Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent

Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent

Postby lastcat3 » Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:44 pm

I have been watching a few Miami Hurricanes games from the '80's over the past couple weeks and it is surprising me just how many of those players ended up becoming Dallas Cowboys during the early and mid '90's. And it makes me wonder did Jimmy Johnson really have a great eye for talent or was he just picking up a lot of his former Miami Hurricane players that he coached and/or recruited. Jimmy Johnson has often been viewed as having a real good eye for picking out players and that is what helped build up Dallas so quickly. But could it have been more of him just picking players that he coached from what was probably the most talent laden college football program during the '80's.

It would be like now a Alabama coach coming into the NFL and building up his team by bringing in Crimson Tide players he was familiar with.
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Re: Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent

Postby BD Sullivan » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:34 pm

lastcat3 wrote:I have been watching a few Miami Hurricanes games from the '80's over the past couple weeks and it is surprising me just how many of those players ended up becoming Dallas Cowboys during the early and mid '90's. And it makes me wonder did Jimmy Johnson really have a great eye for talent or was he just picking up a lot of his former Miami Hurricane players that he coached and/or recruited. Jimmy Johnson has often been viewed as having a real good eye for picking out players and that is what helped build up Dallas so quickly. But could it have been more of him just picking players that he coached from what was probably the most talent laden college football program during the '80's.

It would be like now a Alabama coach coming into the NFL and building up his team by bringing in Crimson Tide players he was familiar with.


There was a precedent: Paul Brown, both with the Browns and Bengals, loved having Ohio State players on his rosters.
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Re: Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent

Postby Halas Hall » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:18 am

Jimmy Johnson definitely had an eye for talent - Darryl Johnston, Mark Stepnoski and Tony Tolbert in 1989, Emmitt Smith in 1990, and Eric Williams and Leon Lett in 1991, plus plucking Jay Novacek from Plan B free agency.
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Re: Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent

Postby Bryan » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:51 am

Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent was helped by Mike Lynn. IIRC, the Steve Walsh supplemental pick cost Dallas a #1 overall pick. Johnson then took Russell Maryland with the #1 overall pick he actually had. Both were U of Miami players. Typically if a GM had two #1 overall picks and the result was a journeyman QB and a run-stuffing DT, they would be seeking employment elsewhere.
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Re: Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent

Postby 7DnBrnc53 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:58 pm

Bryan wrote:Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent was helped by Mike Lynn. IIRC, the Steve Walsh supplemental pick cost Dallas a #1 overall pick. Johnson then took Russell Maryland with the #1 overall pick he actually had. Both were U of Miami players. Typically if a GM had two #1 overall picks and the result was a journeyman QB and a run-stuffing DT, they would be seeking employment elsewhere.


Also, in 1990, he wanted to draft Baylor edge rusher James Francis in the first round. If the Bengals would have passed on him with the twelfth pick, I understand that he was going to trade up from pick 21 with KC to get him. He had to be sold on Emmitt Smith by a scout named Yaworski.
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Re: Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent

Postby conace21 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:46 pm

Bryan wrote:Jimmy Johnson's eye for talent was helped by Mike Lynn. IIRC, the Steve Walsh supplemental pick cost Dallas a #1 overall pick. Johnson then took Russell Maryland with the #1 overall pick he actually had. Both were U of Miami players. Typically if a GM had two #1 overall picks and the result was a journeyman QB and a run-stuffing DT, they would be seeking employment elsewhere.


The Athletic published a story today from a reporter who interviewed Jimmy during a fishing trip. Jimmy talked about his relationship with Aikman. He said he drafted Walsh looking to trade him for good value. That might be a bit if revisionist history. JJ coached Walsh in college and was thought to favor him over Aikman, despite Troy's physical gifts. The Cowboys eventually got a decent haul for Walsh, but was he worth the 1st overall pick?

The 1991 draft was strange at the top end. Rocket Ismail was the #1 prospect. I recall reading a book "The Meat Market" about that draft and the days and months leading up to it. Supposedly, Rocket's agents sent a list of outlandish contract demands to Dallas, (knowing they had the CFL as leverage.) Dallas didn't even bother responding. Maryland wasn't a once-in-a-generation prospect, and I think Dallas drafted him because they were able to agree to a contract before the draft, but he was a useful player in their defenisve line rotation, and was as good as any of the top prospects. (Eric Swann was a better DT in the NTL, but it was a shock when AZ picked him at #6.
Johnson was a good judge of talent, and helped develop the chart for valuing draft picks, but he always figured that the more picks he had, the better his odds. Dallas had 17 picks in the 12 round 1991 draft (not counting Kelvin Pritchett. Dallas was negotiating a trade with Detroit for the draft pick, but was running low on time, so they selected Pritchett, and then immediately traded him to Detroit.) They struck out on some picks, including a 3rd and 4th rounder who never played in the NFL. But they got Maryland, Dixon Edwards, Larry Brown, Godfrey Myles and stole Leon Lett. All were useful players in Jimmy's rotations on defense. He also got Alvin Harper and Erik Williams for the offense. That's a pretty good draft.
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