a ring in Super Bowl VI.
8. Nate Newton (Florida A&M, 1986) - Using quick feet and considerable girth, he made six Pro Bowls with the Cowboys and won three Super Bowl rings as a guard opening holes for NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith.
7. Bill Bates (Tennessee, 1983) - Undersized but with a giant heart, his hustle and inspiration led to a record 15 years with the Cowboys and forced the NFL to create a special-teams spot for him on its Pro Bowl roster in 1984.
6. Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois, 2003) - Only one playoff win as a Cowboy, but statistically one of the most productive quarterbacks in franchise history.
5. Cornell Green (Utah State, 1962) - Signed after playing only basketball at Utah State, he played 13 years at cornerback/safety for the Cowboys and was named to the team's 25th Anniversary Team.
4. Mark Tuinei (Hawaii, 1983) - Originally a defensive tackle out of Hawaii, he became a two-time All-Pro at left tackle on a dominating offensive line that helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in the '90s.
3. Everson Walls (Grambling, 1981) - Written off as too slow after running a 4.72 40-yard dash for pro scouts, he led the NFL with 11 interceptions as a rookie and eventually made four Pro Bowls as one of the Cowboys' all-time best cornerbacks.
2. Drew Pearson (Tulsa, 1973) - A quarterback in high school and at times in college, he became one of the Cowboys' most clutch all-time receivers and a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the '70s. Hail Mary, anyone?
1. Cliff Harris (Ouachita Baptist, 1970) - Started as a rookie and became one of the best, hardest-hitting safeties in franchise history. Played in six Pro Bowls, won two Super Bowl rings and is a member of the Ring of Honor. And to think, in '70 the draft was 17 rounds.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.