On February 25, 1989 it was announced that oil and gas businessman Jerry Jones from Little Rock, Arkansas was going to be the next owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Jones had always wanted to own an NFL team and he dedicated his entire fortune to the purchase, taking control of the Cowboys and Texas Stadium for an NFL franchise record $140 million at the time. As part of the deal made with H. R. "Bum" Bright, Jones was to fire the legendary Tom Landry, the only head coach the Dallas Cowboys franchise had known. Jerry hired his old college teammate from his playing days at Arkansas, Jimmy Johnson, who was then building a dynasty at the University of Miami. This duo was laughed at and made fun of at first, but they would eventually build one of the dominant teams in the 90s, winning back to back super bowls. They won Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII. They did this by building their dynasty through the draft and by making very smart free agent signings, not just spending money to spend it. Super Bowl XXX was also won using most of these same players Jerry and Jimmy drafted together.
To see the team needs of the Cowboys for the 2014 season check out my article, 2014 Team Needs: Dallas Cowboys.
In this article I analyze how successful Jerry Jones has been at drafting players with each of his head coaches since 1989. Most of the opinions of Jones' drafting skills is that they are not very good and that he should not have anything to do with the draft. I on the other hand believe that he has learned from some of the best drafters in the NFL in Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells. I believe that he has done pretty well in the 2000s.
My main focus was on how many of his draft picks became pro bowlers. In the last draft or two I focused more on how many of the draft picks were contributors because there are just not that many rookie pro bowlers each year.
Jerry and Jimmy
Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson put together some of the best drafts in the history of the Dallas Cowboys and 1989 was probably the best draft of them all. Over five drafts these two hauled in two hall of famers, 11 pro bowlers, and 13 players that played prominent roles for the franchise throughout the 90s and into the 2000s.
- Troy Aikman, hall of famer and elected to 6 pro bowls
- Steve Wisnewski, immediately traded to the Raiders, elected to 8 pro bowls
- Daryl Johnston, elected to 2 pro bowls as a fullback
- Mark Stepnoski, elected to 5 pro bowls
- Tony Tolbert, elected to 1 pro bowl
- They also drafted 10 other players that never did much of anything in the NFL
- Emmitt Smith, hall of famer and elected to 8 pro bowls
- Alexander Wright, better kick returner than receiver, played 7 seasons in NFL
- Jimmie Jones, played 4 seasons for Cowboys, helped them win 2 Super Bowls
- Kenny Gant, "The Shark", played 5 seasons with Cowboys, helped win 2 Super Bowls
- Russell Maryland, 1st pick of the draft, elected to 1 pro bowl, helped Cowboys win 3 super bowls
- Alvin Harper, played 4 seasons with Cowboys, helped team win 2 super bowls
- Dixon Edwards, played 5 seasons with Cowboys, won 3 super bowls
- Godfrey Myles, played 6 seasons with Cowboys, won 3 super bowls
- Erik Williams, 4 time pro bowl selection, won 3 super bowls
- Leon Lett, 2 time pro bowl selection, 3 time super bowl winner
- Larry Brown, Super Bowl XXX MVP, 3 time super bowl winner
- They also drafted 11 other players that never did much of anything
- Kevin Smith, played 9 seasons in NFL, career cut short by torn Achilles Tendon, won 3 super bowls
- Robert Jones, 10 seasons in NFL, 1992 NFL Rookie of Year, won 3 super bowls
- Jimmy Smith, 5 time pro bowl selection with Jacksonville, injured most of time while with Cowboys
- Darren Woodson, played 13 seasons with Dallas, 5 time pro bowl selection, won 3 super bowls
- Clayton Holmes, played 4 seasons with Cowboys, won 3 super bowls, special teams leader
- They also drafted 10 other players that never did much of anything
- Kevin Williams, played 4 seasons with Cowboys, won 2 super bowls, very good return man
- Darrin Smith, 4 seasons with Cowboys, won 2 super bowls, started all four years
- Derrick Lassic, played 2 seasons with Cowboys, won 1 super bowl, Emmitt's backup
- Ron Stone, 3 time pro bowl selection, 2 super bowl wins, was a backup while with the Cowboys
- Brock Marion, 3 time pro bowl selection, 2 super bowl wins,
- Dave Thomas, played 2 seasons with Cowboys, drafted by Jacksonville in expansion draft, won 2 super bowl
- They also drafted 3 more players that never did much of anything
Jerry and Barry Switzer
Jerry teamed with Barry Switzer for three drafts and to say the least they did not have the same success as Jimmy and Jerry. They did draft one hall of famer, no other pro bowlers, and nine players that either started or got considerable playing time.
- Shante Carver, 4 seasons with Cowboys, won 1 super bowl
- Larry Allen, hall of famer, 11 time pro bowl selection, won 1 super bowl
- George Hegamin, 4 seasons with Cowboys, mostly as a backup, won 1 super bowl
- Drafted 4 other players that never did much of anything
- Eric Bjornson, played 5 seasons with Cowboys as a part time starter, member of Super Bowl XXX team
- Drafted 9 other players that never did much of anything
- Randall Godfrey, played 4 seasons with Cowboys, never missing a game
- Drafted 8 other players that never did much of anything
- Dexter Coakley, selected to three pro bowls, played eight seasons with Cowboys
- Drafted 8 other players that never did much of anything
Jerry and Chan Gailey
Gailey and Jones teamed up for two seasons, drafting three pro bowlers in their two drafts together.
- Greg Ellis, selected to one pro bowl, played 11 seasons with the Cowboys
- Flozell Adams, five time pro bowl selection, played 12 seasons with Cowboys
- Drafted 7 other players that never did much of anything
- Ebeneezer Ekuban, played five seasons with Cowboys
- Solomon Page, played four seasons with Cowboys
- Dat Nguyen, pro bowl alternate one season, led team in tackles three seasons
Jerry and Dave Campo
Jerry and Dave Campo teamed up for three seasons and three drafts. The Cowboys drafted two pro bowlers during this time.
- Mario Edwards, played 4 seasons with the Cowboys, started three of those seasons at cornerback
- Drafted four other players, but none of them did anything worth mentioning.
- Quincy Carter, started two seasons for the Cowboys, leading them to a 10-6 record and a trip to the playoffs
- Tony Dixon, played four seasons for the Cowboys, was a good special teams player and played in nickel situations mostly
- Roy Williams, elected to five pro bowls, played seven seasons for the Cowboys
- Andre Gurode, elected to five pro bowls, played nine seasons for the Cowboys
- Antonio Bryant, played three seasons for the Cowboys, 11 seasons overall.
Jerry and Bill Parcells
This duo teamed up in 2003 and worked together for four seasons and four drafts. They drafted six pro bowlers during this time.
- Julius Jones, played 4 seasons for the Cowboys, 7 seasons total
- Patrick Crayton, played 6 seasons for the Cowboys, was a 2nd team all pro selection in 2009
- DeMarcus Ware, selected to 7 pro bowls so far, Cowboys all time sack leader, 2 time NFL sack leader
- Marion Barber III, elected to 2007 pro bowl, played six seasons with the Cowboys
- Jay Ratliff, elected to four pro bowls, played nine seasons for the Cowboys
- Marcus Spears, played 8 seasons for the Cowboys
- Chris Canty, played four seasons for the Cowboys, won a super bowl with the Giants, still active
- Jason Hatcher, elected to the 2013 pro bowl, played eight seasons with the Cowboys, he is still active
Jerry and Wade Phillips
This duo drafted four pro bowlers over the course of four years.
- Anthony Spencer, elected to 2012 pro bowl, played seven seasons for the Cowboys, still active
- Nick Folk, elected to 2007 pro bowl, played three seasons with the Cowboys
- Doug Free, has played seven seasons so far with the Cowboys
- Drafted 12 players, none of them have accomplished much of anything
- Dez Bryant, elected to 2013 pro bowl, leading receiver on the team
- Sean Lee, if he could remain healthy he is a pro bowler, leader of defense
Jerry and Jason Garrett
So far these two have teamed up for three drafts so far, drafted two pro bowlers and twelve players that have made contributions to the team.
- Tyron Smith, pro bowl player, starter at left tackle
- DeMarco Murray, pro bowl player, one of the best running backs in the NFL
- Bruce Carter, starting linebacker
- Dwayne Harrris, three time NFC Special Teams Player of the Week
- Travis Frederick, starting center
- Gavin Escobar, contributor at TE
- Terrance Williams, contributor, future starter at WR
- J. J. Wilcox, contributor and part time starter
- DeVonte Holloman, contributor on special teams and defense
Who did Jerry work best with?
- Jimmy Johnson, 21% of their players drafted made pro bowls.
- Bill Parcells, 19% of their players drafted made pro bowls.
- Wade Phillips, 13% of their players drafted made pro bowls.
- Chan Gailey, 12% of their players drafted made pro bowls.
- Jason Garrett, 11% of their players drafted so far have made pro bowls.
- Dave Campo, 1% of their players drafted made pro bowls.
- Barry Switzer, 1% of their players drafted made pro bowls.