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Ranking Dallas Cowboys Top 5 draft picks in the Mike McCarthy era

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Who are the Cowboys best draft picks in the Mike McCarthy era in your opinion?

The Dallas Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy to become their new head coach in 2020 in the hopes that he was the one would be able to get them over the playoff hump that has haunted the organization for decades now. Unfortunately, that hasn’t materialized as of yet, meaning anything short of a Super Bowl appearance in 2024 likely ends his tenure in Dallas.

The McCarthy era (2020-2024) has no doubt been more good than bad for the Cowboys. The impact he’s made with the organization will continue if this is his last season in Dallas through the players he’s helped groom over the years. He’s been a part of some important drafts during his tenure and today we thought we’d identify the Top 5.


Honorable mention – TE Jake Ferguson

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Jake Ferguson narrowly missed the cut as being a Top 5 draft pick by the Cowboys in the Mike McCarthy era. The 2022 fourth-round draft pick (129th overall) has already made a name for himself in the NFL. In two short years he’s proven to be one of the best players at the position, evidenced by his Pro Bowl appearance last year in his first season as a full-time starter. With another year like last season, he could surpass other players on this list.


#5 – CB Trevon Diggs

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Trevon Diggs was a part of the Cowboys 2020 draft class, the first in the Mike McCarthy era in Dallas. The former second-round pick (51st overall) already carries the distinction of a First-team All-Pro (2021), NFL interception leader (2021), and a two-time Pro Bowl player (2021, 2022). Those accolades alone could’ve ranked him higher on this list, but his season-ending knee injury last year and how easily he was replaced has him coming in at No. 5.


#4 – CB DaRon Bland

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Based on where he was drafted and what he’s accomplished in two short years, the former fifth-round pick (167th overall) in 2022 is the best bang-for-the-buck draft pick in the McCarthy era. Coming off a First-Team All-Pro, Pro Bowl season in which he was the NFL INT leader and made history by breaking the pick-six record (5), No. 26 has more than proven his worth, surprisingly mostly as an injury fill-in for both Jourdan Lewis and Trevon Diggs.


#3 – OL Tyler Smith

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Tyler Smith, the former first-round pick (24th overall) by the Cowboys in 2022, has proven to be one of the best and most versatile offensive lineman as both a tackle and guard in the entire league in two short years. He seemed to find his home last year at left guard though, evidenced by his First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl nominations. He recently ranked as PFF’s No. 4 ranked OG, but one could argue even that’s a little low.


#2 – WR CeeDee Lamb

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CeeDee Lamb may still be waiting on his contract extension from the Dallas Cowboys, but the former first-round pick (17th overall) in 2020 is not only one of the best players drafted in the McCarthy era, but arguably the best receiver in the entire league. After making three consecutive Pro Bowls (2021-2023) and being named as a First-Team All-Pro (2023), No. 88 narrowly misses out on the top spot as Dallas’ best draft pick under McCarthy.


#1 – LB/DE Micah Parsons

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Claiming the top spot as the Cowboys best draft pick in the Mike McCarthy era probably comes as no surprise. Micah Parsons, Dallas’ former first-round pick (12th overall) in 2021, almost immediately made his impact felt in the league. The 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year has made three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances, gathered two First-Team All-Pro nominations, and has been in the running for Defensive Player of the Year annually.

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