Top 10: Where Does Dak Rank Among Best 4th-Round Picks in Club History?

The Cowboys have the 28th overall pick in the first round, but if last year proved anything, talent can be found in other places.

So for the next few weeks, leading up to the NFL Draft in late-April, let's focus on the best players the Cowboys have collected in each of the seven rounds.  

This week, let's focus on the 10 best fourth-round picks in Cowboys history:

Honorable Mentions:

Kurt Peterson (1980)

Kelvin Martin (1987)

Randy Hughes (1975)

10. Ron Stone (1993) – This one seems rather fitting as the Cowboys just lost Ron Leary in free agency. Stone also got caught up in the "you can't pay everyone" situation back in the mid-90's. He was a good, young player but the Cowboys had no spot for him. Stone went on to the Giants where he earned three Pro Bowls and had a 12-year career, also playing for the 49ers and Raiders.

9. John Fitzgerald (1970) – He played his entire 10 years with the Cowboys, including eight seasons as the primary starter at center. Fitzgerald played in four and started in three Super Bowls for the Cowboys during the 70's.

8. Chris Canty (2005) – This turned out to be a great pick because Jerry Jones and the Cowboys took a chance on Canty, despite medical reports that a previous eye injury would become problematic throughout his career. Instead, Canty played 11 years, including four with the Cowboys. He, along with DeMacus Ware and Marcus Spears, was a big reason the defense was able to adjust to a 3-4 scheme so quickly.

7. Doug Free (2007)– Like Stone, Free was also drafted into a line that had talented starters above him. But eventually, he found his way into the starting lineup and has been a key piece to the Cowboys' successful lines over the years. While he's not earning Pro Bowls like some of his teammates, Free has been steady on both sides of the line although it appears his run is coming to an end as reports have speculated for weeks now that he's planning to retire, although the Cowboys and/or Free have yet to make that announcement.

6. Bradie James (2003) – He was one of the Cowboys' most consistent players throughout the 2000's, even leading the team in tackles for six straight years (2005-10). He's the only player in Cowboys history to accomplish that feat since 1977, when tackles were first based off of coaches' film. James was also a core leader in the locker room.

5. Marion Barber (2005) – One of the more exciting players in Cowboys' history, Barber was a dynamic runner, even with his bruising style. It didn't take long for Bill Parcells to know he had a power back who also could catch and block. He shared time with other players, but still made the Pro Bowl in 2007 with his 975 rushing yards. Barber ranks third in Cowboys history with 47 rushing TDs, behind only Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.

4. Tony Tolbert (1989)– While many people remember the 1989 draft going from Aikman to Johnston to Stepnoski, Tolbert is often forgotten. The Cowboys got a really good player in the fourth round in this defensive end, who was rock steady for most of the decade while playing opposite of Charles Haley and Jim Jeffcoat. Tolbert made his only Pro Bowl in 1996.  

3. Tom Rafferty (1976) – No fourth-round pick in Cowboys history started or played in more games with the team than Rafferty. He was both a center and snapper for years and was a steady piece to the offensive line all the way until the late 80s. Rafferty played in 203 games, one of six players in franchise history, and the only offensive linemen, to play in at least 200 with the Cowboys.

2. Pat Donovan (1975) – He was one of two really good picks in the the fourth round along with Randy Hughes. But Donovan earned four Pro Bowls as the Cowboys' left tackle for several seasons. No player in franchise history has earned more trips to the Pro Bowls as a fourth-round pick. The Cowboys had a solid, to great O-line in the early 80s and no player was more consistent and dominant than Donovan.   

1. Dak Prescott (2016)– Really? The best fourth-round pick after just one year. Yeah, that's what winning Rookie of the Year honors and setting numerous NFL and club records will do. No player in NFL history won more games as a rookie than Prescott, who tied Ben Roethlisberger with 13 and likely could've won the record outright had the Cowboys played him more in the season finale. Prescott set the NFL record for most passes to begin a career without a pick and also set league records for highest QB rating and completion percentage for a rookie. Time will tell if he continues to play at that level but as of right now, no player made a bigger impact for his team than Prescott.  

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