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04/25/2013

The Dallas Cowboys best draft picks of all time - No. 5

71499160_display_imageAs a celebration of NFL draft week, The Big Mac Blog will look back at the best and worst of the Dallas Cowboys' draft history. We now continue with the good. The criteria is simple - the lower the expection, i.e. the selection, and the greater the return, the better pick.

5. Larry Brown, CB, TCU, 1991, 320th selection
LB may not have been the world's greatest defensive back, but for a man who was one of the last picks in the 1991 draft he was both productive and valuable on a level few ever see from this spot. 

He played eight NFL seasons, intercepted 14 passes and returned two for touchdowns. Maybe he was the beneficiary of a Cowboys defense that abused so many, but he made plays.

Brown's biggest contribution came in Super Bowl XXX when he intercepted a pair of passes by Pittsburgh Steelers QB Neil O'Donnell in the second half.

The Steelers' trailed 13-7 in the third quarter and were around midfield. On third down, Brown intercepted a pass and returned it 44 yards, which set up an Emmitt Smith touchdown.

The Cowboys led 20-17 with 4:15 remaining in the game when the Steelers had the ball at their own 32. On second down, Brown picked off O'Donnell again and returned it 33 yards to the six-yard-line. Smith scored again to secure the Cowboys last Super Bowl win.

Brown is now one of seven defensive players to be named Super Bowl MVP; the others were Chuck Howley (Cowboys, LB, Super Bowl V), Jake Scott (Dolphins, S, Super Bowl VII), Harvey Martin & Randy White (Cowboys, DL, Super Bowl XII), Richard Dent (Bears, DE, Super Bowl XX), Ray Lewis (Ravens, LB, Super Bowl XXXV).

After this Super Bowl, Brown signed a five-year, $12.5 million contract with the Oakland Raiders that included a signing bonus of $3.5 million. It made him one of the highest paid DBs in the NFL at the time. 

Brown's detractors said those Super Bowl picks were both gifts. They were right, but Brown was in the right place at the right time, didn't drop the ball, and posted big returns to set up two touchdowns that were vital to the win.

It never really clicked with the Raiders, where he was a bit exposed as a guy who wasn't a lock down corner. In two seasons in Oakland, he started just once and played 12 games before he was cut. He returned to the Cowboys in '98 where he played four games. 

Picked immediately after: Rob Luedeke, C, Penn State
Picked immediately ahead of: Mark Drabczak, G, Minnesota

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