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The 53: Physical Gifts Made "Too Tall" A Star


/ Click here to view the Ultimate 53-man depth chart.

The most important part of each season may be the daily practice grind in July and August when a team is truly built. As a countdown to this year's training camp, we celebrate the 53rd year of Cowboys football by constructing the team's all-time 53-man roster, picking one player from each season.

Not so much the 53 best players in club history, has constructed the ultimate team, filling out the depth chart and making room for contributors at every position, including special teams, while at the same time looking ahead to how this year's 53-man roster might shake out.

The series continues today with 1986 and Ed "Too Tall" Jones, a backup defensive end for The Ultimate 53.

Name: Ed "Too Tall" Jones
Position: Defensive End
College: Tennessee State
Height/Weight: 6-9/271
Cowboys Tenure: 1974-89

Why Him? One of the most physically imposing players in league history, Jones' length gave him the ability to fight off blocks on the edge to get to the quarterback or running back, or simply reach up to bat down passes thrown his way. In 1974, the Cowboys traded receiver Billy Parks and Tody Smith, himself a fine defensive lineman, to the Houston Oilers in exchange for the No. 1 pick and the right to select Jones. He went on to play more games than any player in team history (232), despite a one-year hiatus to pursue a boxing career, and was three times an All-Pro. While the NFL did not keep track of sacks until 1982, the Cowboys have credited him with 106, the third-most in team annals.

The Role: For the all-time roster of many clubs, a player like Jones would be a bona fide defensive star, but given the Cowboys' great tradition on the line – and the 3-4 alignment of The Ultimate 53 – he fills the spot of backup defensive end behind both Bob Lilly (1962) and Harvey Martin (1977). Given the pounding that linemen take in the 3-4, though, a heavy rotation is needed, and Jones' size makes him the prototypical end.

Back To The Future: While the Cowboys have made sure to fortify their line with those of prototypical size, the player most closely resembling Jones' unique build is 6-7, 320-pound Clifton Geathers. However, he's still developing in many respects. By 1986, Jones was a known quantity, and the veteran who fits that mold best for the Cowboys is Marcus Spears. Though the former first-round pick did not start last season, he still played quite a bit of snaps at both end positions, and if he doesn't win back a top job in 2012, should continue to help spell the Cowboys' starters on either side of the line.

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