Cowboys Draft Troy’s Demarcus Ware in 1st Round

Cowboys Draft Troy DE Demarcus Ware At No. 11

Troy defensive end Demarcus Ware picked by Dallas Cowboys 11th overall in the 2005 NFL draft The first 10 picks could’ve shaped out any better for the Cowboys, who had their pick of front-seven players to choose from the No. 11 pick. While more proven and experienced players were available, the Cowboys opted for a pure pass rusher, taking Troy defensive end Demarcus Ware. The 6-4, 245-pounder had 28 career sacks in his four years for the Trojans, including 11 last year as a senior. Ware is considered one of the most athletic defensive players in this draft and uses his superior speed and quickness to get to the quarterback.

Ware, the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season, was moved to an outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl, playing some in the 3-4 scheme. He had three tackles and two quarterback pressures playing limited playing time in annual All-Star game in Mobile, Ala.

The Cowboys were also looking at Maryland defensive end/outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson and LSU defensive end Marcus Spears.

Ware is the latest attempt the Cowboys have made to find a pure pass rusher since they lost Charles Haley back in 1996. Since 1994, the Cowboys have now picked a defensive end with their top pick in five different drafts, starting with Shante Carver, followed by Kavika Pittman, Greg Ellis, Ebenezer Ekuban and now Ware.

No surprise that the Cowboys took a pass rusher with their first pick, although one from my old stomping grounds is interesting. Certainly, a player from a major conference would have been a safer bet. Or, indeed, trading down a few spots to grab one of the numerous quality defensive ends or linebackers in this draft.

Ware is the first a Troy (State) player ever taken in the 1st round. The ESPN draft tracker thinks it a good pick:

The Cowboys have filled a number of needs in free agency, and with two first-round picks had the opportunity to address a couple of more. Ware fills one. He is a hybrid DE/OLB with explosive speed and loads of pass-rushing potential. Ware’s draft stock skyrocketed after an impressive showing at the combine.

Cowboys pick Troy’s Ware (Matt Mosley and Rick Gosselin, DMN)

The Cowboys stayed put in the first round of this season’s draft, selecting Troy defensive end Demarcus Ware with their first pick in the first round Saturday. Dallas also will pick at No. 20. The Cowboys may also go for defense with that pick, possibly LSU defensive end Marcus Spears. Last year, the Cowboys traded out of the first round, sending their pick to Buffalo.

Ware is known for his great closing speed in the pass rush. He was a receiver in high school and wasn’t highly recruited. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 after he had 19 tackles for a loss and 10 1/2 sacks. He also caused four fumbles in 2004. He started 34 of 43 games during his career at Troy.

Ware had an impressive showing at the NFL combine with a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash and he has jumped as high as 38 inches. Ware weighed 198 pounds coming out of high school. He grew into a 251-pounder at Troy.

Ware is viewed as one of the best pass rushers in a draft light on quality pass rushers. He ranked eighth in the NCAA with 11 sacks in 2005 and collected 28 in his career at Troy. Only one school recruited Ware — Troy, located 80 miles to the southwest of Auburn. And the Trojans gave Ware the push he needed. Ware started his final three years at Troy and was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as college football’s best defensive end. Ware wanted to play at Auburn but never got the chance. “That’s been driving me since I got in college,” Ware said recently. “I wanted to set the stage for the guys at the small schools. Hey, we can play with the guys at the bigger schools. We can be just as competitive as they are.”

Ware was ranked 12th overall on Gooselin’s board.

Update (4-24): has audio feeds of several first day wrap-ups:

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    Dallas has had a predilection for picking defense in the first round of late. Some have been big time players, but some haven’t panned out.

    Either way, they seem not to be so interested in picking top quality offensive players (like the Aikmans, Smiths, and Irvins)

  2. James Joyner says:

    True ’nuff, although they traded two 1sts for WR Joey Galloway. They also spent their first pick last draft on RB Julius Jones, who seems to be a star.

    The ‘Boys are set at RB and TE. They’re clearly going to give Drew Bledsoe a year to prove he’s the answer and Drew Henson is still trying to prove himself, too. That means they’re not going to take a QB high this draft (they did spend a 3rd for Henson).

    The NFL is a copycat league and the Pats have managed to win with a dominating defense and a merely decent offense. If the Cowboys can put together a pass rush, they should be a dominating defense. If either of the Drews can play, then they’ll have a decent offense.

    We shall see.

  3. Lisa says:

    Well it looks like the 3-4 defense is shaping up.
    Ellis and Glover will show up fitter than ever for
    training camp,if they want a job.

  4. bryan says:

    I suppose you’re right. But giving away first rounders for high-end soon-to-be free agents isn’t quite the same as using those first rounders. Just ask Minnesota re: Herschel Walker. 🙂

    One hopes that the Cowboys have the same success after drew bledsoe gets injured as the Pats did.

  5. Having seen the kid play both in person and on TV, I knew he was going to make it in the NFL. I am surprised that he ended up being as hot a prospect as he became, but all the draft analysts seem to think it was a good pick.

    Certainly the Ware-Spears combo should greatly enhance Dallas’ d-line.

  6. JP Sobel says:

    If you are a Cowboys fan, you are truly outside the beltway.

  7. Boyd says:

    I don’t have any empirical data to prove it, but it seems to me that Cowboys fans in the Washington area are only outnumbered by Redskins fans, although Pittsburgh seems to be up there pretty high, too.

  8. James Joyner says:

    Yep. It’s actually amazing how many people in these parts wear Cowboys gear. The Cowboys, Steelers, and Packers have long had huge national followings and this area does have a lot of transplants, I guess.