A Former All-Pro Linebacker Reveals Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys Betrayed Him on Draft Day: ‘You Could Hear a Pin Drop’

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys‘ front office have proven, over the years, to have a good eye for football talent. The Cowboys have a lengthy history of bringing talent to the league through the draft. Ex-NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman detailed an interesting story about how Dallas almost drafted him back in 2005.

Shawne Merriman says the Cowboys promised to draft him

Shawne Merriman on the Chargers sideline; Jerry Jones before a Dallas Cowboys game
Former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman looks on during a preseason game | Greg Trott/Getty Images; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones looks on before game against the Los Angeles Chargers | Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Shawne Merriman earned a three-star rating from 247 Sports after starring at Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Merriman landed a scholarship offer from the University of Maryland and committed to play college football for the Terps. After enjoying a productive college career, the outside linebacker flew up draft boards.

Merriman was a guest on Catchin’ Fades with Aqib Talib. He detailed a story about how the Dallas Cowboys betrayed him before the 2005 NFL Draft.

The former Maryland standout said the Cowboys flew him out to Dallas, along with other players high on the team’s draft board. “We’re all in the locker room. Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells sent somebody downstairs to get me, just me,” said Merriman. “They say, ‘hey, we’ve got the No. 11 pick. We don’t think you’re going to be here. We think you’ll go somewhere in the top five. But if you’re there, we’re going to draft you.”

After the meeting, Merriman thought it was basically a done deal. The draft rolled around, and the Cowboys seemed to have a change of heart.

“The No. 11 pick came up, and they called DeMarcus [Ware],” he said. “I’m sitting there like…you could hear a pin drop. Everybody’s like, ‘what happened? What the f*** is going on?'”

The San Diego Chargers selected Shawne Merriman with the No. 12 pick. However, Dallas passing over him for DeMarcus Ware motivated him for the rest of his career.

DeMarcus Ware made Jerry Jones and the front office look good

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys got Shawne Merriman’s hopes up in 2005, but they made the right choice by drafting DeMarcus Ware.

Ware didn’t play college football at a Power Five conference school. Instead, he played at Troy. Even without playing a tough schedule, the Cowboys’ front office fell in love with Ware’s film.

The Auburn, Alabama native spent 12 seasons in the NFL, and he played nine in Dallas. For several years, Ware was one of the fiercest pass rushers in the league.

The nine-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker finished his impressive career with 657 tackles, 171 tackles for loss, 138.5 sacks, and 35 forced fumbles. He led the NFL in sacks twice in his career, including 20 in 2008.

All of Ware’s career efforts paid off in his second season with the Denver Broncos. He helped lead the Denver Broncos to a victory in Super Bowl 50.

Despite his success in Denver, DeMarcus Ware’s best years came as an essential piece in the Dallas Cowboys defense.

The Cowboys have drafted well recently

The Dallas Cowboys franchise has a rich history of talented players, even before Jerry Jones became the general manager in 1989.

Players like Herschel Walker, Tony Dorsett, and Michael Irvin were all Cowboys’ draft picks. Since Jones has taken over, the team has continued to find success building talent through the draft.

The Cowboys drafted the famous trio of Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt Smith in back-to-back-to-back years from 1988 to 1990.

Even more recently, the Dallas front office has hit the jackpot with some of their picks. The Cowboys added most of the key players on the 2021 Cowboys roster through the draft.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott, and cornerback Anthony Brown were part of the 2016 draft class. The Cowboys selected them in the first, fourth, and sixth rounds, respectively.

Trevon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, and Micah Parsons have been surefire picks in the past two draft classes. Each player has provided significant contributions.

Teams that draft well usually can contend regularly.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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