The Dallas Cowboys head into the 2014 NFL Draft needing some quality picks. Head coach Jason Garrett and his entire coaching staff are fighting for their jobs this upcoming season, and a bad NFL Draft could doom them. While the Cowboys have had their fair share of quality draft picks over the years, the Jerry Jones era since Jimmy Johnson left the team is less than encouraging. Here are the five worst Dallas Cowboys draft picks of the Jerry Jones era.
The Dallas Cowboys spent much of the early part of last decade looking for star offensive players, specifically at quarterback and running back. After Emmitt Smith left the team, only Julius Jones broke the 1,000 rushing yard mark, and he only did it in 2006. Dallas drafted Marion Barber and Felix Jones to try to fix the backfield problems. Jones, a first round pick, never came close. His best year was 2010, when he ran for 800 yards. In 2013, he barely made an impression with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 2006, the Cowboys were trying to fix their linebacker corps, which was decimated by this time. Dallas drafted Bobby Carpenter in the first round and hoped that the Ohio State star could finally help them shore up the unit. Over four seasons in Dallas, he never won the starting job. Carpenter last played in the NFL in 2012 with the New England Patriots, but in seven seasons he only has one interception, 3.5 sacks and 167 total tackles.
Dallas was looking for someone to replace big tight end Jay Novacek and they drafted David LaFleur in 1997. He was an All-American from LSU and looked the role. However, he never could transition from college to the NFL and never lived up to his potential. In four seasons, he had 85 receptions for 729 total yards. In 2003, Dallas drafted Jason Witten in the third round and finally found their star tight end.
The Dallas Cowboys defense was always a strong point, from the days of Bob Lilly manning the line to the Fearsome Foursome of the 70s to the quality players on the Cowboys first two Super Bowl wins in the 90s. In 1994, the Cowboys spent a first round draft pick on Shante Carver, and they expected him to carry the tradition. It didn’t happen. He was on the Cowboys’ last Super Bowl winning team, but contributed little and finished his career with 11.5 sacks in four seasons.
Mike Jenkins had all the talent in the world, and has actually played in a Pro Bowl. However, Dallas expected their 2008 first round draft pick to shore up the cornerback position, and he never stayed healthy long enough to do so. In five years in Dallas, his best year came in 2009, but his numbers dropped consistently each season until the Cowboys finally let him go. He rebounded in 2013 with the Oakland Raiders, but for Dallas, he was never a true weapon.