Dallas Cowboys: Travis Johnson

A look at the 16th, 17th pick

February, 5, 2014
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will not know until a coin flip at the NFL scouting combine if they or the Baltimore Ravens will pick 16th or 17th in the first round of the May draft.

The only time the Cowboys used the 16th pick in the draft came in 1961 when they selected E.J. Holub in the second round. They have not taken a player with the 17th overall pick since cornerback Kevin Smith in 1992. Before that? In 1990 they took Emmitt Smith, who is now the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.

What type of player has been available at Nos. 16 and 17? Here’s a look at the past 10 years.

2013 – EJ Manuel, Buffalo; Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh
2012 – Quinton Coples, New York Jets; Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati
2011 – Ryan Kerrigan, Washington; Nate Solder, New England
2010 – Derrick Morgan, Tennessee; Mike Iupati, San Francisco
2009 – Larry English, San Diego; Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay
2008 – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona; Gosder Cherilus, Detroit
2007 – Justin Harrell, Green Bay; Jarvis Moss, Denver
2006 – Jason Allen, Miami; Chad Greenway, Minnesota
2005 – Travis Johnson, Houston; David Pollack, Cincinnati
2004 – Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia; D.J. Williams, Denver
2003 – Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh; Bryant Johnson, Arizona.

Polamalu is by far the best player selected in either spot. He will be in the Hall of Fame. There are quality players in there like Williams, Greenway, Rodgers-Cromartie, Iupati, Solder and Kerrigan. Andrews had a pretty good short run as well. Kerrigan is solid and has done some good things versus the Cowboys. Coples has showed some pass rush his first two seasons. I expected more from Kirkpatrick, who was on the Cowboys’ radar in 2012.

The Cowboys held the No. 18 pick in 2013 and traded down to No. 31 with the Niners where they took Travis Frederick. They felt they were in a position to trade down and still pick up a quality player. When they saw Eric Reid, Justin Pugh, Kyle Long and Tyler Eifert go off the board in the next four picks they were left sweating it out until they got Frederick.

First-round bust runs mouth about Romo

August, 13, 2013
OXNARD, Calif. – A mostly irrelevant former NFL defensive tackle found a way to get some attention.

Travis Johnson ripped Tony Romo on TV, saying a bunch of inflammatory things during a CSN Houston roundtable discussion.

“Tony Romo has not earned a dollar he’s been given in this league,” Johnson declared. He later added: “He’s a thief; he needs to be brought up on federal charges.”

Even the harshest Romo critic who has at least one rational brain cell would have to admit that the $10,000 signing bonus the Cowboys gave him when he was an undrafted rookie was one heck of an investment. And the six-year, $67 million deal that was set to expire after this season looks like a pretty good bargain when you compare Romo’s production to David Garrard’s in Jacksonville and Marc Bulger’s in St. Louis, to pick a pair of quarterbacks who signed similar extensions around the same time.

The Cowboys certainly got much better bang for their buck with Romo than the Houston Texans did with Johnson, who got $7.7 million guaranteed in his rookie contract after being selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2005 draft.

Johnson’s totals during his Texans tenure: two sacks, zero forced fumbles, zero fumble recoveries. He lasted four seasons in Houston, which dumped him before the final year of his rookie deal, just in case any more evidence was needed that Johnson was a big-time first-round bust.

Johnson did manage to make one more sack during his two-season stint in San Diego. Then he was out of the league when he should have been hitting his prime.

Good thing for Johnson that being an overpaid NFL player isn’t a federal crime. He might be Sam Hurd’s cellmate if that was the case.