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The One At 1: 1991 -- Russell Maryland

Cowboys grab defensive lineman to help anchor eventual Super Bowl teams

Cowboys defensive tackle Russell Maryland tracks down Cardinals quarterback Steve Buerlein in a 1994 game.
Cowboys defensive tackle Russell Maryland tracks down Cardinals quarterback Steve Buerlein in a 1994 game.

The Cardinals hold the No. 1 overall pick for April's NFL draft for the first time since 1958. As the day for the Cards to make their selection draws closer, azcardinals.com will take a look at the last 30 No. 1 overall selections and each player's impact on the team and league.

NAME/YEAR: DT Russell Maryland, 1991

TEAM: Dallas Cowboys

THE SITUATION: After the Cowboys had the No. 1 overall pick in 1989 (taking Troy Aikman) and then losing it in 1990 (because they took Steve Walsh in the supplemental draft), they ended up with No. 1 overall pick again in 1991 by trading up. The idea, at least publicly from owner/GM Jerry Jones, was that Dallas wanted to draft Rocket Ismail. But in the days before slotted rookie contracts, the Cowboys wouldn't agree to Ismail's demands, and the Notre Dame receiver signed a big contract with Toronto of the CFL. The Cowboys took Maryland, the big defensive lineman out of Miami who had been coached by now-Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson with the Hurricanes.

THE CAREER: Maryland had a solid decade in the NFL, although not one necessarily of a star No. 1 overall pick. He played five seasons with the Cowboys, amassing 14½ sacks, a Pro Bowl and three Super Bowl wins before moving on to play for the Raiders and Packers.

THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: It was not exactly a banner year at the top of the draft. Maryland may not have been an all-time great, but neither were the others. Defensive backs Eric Turner (No. 2 to Cleveland) and Todd Lyght (No. 5 to the Rams) had solid careers, with 30 and 37 interceptions, respectively.

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