By: David Connors @DConBlitz
In this article, I reveal the next group of the greatest Dallas Cowboys of All-Time. For a recap of 101-61 click the links below:
And without further ado, here are the next 10 Greatest Cowboys of All-Time.
60. Leon Lett, DT
Player Number: 78
Tenure with Dallas: 1991-2000
Leon Lett cannot be mentioned, without bringing up his two infamous plays. In Super Bowl XXVII, Lett recovered a fumble and looked to have a clear path to the End Zone, however, he tried to imitate his teammate Michael Irvin with an arm extension, but Don Beebe chased him and knocked the ball out. Instead of a touchdown, the fumble rolled through the End Zone for a Touchback. Fortunately, Dallas already had a 55-17 lead. The following year. Dallas had a lead against the Dolphins on Thanksgiving. The Dolphins were driving down the field only down by 1. The Cowboys managed to block the game-winning Field Goal, however, while his teammates celebrated, Leon Lett tried to recover the loose ball and muffed it into the End Zone. The ball was recovered by the Dolphins for a touchdown, the caveat being, if he just left the ball alone, possession would have been awarded to Dallas, thus ending the game. The Cowboys went on to win their 4th Super Bowl that season. Although those were Lett’s most memorable moments in Dallas, he was an incredible force on the front line of one of the most dominant defenses of the ’90s. Even at 6’6”, he was so quick out of his stance, he earned himself the nickname “Big Cat.” His size and burst made him an impactful player because teams were forced to double team him. He was a 2-time Pro-Bowler. This opened up opportunities for players to be named later.
59. Miles Austin, WR
Player Number: 19
Tenure with Dallas: 2006-2013
Miles Austin was an undrafted free agent out of Monmouth. For years, I told everyone who would listen (mostly my dad) how great Miles Austin would be. He first hit my radar when his kickoff return against the Seahawks for a touchdown (first time in franchise history a player ran a kickoff return for a touchdown). I had no experience watching tape or evaluating, but it was clear he was better than everyone around. His ability to catch the ball at so many inhuman angles was ridiculous. So when he finally got his start against Kansas City and racked up 250 receiving yards and two touchdowns. That is the franchise record for most receiving yards in a single game. (spent a whole week tooting my horn.) Then, he followed that up with another 171 yards and 2 more touchdowns the following week (I was insufferable.) When Miles Austin was at his best, he was one of the top 3 wide receivers in the entire NFL. A feat, some receivers listed higher cannot even claim. Miles Austin is 8th in franchise history for receiving yards with 4,481 and 10th in receiving touchdowns with 34. He was a 2-time Pro-Bowler and led the NFC in receiving yards in 2009. Unfortunately, some of his career was hampered by chronic hamstring injuries hindering him year after year.
58. Lee Roy Jordan, OLB
Player Number: 55
Tenure with Dallas: 1963-1976
This 5-time Pro-Bowler comes in at 64 for locked down play from the weak-side linebacker position in both the run and pass game. Not only was he considered small for his position, often he was the smallest Linebacker in the league. His size made him ideal for Landry’s “flex” defense using his size and athleticism to be near the top in the league in tackles and tackles for a loss most seasons. He was the NFC defensive player of the year in 1972 and he is tied for most fumble recoveries in Cowboys history at 18. His nose for the ball and ball carriers makes him one of the best in Cowboys history.
57. Demarcus Lawrence, DE
Player Number: 90
Tenure with Dallas: 2014-present
Demarcus “Tank” Lawrence really broke out in 2017 as an enforcer against the run and pass with 14.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. He followed that up in 2018 with 10.5 more sacks and 15 tackles for a loss. He also has 10 forced fumbles and an interception over the past 5 seasons putting him in conversation as one of the best edge rushers in the NFC and a key component to the Dallas defense and Dallas rewarded him by making him the highest-paid Defensive End In the NFL. Lawrence's ability to affect the run and pass game allows him to have versatile options on all 3 downs. He is a 2-time Pro-Bowler and named an All-Pro in 2017. Now that Lawrence is under contract, Tank is sure to solidify himself further up this list as he continues to dominate opposing backfields.
56. George Andrie, DE
Player Number: 66
Tenure with Dallas: 1962-1972
George Andrie and a Defensive Tackle to be named later formed an incredible duo terrorizing defenses from the Blind Side. He was a 6th round pick in the NFL Draft out of Marquette. The NFL did not officially record sacks as a stat until 1982, but according to the Cowboys records, Archie unofficially is accredited with 97 sacks including one year with 18.5. He is fifth in Cowboys history in All-Time sacks. He always stepped up in big games for the Cowboys. In the Ice Bowl against the Packers in the 1967 Championship Game, George recovered a fumble for a touchdown. Andrie was a 4-time All-Pro and a 5-time Pro-Bowler and probably way too low on this list of Cowboys All-Time Greats.
55. Will McClay, VP of Player Personnel
Player Number: N/A
Tenure with Dallas: 2009-present
Let me take Dallas fans back to the turn of the last century. Dallas had been a team that for years treated the salary cap the way college freshmen treat credit cards. They had spent too much and racked up a ton of debt for players not even playing on the team anymore. For the first time in team history, the Offensive Line was absolutely abysmal, the talent on the field was dwindling. The team looked like it needed a rebuild with no salary cap space and quite a few draft picks traded off for players like Roy Williams, the future seemed bleak. However, Dallas turned in some really great draft classes since then, building their team from the foundation putting a heavy premium on trench players. Although Stephen Jones gets a lot of the credit for the shift from spending for flashy players to building from within (which he rightfully deserves), Will McClay has also had a huge role in some really strong draft classes. Will McClay has been Dallas’s defacto General Manager for years, and his impact cannot be understated. He has put a premium on trench play being sure to get studs for both the Offensive Line (Smith, Fredrick, Martin) and Defensive Line (Lawrence, Gregory, Crawford). I think the epitome of McClay’s influence came in the 2014 draft, which is considered one of the worst draft classes in recent years. At least a third of 1st round draft picks are considered busts and maybe, even more, depending on who you ask. Dallas was picking 16th, the player they were eyeing, Ryan Shazier, has just fallen off the board. Traditionally, Dallas was known to take the flashy option. Most thought they were going to take Johnny Manziel out of Texas A&M, but they embraced their new culture, grabbed a Guard who is now considered one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL. McClay’s scouting also helped Dallas bring in a 4th round rookie QB, who has emerged as a solid starter for Dallas in Dak Prescott. McClay’s influence and scouting has really helped Dallas survive their time in Salary Cap purgatory and be a competitive team year in and year out.
54. Mark Stepnoski, C
Player Number: 53
Tenure with Dallas: 1989-1994
An offensive line has to operate like an orchestra. Every piece has to be harmonized or it just will not sound right, furthermore, it takes a leader playing Center to make that happen. Stepnoski was the maestro of the Cowboys offensive line in the ’90s. The same team that produced an RB with the most rushing yards in history, as well as took the Cowboys to 3 Super Bowls. He was considered small, but he used it as an advantage. He used to balance and leverage to get the upper edge on larger defensive linemen. As a Cowboy, Stepnoski was a Pro-Bowler for 3 straight seasons and All-Pro twice. He is also on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the ’90s.
53. Mark Tuinei, OT
Player Number: 71
Tenure with Dallas: 1983-1997
This massive Hawaiian was originally signed as a Defensive Tackles in 1983 from the University of Hawaii as an undrafted free agent. He was considered the strongest guy on the team. He played backup Defensive End and Defensive Tackle specializing in short-yardage situations. In 1985, due to a plethora of injuries on the offensive line, he was switched to play backup Center. During the 1986 preseason, he played all 5 offensive line positions but finally settled in at Left Tackle. Due to injuries, he played both ways. Against the Broncos that season. He led defensive linemen in tackles and protected the blindside. From then through the 1995 season he was the starting Left Tackle. He played the most demanding Offensive Line position for Dallas while leading Emmitt Smith to several rushing titles and the team to 3 Super Bowl championships. He was a 2-time Pro-Bowler.
52. Dez Bryant, WR
Player Number: 88
Tenure with Dallas: was
Many fans who just see the raw stats and highlights will think I have Dez too low, others will remember what a “diva” he was and how unceremoniously he left, and think I have him too high. Dez has all the talent to be one of the great Wide Receivers, but never quite lived up to the bill. He was really good, but never transitioned into great. Whether it was injuries or just an unwillingness to learn the nuisance of his position, but rather just rely on the fact that he was bigger than the corner he was facing. Unfortunately, once he could not rely on size and speed alone, his production plummeted. Bryant was incredible, but most fans felt there was a lot of potential left on the table. A lot of experts believe he could have emerged in the Julio Jones, A.J. Green category of football during his era. Bryant did use his size to make him a great End Zone target and overall a really good perimeter target. He was a 3-time Pro-Bowler and an All-Pro in 2014. He also led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 2014. He leads all cowboys in history with the most touchdown receptions with 73. He is 5th in receiving yards. Dez comes in at 57th because while he was in his prime, he was an unstoppable force in the Red Zone.
51. Jethro Pugh, DT
Player Number: 75
Tenure with Dallas: 1965-1978
Pugh was an 11th round draft pick out of Elizabeth City State at only 20 years old. Jethro Pugh was often overshadowed by his teammates at the time, but he was an excellent pass rusher and a 2-time Pro-Bowler. This 14-year veteran played before sacks were an official NFL stat, however, according to the Cowboys unofficial records, he averaged 12.5 sacks from 1968-1972. He was named an All-Pro twice. His presence and interior pressure were a major component to his Cowboys top-ranked defense of that era.