2005 Dallas Cowboys draft class ranked among best draft hauls of 21st century

When it comes to figuring out who the greatest Dallas Cowboys draft class in team history is, there are a couple of serious contenders.

For a long time the answer was always the famed Dirty Dozen group that came out of 1975. Walking away with Randy White and Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson at the top makes it a strong choice. The group in large part helped Dallas reach three different Super Bowls in their first four seasons, not to mention taking home the world title in Super Bowl XII.

Some argue for 1964 as that produced three different Pro Football Hall of Fame members in Mel Renfro, Bob Hayes (aka Bullet Bob) and Roger Staubach, although the latter obviously did not join the team for a bit given his commitment to the United States Navy. Still, a very robust argument.

Relative to modern times for a while it seemed like 2016 would write its own deep chapter in franchise history with Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott serving as the faces for a group that included Jaylon Smith (not to mention Rico Gathers, remember those times?), but obviously that is not a serious nominee relative to the groups that we are talking about.

Modern history suggests that there is one answer for the best Dallas Cowboys draft class in the 21st century and it is so good that it is actually one of the best across the entire league.

2005 Dallas Cowboys draft class ranked among best in the NFL in 21st century

Recently the folks over at ESPN took it upon themselves to rank the top draft classes across the league since the turn of the century. There are some strong ones that come to mind from different teams, but there is one representative from America’s Team.

If it isn’t obvious the 2005 team is the one who made the list and they came in at number eight overall.

8. 2005 Dallas Cowboys

Here’s another deep draft where, as with the 2017 Saints, seven players had at least one season as an NFL starter. However, this one also has a Hall of Famer at the very top. The Cowboys kicked off their 2005 draft with two first-round picks. Edge rusher DeMarcus Ware was the first selected at No. 11. He was first-team All-Pro four times and went to nine Pro Bowls with the Cowboys and Broncos. Nine picks later, the Cowboys took Marcus Spears, a 5-technique lineman who started 90 NFL games. Second-round pick Kevin Burnett was a role player in Dallas but later started for four and a half seasons in San Diego, Miami and Oakland.

In the fourth round, the Cowboys got running back Marion Barber — who never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season but had four seasons with at least seven touchdowns — and another defensive lineman, Chris Canty, who started 128 games for the Cowboys, Giants and Ravens. Sixth-round offensive tackle Rob Petitti started every game as a rookie but quickly faded out of the league. Still, this draft wasn’t over for the Cowboys. Seventh-round defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was the Cowboys’ starting nose tackle from 2007 through 2011, making four Pro Bowls and one first-team All-Pro.

DeMarcus Ware is the headliner of the group as he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame himself, but the group is extremely talented all the way through.

Marcus Spears was the “other” first-round pick and had a tremendous career with Dallas (and is wonderful on television nowadays). Kevin Burnett was indeed a role player to a high degree, not enough people talk about his defensive touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 when Dallas took down Peyton Manning’s undefeated bunch on Tony Romo’s first start at Texas Stadium (with future broadcast partner Jim Nantz on the call, coincidentally enough).

The late Marion Barber III established himself as one of the more violent runners of his era and was an incredible closer for the Cowboys teams of that day. That Dallas was able to land Jay Ratliff in the seventh-round remains an incredible return on investment, he was undeniably one of the best late-round picks in team history.

The group that came in ahead of the 2005 Cowboys features a current Cowboys staffer in Domata Peko. Coincidentally, it was even one year later as the 2006 Cincinnati Bengals were slotted in at number seven. Current defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer obviously knew them well.

Can you believe it has been almost 20 years?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *