Dallas Cowboys

High picks have yielded star players in past for Dallas Cowboys

Randy White was the No. 2 overall pick by the Cowboys in the 1975 draft. He ushered in the Doomsday II defense and multiple Super Bowl trips.
Randy White was the No. 2 overall pick by the Cowboys in the 1975 draft. He ushered in the Doomsday II defense and multiple Super Bowl trips. Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys have the fourth overall pick in the draft April 28-30, their highest selection since they had the top overall pick in 1991.

Recent fourth overall NFL picks include wide receivers Amari Cooper (2015), Sammy Watkins (2014) and A.J. Green (2011), as well as offensive linemen Lane Johnson (2013), Matt Kalil (2012) and Trent Williams (2010).

The most recent quarterback taken with the fourth overall pick was Philip Rivers in 2004.

As far as the Cowboys, they’ve drafted fourth overall only once. In 1964 they selected Texas defensive tackle Scott Appleton, who never played a down for them.

But this is a different time and different era. The Cowboys are drafting in the top five for only the ninth time in franchise history. A look back at how the previous eight such picks turned out:

2003: CB Terence Newman, 5th overall

The Kansas State product became a reliable cornerback for the Cowboys, making the Pro Bowl two times in a nine-year stint with the team. He is tied with Everson Walls for most seasons leading the team in interceptions with five.

1991: DT Russell Maryland, 1st

The University of Miami product didn’t have a Hall of Fame career, but he certainly was a valuable defensive piece for the Cowboys’ Super Bowl runs in the 1990s.

1989: QB Troy Aikman, 1st

He became everything the Cowboys could have hoped for in a Hall of Fame career that included three Super Bowl titles. Aikman still ranks among the best in franchise history with 32,942 career passing yards, 165 touchdowns and a 61.5 percent completion rate.

1977: RB Tony Dorsett, 2nd

Another Hall of Fame player who left his mark on the organization by being part of the Super Bowl XII winning team. In 11 seasons with the Cowboys, he rushed for 12,036 yards with 72 touchdowns, plus set a league record with a 99-yard touchdown run against Minnesota in 1982.

1975: DT Randy White, 2nd

The man affectionately known as “The Manster” spent his full Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys, compiling 1,104 tackles and 111 sacks.

1966: G John Niland, 5th

The franchise’s first offensive lineman taken in the first round didn’t disappoint, becoming a six-time Pro Bowler and solidifying one of the top offensive lines at the time. Niland established himself as one of the best pulling guards in the league, and missed only two games over his nine-year career with the Cowboys.

1965 QB Craig Morton, 5th

He spent the early part of his career backing up Don Meredith, but became the starter in 1970 and led the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl appearance. The following season, he alternated snaps — literally at one point — with Roger Staubach. Morton started fewer than half his career games with the Cowboys (47 of 101), but became the first quarterback to lead two teams to the Super Bowl when he led the Denver Broncos to Super Bowl XII.

1964: DT Scott Appleton, 4th

Appleton had a standout career at Texas, being a member of the 1963 national championship team and winning the Outland Trophy that year. The Cowboys drafted him and then traded him to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Buddy Dial. Appleton, however, signed with the Houston Oilers of the now-defunct AFL. Appleton never became the player most had foreseen, as he battled alcohol and drug addiction his entire career.

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

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