Dan Marino ranks as the most accomplished player ever drafted at pick 27. A Hall of Fame Quarterback, his dynamite passing powered the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl appearance after the 1984 season, in his 2nd year. His quick release is the gold standard other athletes aspire for. NFL passing records quickly erode in this era, but he still sits 3rd all time in passing yards.
Teams have drafted competent starters at pick 27. CB Antoine Cason has 16 career interceptions and has only missed four games in seven seasons. He’s played for three franchises total after playing his first five years in Arizona. Dallas traded out of pick 27 in 2008, the year Cason hit the NFL. They moved up to pick 25 and selected CB Mike Jenkins in a trade now considered to be of nil value.
Jimmy Smith–the Baltimore CB–would remind a Dallas fan of Morris Claibourne, a fellow first round pick CB who struggles to stay on the field. But at pick 27 the penalty isn’t as high.
Robert Meachem was a complimentary threat in New Orleans. In his best season he had 45 catches. Many first round picks face high expectations, and get run out of town when they don’t meet them. But not at pick 27.
Roddy White is the only genuine star player in the NFL right now who was selected at pick 27. He has over 10,000 yards receiving in his career so far. He was selected one year after one of the most up and down pick 27s of all time: running back Larry Johnson.
Early in Johnson’s career he was completely overshadowed by the eccentric Priest Holmes. Holmes was busy dominating fantasy football, and Johnson grew familiar with riding pine. Johnson was one of the great college statistical producers, and many wondered where his talent went. Fans wondered if he was a product of his college system.
In 2005 Johnson set a new franchise record of 1,750 rushing yards in one season, despite not starting in 7 games during the season. However his time in the sun proved brief and in 2007 a foot injury spelled the end of his time in Kansas City. After a few years attempting a comeback he retired. If Dallas got great production from a running back they drafted 27th overall in 2015 only two years after the draft, it should be considered catastrophic given Tony Romo’s age.
In 2010 Devin McCourtney went to New England as a CB and in 2015 played in the Super Bowl as a safety. He’s proved to be a solid starter at a difficult to fill position. This late in the first round teams are willing to experiment with legitimate NFL athletes. He was selected using Dallas’ draft pick in 2010. Dallas traded it to New England to select Dez Bryant. McCourtney is a good player but Dallas traded up and got one of the NFL’s most premier players.
Up until the current era, Dallas rarely drafted offensive linemen in the first round. What then must they of thought of the 1979 draft when they selected Center Robert Shaw at pick 27. Pick 27 in 1979 was the second to last first round pick. Like Travis Fredrick is now, he was expected to anchor the line for years to come. Injuries derailed his career. Ultimately his injuries forced Tom Rafferty from guard to center, and Rafferty went on to be the only center to snap to Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, with one of the longest careers in Cowboys football history.
Dallas drafted CB Aaron Kyle 27th overall in 1976. He contributed as a role player and on special teams as rookie. He took over for the legendary Mel Renfro in his 2nd season. Though he battled injuries, he did help Dallas win their 2nd Super Bowl. After four years he took advantage of unusual circumstances when coming back from IR to become a Free Agent, where he then signed with the Broncos and played for three more years.
In 1975 the 27th pick was the top of the 2nd round. The Giants were the worst team in the NFL in 1974 and so got to pick at the top, selecting offensive tackle Al Simpson. He was in the NFL for two seasons, but was not credited with any starts or statistics.
In 1970 selecting 27th at the top of the 2nd after a trade, Dallas drafted Bob Ashley. He was an exciting offensive tackle prospect, but a serious knee injury cost him a chance to play in the Super Bowl. He did not play in Dallas again, but wound up playing four seasons in Chicago at right tackle, much like a 1970s version of Marc Colombo, only making the reverse trip.
In 1966 the AFL and NFL had not yet merged. Pick 27 was towards the later half of round two. In 1965 Walter Johnson was selected as a defensive tackle at pick 27 and went on to make three Pro Bowls.
Deone Bucannon, strong safety from Washington State, was selected at 27 in 2014. He is an exceptional athlete for the strong safety position. He has free safety qualities, but he’s a player that gets playing time in place of injured linebackers on run defense. His position flexibility and ability to contribute nine starts helped Arizona’s defense to 5th overall in points against per game, at 18.7 in 2014.
Rae Carruth is easily the worst first round pick of all time. As such he dominates the worst choice ever at pick 27. He set up Cherica Adams in a murderous ambush while she was pregnant with his child. Adams managed to convey important evidence and testimony to police as she died. Her unborn son was delivered in an emergency surgery and survived.
There is not a deep list of Hall of Fame players at pick 27. There are a few exceptional players though. Roddy White and Dan Marino headline the offensive skill players. Dallas would ideally add an outstanding running back to that pair, but history is not on their side.
DeAngelo Williams, Michael Bennett, Larry Johnson and the most recent RB Donald Brown were not good enough as rookies to help this Cowboys team, and they are the last four runners selected 27th. It’s notable that while youth favors running backs, their rookie years those four barely escaped a 4.0 average. It was Williams and Bennett’s second year when they were relevant. Johnson struggled until his 3rd year albeit behind the one of a kind Priest Holmes. Donald Brown is now playing in Indianapolis after an obscure time in San Diego.
Were Iowa NT Carl Davis selected by Dallas, he’d be the first defensive linemen selected at 27 since NT Lester Williams in 1982. As for Preston Smith the most recent player listed as defensive end who was drafted 27th is Leonard Mitchell in 1981. He struggled for two years before becoming a starter at right tackle on offense for the mid 80s Eagles.
The last two times Dallas selected at the 27th position they have traded up: once for Dez Bryant, the other time for Mike Jenkins. Historic pick 27s are fleet footed players; above it’s noted how few defensive linemen are selected at this spot. It’s dominated by CB, WR, RB and OTs.
Dallas needs impact players, and at pick 27, picking over the scrap heaps of round one, it doesn’t happen often. Franchises fall into a trap where they are looking for Round One type players who managed to fall, and they end up selecting the 4th best cornerback, or the third best wide receiver, or the 5th best offensive tackle.
Dallas would be better suited looking for the best player at a less valued position, like when they drafted center Travis Frederick 31st overall in 2013. Dallas skipped on NT Sharrif Floyd at pick 18 in 2013, but he was selected before Dallas got a second shot later. Dallas might still take a NT in the first round if it is late enough.
There is little history of defensive ends at pick 27, but Anthony Spencer was a 26th pick. He did almost nothing his rookie year. The lack of production from so many outside players their rookie years–DE’s, OT’s, CB’s, WR’s, and even RB’s–has refocused my attention on plug and play players at less glamorous positions.
The Cardinals drafted a potentially elite strong safety in 2014. The Bengals best offensive linemen is guard Kevin Zeitler, the 2012 27th pick. He was the second guard selected behind David DeCastro. Dallas looks like it would be best served looking at positions like those, and this has led to NT Carl Davis. He will likely be the first true one-tech off the board. He’s an exceptional prospect for an overlooked position, and he would fit a Dallas need.
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