Best First-Round Picks By Each Major Dallas Sports Franchise


Lots of draft talk lately. Major League Baseball shortening theirs while the NFL updates procedures for theirs and who knows what will happen for the NBA or NHL’s upcoming drafts. Whatever the case, let’s take a look at the three best first-round draft picks for each franchise.


1. Mark Teixeira: Drafted out of Georgia Tech 5th overall in 2001, Teixeira was a big leaguer to start the 2003 campaign. Though the way he left the organization left a bitter taste in the mouths of fans, Tex was really good with Texas as his 23.5 WAR from 2003 until his trade in 2007 would indicate. He’d go on to win the World Series with the Yankees in 2009 in a year in which he finished 2ndin the MVP voting. Tex gets the nod as the best pick because at the end of the days these players are supposed to either help the team through their play or as an asset and Teixeira’s value helped the Rangers execute arguably the most pivotal trade in franchise history when they landed five players from the Braves, a move that many believed was a catalyst for their 2010 surge.

2. Kevin Brown: Yet another Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket, Brown amassed a WAR of 17.7 while pitching for the Rangers from 1986-1994. Though his career was more accomplished than Teixeira’s, his impact with the franchise wasn’t as large. He left for the Orioles as a free agent in 1995 and eventually won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997. With his torque-fueled windup, Brown twice finished in the Top 3 of Cy Young voting including his 1998 season with the Padres in which he posted a 2.38 ERA.

3. Joey Gallo: Drafted 39th overall in 2012, Gallo bypassed a commitment to LSU to sign with the Rangers. While this selection is still in some ways incomplete, Gallo demonstrated franchise-player potential with his All-Star season in 2019. If he stays a Ranger long enough, there’s a really good chance he surpasses Juan Gonzalez as the franchise’s home run leader.  Not only will his continued growth remain of interest, but so will the work of his agent, Scott Boras, when it comes time for the Gallo to either sign an extension or elect free agency.


*Orchestrated draft day trades are such a big part of the NBA’s draft process, but to uniform the Mavs’ list, we are only considering players drafted by the Mavericks, knocking off the eligibility of Dirk and Luka.

1. Jason Kidd: Not only did Kidd have the best overall career of any player drafted by the Mavs, his impact is tough to match when you consider he ended up helping the Mavs win their lone title in 2011, even if it came after they reacquired him via trade. It’s unfortunate that the “Three Js” couldn’t make it work, because it seemed like Jamal Mashburn, Jim Jackson, and the Co-NBA Rookie of the Year, Jason Kidd, were forming a nice trio. The triple-double machine was a weak shooter when he entered the league but ended up 10thall-time in made trifectas with 1988, six more than Dirk. And the Mavs nailed the pick, too. Drafting kid 2ndoverall, Kidd’s career was easily better than anyone else from a draft class that includes Grant Hill, Juwan Howard, and Eddie Jones, among others.

2. Mark Aguirre: The only first overall pick in franchise history, Aguirre absolutely delivered, even if , like Teixeira above, his departure from Dallas wasn’t met with warmth from the fans. He was a Maverick from 1981 until his trade in 1989 for Adrian Dantley and a pick the turned into LaBradford Smith. Aguiree averaged 24 points per game while with the Mavs and helped lead the first great Mavs team, the 1988 squad that fell to the champion Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.  The Mavs took Aguirre over Isiah Thomas, but it’s tough to argue with Aguirre who had an outstanding career. 

3. Rolando Blackman: Almost a career Mav, the 9th overall pick of the 1981 Draft played with the Mavs until 1992 and thrice averaged more than 20 points per game, eight times averaging at least 18. Like Aguirre, he, too, was a part of that 1988 team and, unlike Aguirre, was always revered by Mavs fans remaining a part of the organization as a beloved ambassador and speaker to this day.  In taking Blackman where they did, the Mavs didn’t really miss on anyone. Those taken after Blackman included solid players but no one obviously more impactful. Larry Nance, who was drafted 12 picks later near the end of the first round, probably had a better career but its tough to say the Mavs missed on Ro when Nance wasn’t really taken in the same range.

Dallas Stars

*Not including their selections in the North Stars era, which obviously includes Mike Modano. Jarome Iginla was drafted by the Stars but never played for them, thus he’s not eligible.

1. Brendan Morrow: The former captain was never an All-Star in his career but consistently a notch below that and usually a very important player on some really good teams. His impact on the franchise vaults him to this spot, along with the fact that the Stars have frequently missed when they’ve had a first round pick. His best year was in 2007-2008 when he notched 32 goals and a career-best 74 points and in the playoffs of that season he scored the series-clincher in the 4thovertime versus the Sharks to send the Stars to the Western Conference Finals as well as to ensure that I would in fact make my 5:55 am flight.

2. Miro Heiskanen: The 20-year old Fin is in just his second year but is already a stud and has a chance to develop into one of the best defenseman of his generation. Again, the Stars’ lack of first round success has Miro this high despite such little experience, but anyone who has watched him knows he is special and someone whom you can build a group of blue liners around.

3. Matt Niskanen: The Stanley Cup winning blue liner with the 2018 Capitals was the 28thoverall pick in 2005. Among all first-rounders in the Dallas Stars era, he trails only Brenden Morrow in career points, even if those points weren’t all amassed with the Stars.  He spent just three-and-a-half years with the Stars and in a couple years he’s hopefully knocked off this list by Denis Gurianov.

Dallas Cowboys

A few Hall-of-Famers will be left off this list for the franchise that has an embarrassment of first-round riches compares to their DFW peers…In order to separate the triplets, who make up this list, I consider who was drafted before and after as tiebreakers.

1. Emmitt Smith: While running backs might not have as much value these days, they were super important in those days and Emmitt was one of the best of all-time. Emmitt retired a better running back compared to others in history than his Hall of Fame teammates Aikman and Irvin were compared to their positional peers. What’s more is that Emmitt was the lowest drafted and his “lack of speed” had some skeptical of his potential. The only HOFer drafted lower than Emmitt in 1990 was Shannon Sharpe, who was a 7thround pick.

2. Troy Aikman: While his stats don’t blow your mind, he was still the quarterback and was the guy who kept everything under control when, behind-the-scenes, nothing was bound to stay that way. You can’t miss on number one overall picks and the Cowboys didn’t with Aikman.  Then again, it would have been tough to miss when four of the first five taken ended up in Canton (Mandarich being the lone exception). Shockingly, Aikman was the only quarterback taken in the first round that year.

3. Michael Irivn: The emotional leader of those Cowboys teams was the first one drafted when he was selected 11thoverall in 1988. Anthony Miller, Aaron Cox, and Wendell Davis were the first round receivers drafted after Irvin and considering most of you have no idea who they are probably tells you all you need to know. Not the best receiver in his class—that would be DFW’s Tim Brown—Irvin was still one of the best of his era and a dang good pick.