Rookie classes from year to year

The Cowboys seem to be having an every other year success during the draft going back to the 2014 season. Let’s take a look.

2014 – Two Pro Bowl players still on the roster 10 years later, LB Anthony Hitchens was productive and won a SB with the Chiefs.

  • OG Zack Martin – 1st round pick, All-Pro
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence – 2nd & 3rd round picks used in trade to get Lawrence, All-Pro

2015 – no players remaining on roster, except 4th round pick Damien Wilson who spent last year on practice squad

2016 – Two Pro Bowl players still on the roster. The Cowboys also got productive seasons from Pro Bowl LB Jaylon Smith, DT Malik Collins and CB Anthony Brown

  • QB Dak Prescott – 4th round pick, All-Pro, runner up in MVP voting in 2023
  • RB Ezekiel Elliott – 1st round pick, All-Pro, multiple Pro Bowls, but none since 2021, spent last year away from Cowboys

2017 – only undrafted Cooper Rush remains from rookie season, and he spent one year away from Cowboys, and will be fighting to keep his back-up role this year

2018 – the Cowboys got significant contributions and an All-Pro season from their first 5 picks (Vander Esch, Williams, Gallup, Armstrong, and Schultz), and all of those players received 2nd contracts, albeit only 4 got 2nd contracts with the Cowboys. None remain on the team, and Vander Esch has retired due to injury. But this was a productive class.

2019 – only S Donovan Wilson remains on the team from this draft, although Michael Jackson and Tony Pollard are still in the NFL, along with G/C Connor McGovern.

2020 – The Cowboys got three Pro Bowl players and an additional two starters from this rookie class. Pro Bowl C Tyler Biadasz has moved on, as has sparingly used rotational DT Neville Gallimore

  • WR CeeDee Lamb – 1st round pick – All-Pro
  • CB Trevon Diggs – 2nd round pick – All-Pro
  • OT Terence Steele – starting RT
  • RB Rico Dowdle – projected starting RB

2021 – The Cowboys still have several players on the roster, but this group hasn’t been as productive as other rookie classes

  • DE Micah Parsons – 1st round pick, All-Pro
  • DT Osa Odighizuwa – 3rd round pick, starter
  • DL Chauncey Golston – 3rd round pick, rarely used rotational player
  • CB Nahshon Wright – 3rd round pick, rarely used in base defense, but used for special teams.
  • OL Josh Ball – 4th round pick, injured all three seasons with Dallas
  • DB Israel Mukuamu – 6th round pick, rarely used player in base defense, but used for special teams

2022 – This class has been very productive for the Cowboys.

  • OG Tyler Smith – 1st round pick, All-Pro
  • DE Sam Williams – 2nd round pick, sparingly used in Defensive rotation, but could change this season
  • WR Jalen Tolbert – 3rd round pick, projected starting WR3 this season
  • TE Jake Ferguson – 4th round pick, starting TE
  • OT Matt Waletzko – 5th round pick, injured both seasons with Cowboys
  • LB Damone Clark – 5th round pick, starting LB
  • CB DaRon Bland – 5th round pick, All-Pro
  • LB/S Markquese Bell – undrafted, starting LB in 2023, projected to return to safety in 2024
  • RB Malik Davis – undrafted, was RB3 his rookie season, but spent 2024 on Practice Squad
  • WR Ka’Vontae Turpin – undrafted, starting KR/PR, Pro Bowl, likely WR4 in 2024
  • TE Peyton Hendershot – undrafted, TE3 the last two seasons
  • C Brock Hoffman – undrafted, spent 2022 on PS, but started a C for multiple games in 2023 as backup
  • S Juanyeh Thomas – undrafted, spent rookie season on PS, played special teams in 2023

2023 – This class has been glaringly unproductive compared to the 2022 class of rookies. 3 of the 8 rookie draft picks didn’t play at all in 2023, and only Smith and Schoonmaker played in all 17 games.

  • DT Mazi Smith – 1st round pick, projected starter in 2024, but very disappointing rookie season
  • TE Luke Schoonmakeer – 2nd round pick, TE2 on team, used mostly as a blocker
  • LB DeMarvion Overshown – 3rd round pick, projected starting LB in 2024, spent rookie season injured
  • DL Viliami Fehoko – 4th round pick, did not play a down in 2023
  • OL Asim Richards – 5th round pick, played in 8 games as back-up player as a rookie
  • CB Eric Scott – 6th round pick, did not play a down in 2023
  • RB Deuce Vaughn – 6th round pick, only played in 7 games, gaining 40 yards on 23 carries
  • WR Jalen Brooks – 7th round pick, played in 7 games with 6 catches for 64 yards
  • PK Brandon Aubrey – undrafted, All-Pro, arguably the Cowboys best rookie in 2023
  • OL T.J. Bass – undrafted, started multiple games in backup role
  • WR David Durden – undrafted, spent 2023 on Injured Reserve
  • FB Hunter Luepke – undrafted, played sparingly in 2023, notable for fumbling the ball at the goal line that caused the loss to the Dolphins, which cost the Cowboys their chance at the #1 seed in the NFC
  • TE John Stephens, Jr. – undrafted, favored to knock Hendershot off the roster last year, but spent the year on Injured Reserve
  • DE Tyrus Wheat – undrafted, promoted from practice squad at the end of his rookie year

2024 – practices have barely begun for the rookie class of 2024, but hopes are high that this class will exceed the poor production of the 2023 rookie class. Will the Cowboys continue with their every-other-year success in the draft?

Discuss this on CowboysZone (28 comments)

Site Footer