If you had all of the Dallas Cowboys from all time, how would you fill out a three-deep depth chart at each position?
This is the question I asked myself and set out to answer.
The answer is not as easy to come by as you think. There are some hard decisions to make. Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman? Tony Dorsett or Emmitt Smith?
The exercise is also telling in that it reveals positions of incredible strength through the years, such as quarterback, halfback, tight end, defensive tackle and cornerback. It also reveals some positions that have been mostly anchored by less-than-illustrious players, such as right guard, free safety (with apologies to Cliff Harris) and kicker.
Rafael Septien is the obvious choice at kicker, since he was the all-time leading scorer for the team at one time, but his career has a harsh asterisk on it. Septien was charged with a deplorable sex offense.
One thing that has to be decided is whether to use the 4-3 or the 3-4 defensive alignment. Since all eight of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl teams utilized the 4-3, that seemed a no-brainer to me. Plus, the 4-3 allows me to put two of the greatest players in team history on the field together, namely, Bob Lilly and Randy White. Both Lilly and White played at the right defensive tackle position, but if you had them on the field together, would it really matter which side of the center they lined up on? Of course, two wideout positions means both Michael Irvin and Drew Pearson get to be starters. But Bullet Bob Hayes might have a thing or two to say about that.
I opted for Roger Staubach over Aikman for my starter. Staubach is, in my view, the all-time greatest Cowboy. His team participated in five Super Bowls in the 1970s. Aikman won three Super Bowls in a four year span in the ’90s. It is hard to go wrong either way.
I put Emmitt in the starting lineup because, well, how can you keep the NFL’s all-time leading rusher on the bench. Still, having followed the careers of Smith and Dorsett from start to finish, my personal preference is Dorsett. But then, he is one of my all-time favorite NFL players, so I cannot be trusted to be objective on the matter.
Without further explanation or delay, I present for your review the Dallas Cowboys all-time depth chart. Feel free to rebut.