St Patrick’s Day: Power-Ranking the Best ‘Patricks’ in Cowboys’ History
While enjoying a pint of green beer on St Patrick’s Day, we invite you to discuss our power ranking of the best “Patrick” who has ever laced-up a pair of cleats in Dallas Cowboys history.
The ranking is restricted to players named Patrick (or Pat) that have played in Cowboys regular season games. Unfortunately the criterion eliminates free agent center Ronald Patrick who spent two weeks on the Cowboys practice squad a couple of Septembers ago. Sorry, Ronald.
PAT DENNIS, Cornerback (2001)
He spent only 1 season in Dallas, but since there are so few players named “Patrick” or “Pat” that ever played for the Cowboys, Pat Dennis by default ranks #7 on the list. Dennis’ one season with the Cowboys was not a banner year, especially at the cornerback position. Dennis did not crack a starting lineup that featured Duane Hawthorne and Mario Edwards (Izell Reese starting 3 games that year). Dennis did, however, play in 11 games for the Cowboys and was credited with 7 passes defended and 22 tackles. Dennis played a total of 6 NFL seasons which also included stops with the Chiefs, Texans, and Redskins.
NFL Photos via AP
Scott Boehm via AP
PAT McQUISTAN, Offensive Tackle (2006-2009)
Selected in the same draft as Patrick Watkins, McQuistan was a 7th round pick from Weber State. A backup and special teams player, McQuistan was a gameday inactive most of his career with the Cowboys. He was traded to the Dolphins for a conditional 6th round pick in 2010. He started 8 games for the Dolphins that year.
Tom DiPace via AP
PATRICK WATKINS, Safety (2006-2009)
Selected in the 5th round of the 2006 draft out of Florida State, Watkins started 9 games at safety in his rookie year and picked off 3 passes and amassed 39 tackles. He also became a special teams core player, leading the team in special teams tackles in 2007. He also returned a blocked field goal 68 yards for a touchdown that season.
Following his 4 seasons in Dallas, Watkins joined the Chargers, but lasted only one season in San Diego due to a knee injury. He has, however, continued his pro football career in the Canadian Football League playing for the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos.
PATRICK JEFFERS, Wide Receiver (1998)
Another hometown kid (Fort Worth Country Day), Jeffers joined the Cowboys after spending his first two NFL seasons with the Broncos. The former walk-on at the University of Virginia was traded to the Cowboys in 1998, joining the scout team. He moved to the active roster for 8 games and recorded 18 catches for 330 yards and 2 touchdowns. He led the team in receiving in the playoffs, a first-round loss to the Cardinals.
Jeffers showed a lot of promise, but he’s “one that got away” in restricted free agency. The Cowboys tendered him a qualifying offer at his original draft round (5th round by the Broncos in 1996). The Panthers signed him to an offer sheet with a $1.2 million base salary. The Cowboys did not match the offer, and Jeffers took his talents to Carolina. The Cowboys received a 5th round draft pick as compensation, a pick which was later used to move up to select DE Ebenezer Ekuban in the first round of the 1999 draft.
Scott Boehm via AP
PATRICK CRAYTON, Wide Receiver (2004-2009)
A hometown favorite (DeSoto High School), Crayton worked his way from Cowboys’ 7th round draft pick from tiny Northwestern Oklahoma State University into the starting lineup in 2007. During his six seasons in Dallas, he caught 196 passes and scored 25 touchdowns (2 on punt returns during the 2009 season). Crayton was a go-to guy for Tony Romo and a valuable return specialist who was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 7 of the 2009 season. That’s the same year he was named Second Team All-Pro by The Sporting News.
Crayton’s career in Dallas ended on September 3, 2010 when he was traded to the Chargers for a 7th round draft pick. Crayton’s agent requested the trade after the Cowboys’ used their first round pick in 2010 on Dez Bryant.
PAT TOOMAY, Defensive End (1970-1974)
The Cowboys’ 6th round pick in 1970 from Vanderbilt won a Super Bowl ring. He played 5 of his 10 NFL seasons for the Cowboys, moving into the starting lineup at right defensive end in place of George Andrie in 1972.
Although sacks did not become an official NFL statistic until 1982, Toomay is unofficially credited by the Cowboys with a team-leading 10 ½ sacks in 1973. He remained a starter through 1974 even though he shared snaps that season with a rookie named Ed “Too Tall” Jones who was taken with the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Toomay was durable, playing in every game of his 5 seasons with the Cowboys.
He was a member of “The Zero Club”, Cowboys players whose first rule was “Thou Shalt Not Seek Publicity” (Blaine Nye and Larry Cole also were club members).
Toomay is also the well-known author of On Any Given Sunday.
Because of his team-leading sacks, his Super Bowl ring, and his success as an author, Toomay is second in our power ranking.
PAT DONOVAN, Offensive Tackle (1975-1983)
The Cowboys’ 4th round pick out of Stanford in 1975 was part of the famous Cowboys’ Dirty Dozen draft class that included the likes of Randy White, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, Burton Lawless, Bob Breunig, Mike Hegman, Herb Scott and Scott Laidlaw.
Donovan was a backup his first couple of seasons, then moved into the starting lineup in place of the injured Rayfield Wright during the Cowboys’ Super Bowl season in 1977. In 1978, Donovan moved to left tackle where he was the starter the next six seasons. Donovan was elected to four Pro Bowls.
Because he won a Super Bowl ring, went to four Pro Bowls, and was the blind side protector of Roger Staubach and Danny White, Donovan tops our power ranking as the best Patrick to ever play for the Cowboys.