The 2020 NFL Draft will be the first in nearly a decade the Dallas Cowboys will have a different head coach other than Jason Garrett. It remains to be seen how much of an impact that will have on the Cowboys draft strategy this year, but one thing is for sure, it’s going to be entertaining.
It’s been said over the years Jason Garrett has a really good eye for talent. I think that would be considered a truthful statement considering some of the players he’s drafted during his time with the Cowboys. I think we can even credit him for changing the way Jerry Jones thinks about drafting offensive lineman in the first-round. But, who were his best draft picks?
Today, I want to take a shot at ranking the Top 5 Dallas Cowboys draft picks in the Jason Garrett area. That’s nearly a decade worth of players, so choosing the best of the best and ranking them accordingly is probably as controversial as it gets. Take a look below to see what I came up with…
#5 – Wide Receiver, Michael Gallup
Michael Gallup may have just finished his second year with the Dallas Cowboys, but he’s already proving to be one of the best draft picks in the Jason Garrett era. Gallup was the Cowboys third-round pick (81st overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft and is looking like a real steal after the way he finished Year 2 in the NFL.
There was no sophomore slump for Michael Gallup in 2019. He ended up more than doubling his production (66 catches, 1,107 yards, 6 TDs) from his rookie season (33 catches, 507 yards, 2 TDs). He looked every bit the No. 1 WR this past year, which is pretty impressive considering there were eight receivers drafted ahead of him.
#4 – Left Tackle, Tyron Smith
The 2010 NFL Draft was Jason Garrett’s first as a Dallas Cowboys head coach after taking over for Wade Phillips in 2009. With the ninth overall pick the Cowboys had a pretty big decision to make. Draft a right tackle out of USC (Tyron Smith) or a defensive end out of Wisconsin (J.J. Watt)? Garrett decided to go with the former, thus ending Dallas’ 20 year drought of not selecting an offensive lineman in the first-round.
Fast-forward nearly a decade later and Tyron Smith definitely looks like one of their best picks. Smith not only transformed from a RT in college to one of the best LTs in the NFL, but also ended up starting a first-round trend for drafting offensive lineman for Dallas. In nearly a decade long career, Smith has made the Pro Bowl seven times, been named a First Team All-Pro twice, and a Second Team All-Pro twice.
#3 – Center, Travis Frederick
Do you remember when the Dallas Cowboys selected Travis Frederick in the first-round (31st overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft? It seems like a long time ago now, but at the time the pick caused quite an uproar around Cowboys Nation and in the media. The Cowboys traded down 13 spots with the 49ers for Frederick and only received a third-round pick (Terrance Williams) in return.
This move was highly controversial at the time. Frederick was considered by many draft experts to be a second or third-round pick, so for Dallas to take him at 31 was a huge reach. That no longer is the case as he’s considered one of the best centers in the league, going on to make the Pro Bowl five times, First Team All-Pro once, and a Second Team All-Pro twice. Not bad for a “reach” pick.
#2 – Right Guard, Zack Martin
An argument could be made Zack Martin should be ranked as the top Dallas Cowboys draft pick in the Jason Garrett era. If he’s not the best at his position, then he is extremely close to it. He’s not only made the Pro Bowl (6x) every year since he was drafted 16th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he’s earned nearly every other accolade he possibly could as well. Not bad for someone who was a fallback option initially.
You may have forgotten, but Zack Martin wasn’t Plan A or Plan B for the Dallas Cowboys back in 2014. They had their sights set on Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald, but when the Rams beat them to it they turned their eyes to Quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel was the apple of Jerry Jones’ eye, fortunately Stephen Jones talked him out of making that selection. Instead, they ended up with Martin, a player who is on the fast track to making the Hall of Fame.
#1 – Quarterback, Dak Prescott
I know a lot of you are going to disagree with me, but I believe Quarterback Dak Prescott is the Dallas Cowboys best draft pick in the Jason Garrett error. To find a starting caliber QB in the fourth-round (135th overall) is almost unheard of. Yes, they found Tony Romo as an undrafted free agent, but he was allowed to learn and season before he was thrust into action.
Prescott was pretty much thrown to the wolves out of necessity as a rookie and has been exceeding everyone’s expectations ever since. He’s continued to progress and improve every year, which is a testament to his work ethic. He is also the heart and soul of this team. You may not agree with him being the foreseeable future QB for the Cowboys, but you can’t deny he’s far exceeded his draft status.
How would you rank the Dallas Cowboys best draft picks in the Jason Garrett era?