Top 5 Cowboys of All Time: Defensive Line

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There is a lot of history behind Americas most storied sports franchise. I decided to start a series on the top 5 Cowboys of all time by position. The players worthy of a spot on this list can not be hired guns. They had to have been drafted by the Cowboys or signed as undrafted free agents, and they have to be worthy of a spot in the Cowboys ring of honor.

top 5 cowboys ed too tall jones

Too many times fans get so caught up with the media buzz and current events that they lose site of exactly why the Dallas Cowboys are known as Americas Team. Many of the younger fans never got to be a part of the longest dynasty in NFL history. Many don’t know some of the greats who played a major role in making Americas Team what it is today. This series on the top 5 Cowboys of all time is not only to educate the younger fans on the history of our great franchise, but my way of paying tribute to the great players who left their blood, sweat and tears on the gridiron.

This list will not be in any significant order. Every man on it will have played his own role. There is no way to put a number in front of any of these names. They were all among the best of the best. The elite if you will. They were all about “Team”. It wasn’t about personal accolades or big paychecks like the modern NFL. Every man on it, gave everything he had for the Star. That in itself makes them all #1 in my book. My first selection is:

top 5 cowboys ed jonesEd “Too Tall” Jones

Height|Weight: 6-9   271

Position: Defensive End

College: Tennessee State

Draft: Round 1 Pick 1

Pro Career: 1974-1989

In 1974, for the first time in franchise history, the Dallas Cowboys had the first overall draft pick. The #1 pick was acquired from the Houston Oilers in a trade for Tody Smith and Billy Parks. The Cowboys ended up drafting Ed Jones, making him the first football player from a Historically Black College to go that high in the draft.

“Too Tall” Jones earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors three times from 1981 to 1983. He retired at the end of the 1989 season. He had  never missed a game. Ed Jones played the most games by any Cowboys player in franchise history (232) and is tied with Mark Tuinei and Bill Bates for the most seasons played (15).

Ed “Too Tall” Jones was one of the most dominant and disruptive defensive players of his era. He played in 16 playoff games and three Super Bowls. He was part of three NFC championship teams and the Super Bowl XII championship team. As a member of “The Dooms Day Defense” his success batting down passes convinced the NFL to record it as an official stat.Unfortunately, I was unable to find out exactly how many he actually batted down. However, I was 7 when the Cowboys drafted Jones and I can remember a lot of them between 74 and 89.

The NFL didn’t start counting sacks as an official stat until 1982; but the Cowboys have their own records, dating back before the 1982 season. According to the Cowboys’ stats, despite the fact he played in a two gap system and his first priority was to stop the run, Jones is unofficially credited with a total of 106 sacks (third most in team history) and officially with 57. He is the fifth leading tackler in franchise history with 1,032.

It is a rare thing for a LDE, or any defensive lineman for that matter,  to amass that many tackles. Ed Jones was not only a class act both on and off the field, he played an integral part in the 20 year dynasty. Taking in to account his character, impact on the field and durability, Ed Jones is a top five Cowboy of all time at his position. Ed Jones will always be one of my childhood heroes.

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  • californy

    Nicer article Al, I wished we could of had Ed “Too Tall” Jones on this team. Wow I am impressed with his numbers averaging 73 tackles per season and 7.5 sack per season. Most of the NFL DE in today game dont even average that, and I think they played in a shorter season back then.

    • Al

      Thanks Cali. Yes it was 14 game seasons back then. The other stat unavailable is how many tackles for loss he had, which is also a lot. To this day I can’t remember a DL who was 6-9. His height was a thorn in the side of QB’s and kickers alike.

      • californy

        Sound like Jones was a freak of a player in many way, just like Watt is today

        • Al

          I would take too tall in his prime over watt any day

  • californy

    I was reading his Bio, i heard Jones was a athlete and he excelled in basketball and baseball too. I seen some of his Boxing fights on tape, and I heard he was not a good boxer at all despite his record, lol.

    • Al

      he had one hell of a reach advantage in the ring, but he actually was a much better football player when he returned from boxing. It really helped his hand techniques, endurance and quickness in football.

      • californy

        I heard when Ed Jones would lift his hand up, is the equivalent of trying to throw over a wall that was 11 feet tall, then you have to add his jumping ability as a basketball player, lol

  • Gabriel Carrasco

    Ed Too Tall is the original JJ Watt.

    • Al

      you’ve got that right.

  • californy

    I was looking at JJ Watts, Justin Houston and Mario William number and neither of these player ever got what Ed Jones average in his career in tackles per season at 73, They do have better sack number but I heard they weaken the rules of the game and in the process the sacks number went up.

    • Al

      sack numbers went up because it’s a pass happy league now and they get 2 more games per season. Back then teams ran the ball ALOT more.

  • I have the utmost respect for all of the old school cowboys. Dez Bryant should take a minute and chat with some of these guys. I really don’t think he comprehends what it means to wear that star. Or what these guys sacrificed for less money a year than he expects for a single damn game.