List of Dallas Cowboys first-round draft picks

The Dallas Cowboys are professional American football team based in Dallas, Texas. The Cowboys team is a franchise of the National Football League (NFL) and plays in the East Division of the National Football Conference. The first draft in which the Cowboys participated was the 1961 NFL Draft. Before their initial NFL Draft, the Cowboys franchise participated in the 1960 NFL Expansion Draft. In the NFL Draft, each NFL franchise annually adds new players to its roster. Teams are ranked in reverse order based on their records during the previous season, therefore the team with the worst record selects first. There are two exceptions to this order: the Super Bowl champion from the previous season selects last, and the Super Bowl runner-up selects second to last. Teams have the option of trading away their selections to other teams for different selections, players, cash, or any combination thereof. It is common, therefore, for the actual draft selection of a team to differ from their initial assigned draft selection or for a team to have either extra selections or no selections in any round because of such trades.[1]

All-time first-round draft selections

Hall of Famer † [a] Pro Bowler * [b]
Year Pick Player College Position Notes
1961 13 Bob Lilly †  TCU DT [c]
1962 No Pick [d]
1963 6 Lee Roy Jordan *  Alabama LB
1964 4 Scott Appleton Texas OT [e]
1965 5 Craig Morton California QB
1966 5 John Niland *  Iowa OG
1967 No Pick [f]
1968 20 Dennis Homan Alabama DE
1969 24 Calvin Hill *  Yale RB
1970 23 Duane Thomas West Texas St. RB
1971 25 Tody Smith USC DE
1972 26 Bill Thomas Boston College RB
1973 20 Billy Joe Dupree *  Michigan State TE
1974 1 Ed "Too Tall" Jones *  Tennessee State DE
22 Charley Young North Carolina St. RB
1975 2 Randy White †  Maryland LB
18 "Hollywood" Henderson *  Langston LB
1976 27 Aaron Kyle Wyoming DB
1977 2 Tony Dorsett †  (Heisman Trophy Winner)[2] Pittsburgh RB
1978 28 Larry Bethea Michigan State DE
1979 27 Robert Shaw Tennessee C
1980 No Pick
1981 26 Howard Richards Missouri T
1982 25 Rod Hill Kentucky State DB
1983 23 Jim Jeffcoat Arizona State DE
1984 25 Billy Cannon, Jr. Texas A&M LB
1985 17 Kevin Brooks Michigan DE
1986 18 Mike Sherrard UCLA WR
1987 12 Danny Noonan Nebraska DT
1988 11 Michael Irvin †  Miami WR
1989 1 Troy Aikman †  UCLA QB
1990 17 Emmitt Smith †  Florida RB
1991 1 Russell Maryland *  Miami DT [g]
12 Alvin Harper Tennessee WR
20 Kelvin Pritchett Mississippi DT [h]
1992 17 Kevin Smith Texas A&M DB
24 Robert Jones *  East Carolina State LB
1993 No Pick
1994 23 Shante Carver Arizona State DE
1995 No Pick
1996 No Pick
1997 22 David LaFleur LSU TE
1998 8 Greg Ellis *  UNC DE
1999 20 Ebenezer Ekuban UNC DE
2000 No Pick
2001 No Pick
2002 8 Roy Williams *  Oklahoma S
2003 5 Terence Newman *  Kansas State CB
2004 No Pick [i]
2005 11 DeMarcus Ware *  Troy State LB
20 Marcus Spears LSU DE [j]
2006 18 Bobby Carpenter Ohio State LB
2007 26 Anthony Spencer *  Purdue LB [k]
2008 22 Felix Jones Arkansas RB [l]
25 Mike Jenkins *  South Florida CB [m]
2009 No Pick [n]
2010 24 Dez Bryant *  Oklahoma State WR [o]
2011 9 Tyron Smith *  USC OT
2012 6 Morris Claiborne LSU CB
2013 31 Travis Frederick *  Wisconsin C [p]
2014 16 Zack Martin *[3]  Notre Dame OT
2015 27

Byron Jones * 

Connecticut CB
2016 4 Ezekiel Elliott *  Ohio State RB
2017 28 Taco Charlton Michigan DE
2018 19

Leighton Vander Esch * 

Boise State LB
2019 27 No pick (own first round pick traded to Oakland Raiders)


  • a Players are identified as a Hall of Famer if they have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • b Players are identified as a Pro Bowler if they were selected for the Pro Bowl at any time in their career.
  • c The Cowboys took Lilly with their second first-round selection. Their first selection, the second overall, was traded to the Washington Redskins for Eddie LeBaron.[4]
  • d The Cowboys traded their first selection in 1962 to the Cleveland Browns for Offensive Tackle Paul Dickson and the Browns' first selection in 1961.
  • e Scott Appleton signed with the Houston Oilers of the American Football League.
  • f The Cowboys traded their selection to the Houston Oilers for the rights to linebacker George Webster.
  • g The Cowboys received this selection from the New England Patriots in exchange for Ron Francis, David Howard, Eugene Lockhart, a first round and a second round pick.[5]
  • h The Cowboys received this selection and a fifth round pick from the Washington Redskins in exchange for an earlier first round pick.[6]
  • i The Cowboys traded this first round selection (22nd overall) to the Buffalo Bills for Bills' second round selection (43rd overall), fifth round selection (144th overall), and first round selection in 2005.
  • j The Cowboys received this selection from the Buffalo Bills as well as the Bills' selections in 2004 in the second (43rd overall) and fifth rounds (144th overall) for the Cowboys' first round selection in 2004 (22nd overall).
  • k Dallas traded their original first round selection (22nd overall) to the Cleveland Browns for the Browns' first round selection in 2008 and the Browns' second round selection (36th overall) in this draft. Dallas then traded that additional second round selection (32nd overall), their third round selection (87th overall), and their fifth round selection (159th overall) to the Philadelphia Eagles for the Eagles' first round selection (26th overall).
  • l The Cowboys received this selection from the Cleveland Browns as well as the Browns' second round selection (36th overall) in 2007 for the Cowboys first round selection in 2007 (22nd overall).
  • m Dallas received this selection from the Seattle Seahawks for Dallas' original first-round selection (28th overall) and Dallas' fifth- and seventh-round selections (163rd and 235th).
  • n The Cowboys traded their 20th overall pick (first round), the 82nd overall picks (third round), and 192nd overall pick (sixth round) in the 2009 draft for wide receiver Roy Williams from the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys received a seventh round pick from the Lions in the 2010 draft.
  • o Dallas traded their original first round and third round selection (27th and 90th overall) to the New England Patriots for the Patriots' first round selection and a fourth-round selection in 2010 to select Dez Bryant over the Baltimore Ravens.
  • p Dallas traded their original first round pick (18th overall) to the San Francisco 49ers for the 49ers' first and third round selections


  1. ^ Alder, James. ""NFL Draft Basics:Determining Order of Selection"". Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  2. ^ "42nd Award Winner". Archived from the original on June 1, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "1962 Draft". Pro Football Hall of Fame website. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  5. ^ "1991 Draft". Pro Sports Transactions website. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  6. ^ "1991 Draft". Pro Sports Transactions website. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
Emmitt Smith

Emmitt James Smith III (born May 15, 1969) is a former college and professional American football running back who became the National Football League's (NFL) all-time leading rusher during his fifteen seasons in the league during the 1990s and 2000s.

Smith grew up in Pensacola, Florida and became the second-leading rusher in American high school football history while playing for Escambia High School. Smith then attended the University of Florida, where he set numerous school rushing records over a three-year college career with the Florida Gators. After being named a unanimous All-American in 1989, Smith chose to forgo his senior year of eligibility and play professionally. He came back and completed his college coursework, graduating from the University of Florida in 1996.

The Dallas Cowboys selected Smith in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft. During his long professional career, he became the NFL's all-time rushing leader with 18,355 yards, breaking the record formerly held by Walter Payton, and played for three Super Bowl-winning Dallas Cowboys teams. He also holds the record for career rushing touchdowns with 164. Smith is the only running back to ever win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award all in the same season (1993). He is also one of four running backs to lead the NFL in rushing three or more consecutive seasons, joining Steve Van Buren, Jim Brown and Earl Campbell. Smith led the league in rushing and won the Super Bowl in the same year three times (1992, 1993, and 1995) when to that point it had never been done. Smith is also one of only two non-kickers in NFL history to score more than 1,000 career points (the other being Jerry Rice). Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Smith played thirteen seasons with the Cowboys and two with the Arizona Cardinals. While playing for Dallas, Smith plus quarterback Troy Aikman and wide receiver Michael Irvin were known as "The Triplets," and they led their team to three Super Bowl championships during the 1990s.

Scott Appleton

Gordon Scott Appleton (February 20, 1942 - March 2, 1992) was an American football defensive tackle in the American Football League for the Houston Oilers, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. He played college football at the University of Texas, which won the national championship in 1963. Appleton was a consensus 1963 All-American and won the Outland Trophy.

Division championships (23)
Conference championships (10)
League Championships (5)
Current league affiliations
Seasons (60)
Dallas Cowboys first-round draft picks

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