Dallas Cowboys

Top 10 Best Draft Picks of the Jerry Jones Era

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8. Daryl "Moose" Johnston, Syracuse University
1989, second round, 39th overall

Let's hope Le'Ron McClain of the Baltimore Ravens and Leonard Weaver of the Philadelphia Eagles sent Johnston thank-you notes after both were named as Pro Bowl starters. Johnston was so instrumental to the Cowboys' success in the early 1990s that the NFL created the position on the ballot in 1993 to acknowledge his significance.

Like Ratliff, Johnston can't be evaluated by his 2,980 career rushing and receiving yards and 22 touchdowns over 11 seasons. He was an integral part of the Cowboys' overpowering offensive attack as a blocker in the 90s, and he has three Super Bowl rings to prove it.

7. Erik Williams, Central State University
1991, third round, 70th overall

The seventh player taken in the 1991 draft by the Cowboys, who had a staggering 18 picks back when the draft was 12 rounds, Williams would play an important role in the three Super Bowls, stabilizing the right tackle position and pancaking dozens of pass rushers along the way.

6. Darren Woodson, Arizona State University 1992, second round, 37th overall

Taken with one of the picks received from the Minnesota Vikings in the infamous Hershel Walker trade, Woodson was selected right after the Cowboys nabbed Jimmy Smith. The team cut Smith because he didn't want to pay for his emergency appendectomy, and Smith eventually was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he would become a five-time Pro Bowler.

Woodson certainly minimized the damage of releasing Smith, becoming the franchise leader with 1,350 tackles as one of the top strong safeties in the league and a fantastic special teams player after playing linebacker at Arizona State. He's among the best defensive players to put on a Cowboys jersey, and he has three Super Bowl wins on his résumé as well.

5. DeMarcus Ware, Troy University
2005, first round, 11th overall

A lot of folks thought the Cowboys reached early when selecting Ware, especially since Dallas also had the 20th overall pick, but he was too hard to resist. It turned out to be a genius move as he's now arguably the top defensive player in the league, racking up 77 career sacks, 25 forced fumbles and five-consecutive Pro Bowl selections. He also hasn't missed a game yet during his six-year career.

Ware's greatness was acknowledged when he was named to the NFL's All Decade Team of the 2000s despite beginning his career halfway into the decade. At just 28 years old, he has plenty of time to rise up the list of all-time sack leaders, although he needs 124 more to break Bruce Smith's record.

4. Jason Witten, University of Tennessee
2003, third round, 69th overall

Also 28 years old, Witten has a while to pass Tony Gonzalez in catches, yards and touchdowns. Unfortunately, Gonzalez is still playing, and his record 1,063 receptions, 12,410 yards and 87 touchdowns for a tight end will be tough to beat. However, Witten's already one of the best tight ends of all time with 613 catches, 6,921 yards and 35 touchdowns of his own, along with seven-straight Pro Bowl selections.

He's Jay Novacek catching the ball and Daryl Johnson as a blocker. What's not to like?

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Sam Merten
Contact: Sam Merten