One of the biggest “what if” situations commonly tossed around involves Randy Moss not being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Many believed that Moss was headed to Dallas, but that never came to fruition as the franchise elected to go another direction. The conversation persisted due to the Hall of Fame talent that he developed into throughout his career. It also saw fellow Hall of Famer Michael Irvin believe that he was why the team elected to pass on Moss.
Cowboys pass on drafting Randy Moss
In the weeks leading into the 1998 NFL draft, the Cowboys were pinned as being the potential landing spot for Randy Moss.
The team held the eighth overall pick and needed help improving its offense after coming off a 1997 campaign where they finished with a 6-10 record in Barry Switzer’s last year with the franchise. Dallas was looking to get back into the playoff mix after missing it for the first time in seven years.
The Cowboys had shown interest in Moss before the draft with pre-draft workouts. However, the draft saw them go in another direction to take defensive end Greg Ellis with their first-round selection. In the time that has followed that move, the star wideout has voiced that he felt like the team passed on the chance to take him.
Despite plenty of other factors at play, another Hall of Famer believes he was why the franchise didn’t elect to pick him.
Michael Irvin thinks he costs the Cowboys Randy Moss
Since the 1998 draft, plenty of chatter has revolved around why the Cowboys elected to bypass taking Randy Moss.
One of which centers around Hall of Famer Michael Irvin as it was no secret that he wasn’t the easiest player for Dallas to manage off-the-field. These struggles for the franchise led Irvin to believe that these internal conflicts were enough to drive the team away from selecting Moss as team executive Stephen Jones told Todd Archer of ESPN.
“I remember Michael saying that [he] probably caused some frustration with me and probably cost Randy coming with the Cowboys,” Jones said.
Despite his tremendous talent on the field, Moss had his fair share of off-the-field issues. He had a scholarship with Notre Dame, but a fight that led to three days in jail cost that opportunity. He had gone to Florida State but was dismissed by the school due to testing positive for marijuana. That alone played a factor in him sliding down the draft board to the 21st overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings despite being the one of the best talents in his class.
It was like Irvin felt that the issues he had the Cowboys deal with pushed them away from wanting to go through more problems yet again.
Randy Moss torched the Cowboys
The entire situation only brought more considerable frustration from Randy Moss as it was evident he circled the calendar any time he played the Cowboys.
In seven regular-season games, Moss lit them up for 35 receptions for 663 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns while his 18.9 yards per catch are the highest average against any team. His 10 career touchdowns are the third-most that he had against any opponent, only trailing 14 against the Green Bay Packers and 12 against the Buffalo Bills.
Moss had memorable performances facing Dallas that was saw him light them up in his first matchup on Thanksgiving in 1998 with three passes for 163 receiving yards and three touchdowns. In his lone playoff game against them in the divisional round in the 1999 playoffs, he recorded five catches for 127 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Regardless of how things transpired on draft day in 1998, the Cowboys passed on snagging a Hall of Fame talent. It’s a simple what could have been to have him paired with Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith that could have brought life into the latter stages of their Hall of Fame careers for more greatness and success.