By: David Connors @DConBlitz
In this article, I reveal the next group of the greatest Dallas Cowboys of All-Time. For a recap of 101-31 click the links below:
And without further ado, here are the next 10 Greatest Cowboys of All-Time.
30. Chuck Howley, MLB
Player Number: 54
Tenure with Dallas: 1961-1973
Mountaineer Great Chuck Howley is the first non-quarterback to win a Super Bowl MVP. He was originally drafted 7th overall to the Chicago Bears in the 1958 NFL Draft out of West Virginia University. He retired after 2 seasons after a seemingly career-ending knee injury. He decided to make a comeback in 1961 after the Bears traded his rights to Dallas. He is the only player to win a Super Bowl MVP on the losing team. Howley’s athleticism made him one of the best coverage linebackers of his generation. He had 25 career interceptions and 18 career fumble recoveries. Landry called him ”The best Linebacker I have ever seen.” Howley is a 6-time Pro-Bowler and 6-time All-Pro. He is a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
29.Tex Schramm, GM
Player Number: N/A
Tenure with Dallas: 1960-1989
Tex Schramm was the NFL’s most powerful GM during his time. His first move was to hire Tom Landry as the coach and Gil Brandt as the Head Scout. The three of them turned Dallas into ”America’s Team” in only 3-years. Murchinson trusted Schramm with his team so much that he even allowed Schramm to vote in his place at the owner's meetings. Schramm's influence on the game is undeniable. In 1966, Schramm’s secret meeting with AFL owner Lamar Hunt was the catalyst of the NFL, AFL merger. He also was a major advocate for instant replay, 30-second clock in between plays, multi-color striking on the 50/20 yard line, the referee microphones, headsets in the helmets of the quarterbacks, and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. He also led the league’s Competition Committee and oversaw major rule changes including the introduction of Overtime. He is a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
28. John Niland, G
Player Number: 76
Tenure with Dallas 1966-1974
Niland was drafted 5th overall in the 1966 draft out of the University of Iowa. He was an excellent pulling Guard. Practicing against the likes of Bob Lily helped him become a stud. Teammates called him Johnny Nightlife due to his ”thirst for nightlife.” Niland’s durability was undeniable. He only missed 2 games in his 9 seasons with Dallas. He is a 6-time Pro-Bowler and a 4-time All-Pro.
27. Jay Novacek, TE
Player Number: 84
Tenure with Dallas: 1990-1995
Jay was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 6th round of the 1985 NFL Draft out of the University of Wyoming. Novacek was decent with the Cardinals, but when they hired Joe Bugel as Head Coach, Jay did not fit the system so they allowed him to be signed by another team in Plan B Free Agency, and the Cowboys swept him up. Novacek is considered one of the best free agency signings in Dallas history. Novacek was a plus blocker and one of the best receiving Tight Ends of his era. He created a security blanket for Aikman finding the open hole in Zone coverages. He was a Pro-Bowler for 5-straight years from 1991-1995 and an All-Pro twice. He is 11th in franchise history in receiving yards with 3,576. He was an intricate part of the Cowboys offense in the early ’90s that led to Dallas winning 3 Super Bowls in 4 years.
26. Ralph Neely, OT
Player Number: 73
Tenure with Dallas: 1965-1977
Ralph Neely was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the NFL and the Houston Oilers in the AFL (before the merger). He initially signed to the Houston Oilers for a gas station, however, after the Colts traded his rights to the Cowboys, Neely changed his mind and returned the signing bonus and gas station to the Oilers. Unfortunately, his right remained under litigation for an entire year. When the NFL and the AFL merged, they resolved the dispute by making Dallas give the Oilers a 1st, a 2nd, and two 5th round picks in the 1967 draft. Therefore Dallas gave up Billy Lothridge and a 4th round draft pick in the 1966 draft to the Colts as well as the haul of picks they gave the Oilers in the 1967 draft for Neely’s rights and they do not regret any of it. Neely was a stud helping create one of the best offensive line units in the NFL. Neely is a 2-time Pro-Bowler and 4-time All-Pro. He was also named to the 1960s All-Decade Team.
25. Bob Hayes, WR
Player Number: 22
Tenure with Dallas: 1965-1974
Before joining Dallas, Hayes won 2 Gold Medals in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He even broke the then-record in the 100-meter. Hayes was a 7th round pick in the 1964 NFL Draft out of Florida A&M. He used that explosiveness to become one of Roger Staubach’s favorite targets. In his first two seasons, he led the NFL in touchdowns. He is often credited for developing Zone defenses and the ”bump and run” in attempts to contain him. Bob Hayes is 6th in franchise history in receiving yards, he is second in touchdown receptions, and 1st in yards per catch amongst players with 50 or more receptions. He is a 3-time Pro-Bowler and 3-time All-Pro. Hayes is also a member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor and the NFL Hall of Fame.
24. Zack Martin, G
Player Number: 70
Tenure with Dallas: 2014-present
Zack Martin is arguably the best offensive lineman of this decade. Fans were concerned Dallas was going to select Texas A&M QB Johnny Manzel in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but instead, they went with Zach out of Notre Dame. He made an immediate impact as a rookie earning All-Pro honors. He was the first Cowboys rookie to be named All-Pro since Calvin Hill in 1969. He was the first offensive lineman in the NFL to be named All-Pro since Dick Huffman in 1947. He went on to be named as an All-Pro and Pro-Bowler every single year he has been a Pro in the NFL. He used an insane burst for a 315lbs man to apply his block and once he applies his block, he is a vice grip. Zack Martin has helped running back Demarco Murray break the Cowboys record for most rushing yards in a season and Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing 2 out of his 4 years as a pro. If Martin continues his current trajectory, he could move even higher on this list.
23. Tyron Smith, OT
Player Number: 77
Tenure with Dallas: 2011-present
Tyron Smith was the first offensive linemen to be drafted in the first round out of the University of Southern California in the Jerry Jones era and did not disappoint. He is widely considered the best offensive tackle of this decade. Ross Tucker said, ”If you went into a computer lab and tried to create the perfect prototype tackle, it would be him. Smith does things to guys—toys with them, humbles them—that you honestly shouldn't be able to do to people in the NFL.” He has earned the respect of his peers appearing on the NFL’s Top 100 Player voted on by the players every year since 2013. In his 9 year career thus far, Smith has been a Pro-Bowler 7-times and an All-Pro 4-times. He was named to the 2010s All-Decade Team.
22. Rayfield Wright, TE/OT
Player Number: 85, 67, 70
Tenure with Dallas: 1967-1979
I mentioned a few slots ago how good Ralph Neely was. The reason Neely played Guard was that ”The Big Cat” Wright beat him out for the Tackle position. Rayfield was originally drafted to be a Tight End. He was a 7th round pick in the 1967 NFL Draft out of Fort Valley State. However, after being forced in at Tackle.due to injuries, Wright went toe-to-toe with one of the NFL's best Edge Rushers at the time. Ram’s future Hall of Famer, Deacon Jones, stopped him all game, and the rest is history. Wright went on to become one of the best offensive linemen in NFL history. His quick reflexes and nimble feet earned him the moniker “The Big Cat.” Ralph was the anchor of the Cowboys offensive line that led the Cowboys to be a Top 10 offense in every year of the 1970s He is a 6-time Pro-Bowler and 6-time All-Pro. He is on the 1970s All-Decade Team, a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, and the NFL Hall of Fame.
21. Ed ”Too Tall” Jones, DE
Player Number: 72
Tenure with Dallas: 1974-1978, 1980-1989
Just like his nickname suggests, Jones towered over most of his peers at 6’9”. He used his size to be one of the most dominant defensive players of his era. Too Tall was the first overall selection in the 1974 NFL Draft out of Tennessee State. It was the Cowboys first-ever first overall selection in franchise history. Jones left the Cowboys for 2 years to pursue a career in boxing. After going 6-0 with 5 knockouts he announced he would return to football. His second stint was even more dominant than the first stint. He was named All-Pro and a Pro-Bowler for three straight seasons (1981-1983). Jones holds the record for most games played as a Cowboy with 232. The NFL did not recognize a sack as a stat until 1982 so he only has 57.5 official sacks, however, he had 106 according to the records kept by the Cowboys. He is 5th in franchise history for tackles with 1,032.