This Week in NFL History: March 29 to April 4; Jimmy Johnson resigns as Cowboys head coach

Welcome to This Week in NFL History! Every week, the Research team will spotlight the anniversaries of notable events and birthdays.

March 29

-- In 1977, the NFL adopted a 16-game regular season, 4-game preseason, and added a 2nd Wild Card team to the playoffs (all changes began with 1978 season)

-- HOF Jimmy Johnson resigned as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1994

  • 44-36 W-L in 5 seasons as DAL HC & 2-time Super Bowl Champion (Won Super Bowls XXVII & XXVIII to conclude 1992 & 1993 seasons)

-- QB Lamar Jackson put together a solid outing at Louisville's Pro Day in 2018

  • According to NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, Jackson improved "working with a wider base, but had some concerns about his accuracy outside the hashes"
  • Selected 32nd overall by the Ravens in the 2018 NFL Draft
  • 2019 AP NFL MVP (unanimous) & became 1st QB in NFL history with consecutive seasons with 1,000+ rush yards (2019-2020)

-- CB Jalen Ramsey stood out in positional drills (at both CB & S) at Florida State's Pro Day in 2016

  • Selected 5th overall by the Jaguars in the 2016 NFL Draft
  • 2-time 1st-Team All-Pro and 4-time Pro Bowler (Highest-paid CB in total contract value ($100M) & APY ($20M)

-- WRs A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf participated in drills in front of representatives from all 32 teams at Ole Miss' Pro Day in 2019

  • Metcalf stood on most of his superb Combine numbers, which included a 4.33 40-yard dash, 40.5" vertical jump, and 27 bench press reps, but he improved on his 4.50 20-yd shuttle with a time of 4.3 seconds at his Pro Day
  • Brown (Selected 51st overall in 2nd Round by TEN) & Metcalf (Selected 64th overall in 2nd Round by SEA) became the 1st players in NFL history to have 1,000+ rec yards and 10+ rec TD in the same season, where each player was drafted from the same school in the same draft
  • Metcalf (2,203) & Brown (2,126) have the 1st & 2nd-most career receiving yards among the 2019 class
  • -- Notable Birthdays: HOF Emlen Tunnell , HOF Earl Campbell (66), DE Justin Tuck (38), Adam Gase (43)

March 30

-- DE Myles Garrett improved his 40-yard dash time at Texas A&M's Pro Day in 2017

  • Ran a 4.57 at Pro Day, despite running an already impressive 4.64 at 272 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine
  • Selected 1st overall by the Browns in the 2017 NFL Draft
  • 3rd-most sacks (35.5) in the NFL since 2018

-- WR Dez Bryant held a separate workout for scouts after missing the NFL Scouting Combine & Oklahoma State's Pro day with a hamstring injury in 2010

  • Ran 40-yard dash times of 4.52, 4.68 (into the wind), and then 4.52 again
  • Dined with Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones the day after his workout & Jones was quoted saying "I just don't want to be sitting there on draft day with a great opportunity, and not having really done what we ought to have been doing, which is know everything about him."
  • Selected 24th overall by the Cowboys in the 2010 NFL Draft
  • Led all WRs in the NFL in total TDs (75) when playing for the Cowboys from 2010-2017

-- DE Jason Pierre-Paul worked out in front of 3 NFL head coaches at USF's Pro Day in 2010

  • Head coaches NYG Tom Coughlin, CHI Lovie Smith, & CIN Marvin Lewis attended Pierre-Paul's Pro Day after he had played just one season of Division I football
  • Selected 15th overall by the Giants in the 2010 NFL Draft
  • 2-time Super Bowl Champion (Won SB XLVI with NYG & SB LV with TB)

-- Notable Birthday: Free agent CB Richard Sherman (33)

March 31

-- QB Patrick Mahomes wowed at Texas Tech's Pro Day in 2017

  • NFL Network analyst (Now LV GM) Mike Mayock said Mahomes "excelled on the deep, out-breaking routes" & Mahomes also threw a 78-yard pass
  • Selected 10th overall by the Chiefs in the 2017 NFL Draft
  • 2018 AP NFL MVP (1st season as starter) & Super Bowl LIV Champion

-- QB Jameis Winston drew mixed reviews at Florida State's Pro Day in 2015

  • "This looks like the workout any quarterback would do at their 1st minicamp," NFL Media analyst Brian Baldinger said. "I don't think this is putting him in the best light."
  • Selected 1st overall by the Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL Draft
  • 4,042 pass yards (led all rookies), 22 pass TD (led all rookies), 15 INT (led all rookies) & 84.2 passer rating in 2015

-- RB Alvin Kamara showcased route-running abilities at Tennessee's Pro Day in 2017

  • Opted not to run the 40-yard dash at Tennessee's Pro Day after posting a 4.56 at the NFL Scouting Combine
  • Kamara (Selected 67th overall in 3rd Round by NO) has the 2nd-most scrimmage yards (6,164, behind only DAL RB Ezekiel Elliott) & scrim TD (58, behind only RB Todd Gurley) in the NFL since 2017

-- Notable Birthdays: HOF SF CB Jimmy Johnson (83), WR James Jones (37) & LV DE Yannick Ngakoue (26)

April 1

-- The Pat Tillman USO Center opened in Afghanistan in 2005

  • The NFL donated $250,000 to the USO to honor the memory of the former Cardinals safety who died in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army

-- Washington signed WR DeSean Jackson to a 3-year, $24M contract in 2014

  • Led the NFL in yards/reception in 2 of his 3 seasons in Washington (20.9 yds/rec in 2014 & 17.9 yards/rec in 2016)

-- LB trio Clay Matthews III, Ray Maualuga, and Brian Cushing & QB Mark Sanchez headlined a USC Pro Day that was attended by roughly 500 NFL coaches/scouts/GMs in 2009

  • At the time, then-USC LB coach Ken Norton Jr. (Now SEA DC) predicted that Matthews "will be the one who starts the soonest and plays the longest", and he was right about the latter, as Matthews had 91.5 sacks in an 11-season career from 2009-2019
  • All three LBs were drafted in the top-40 overall picks, as well as Sanchez (5th overall by NYJ)

-- Notable Birthday: S Sean Taylor

April 2

-- DE Jadeveon Clowney "wowed everyone with his athleticism" doing positional drills at South Carolina's Pro Day in 2014

  • NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah called his performance "phenomenal", and former NFL Media analyst (and current Raiders GM) Mike Mayock said "Clowney's going to get called one, two, or three."
  • Selected 1st overall by the Texans in 2014 (3-time Pro Bowl selection after 2016-2018 seasons with HOU)

-- RB Reggie Bush & QB Matt Leinart were a big draw at USC's Pro Day in 2006

  • Then-Texans GM & current NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly said USC's Pro Day was "bigger & better than anyone had ever done it" & fans were no longer allowed at USC's Pro Days past 2006
  • Bush's numbers, including a 40.5" vertical jump, 24 bench press reps, & a 40-yd dash in the 4.3s, had many believing he "cemented his status as the 1st overall selection" in the NFL Draft
  • Selected 2nd overall by Saints after the Texans selected DE Mario Williams 1st overall (Leinart selected 10th overall by Cardinals)
  • Bush had 8 scrimmage TD as a rookie in 2006 (T-2nd-most among rookies, only JAX RB Maurice Jones-Drew had more with 15)

-- Notable Birthdays: HOF Arnie Herber & LB Bill Romanowski (55)

April 3

-- QB Gardner Minshew focused on answering questions about his deep passing ability at Washington State's Pro Day in 2019

  • Went 0-3 on deep ball attempts at the NFL Scouting Combine and 1-8 at the Senior Bowl; However, Minshew completed 41 of 46 attempts at Pro Day, including 3 drops
  • Selected 178th overall (6th Round) by the Jaguars in the 2019 NFL Draft
  • Most pass TD (21) by any rookie QB drafted in Round 5 or later in NFL history

-- Notable Birthdays: HOF Jim Parker, BUF DC Leslie Frazier (62), DE Jared Allen (39) & S Kam Chancellor (33)

April 4

-- Cowboys QB Tony Romo retired from football in 2017

  • Cowboys all-time leader in pass yards (34,183), pass TD (248) & game-winning drives (30)

-- Notable Birthdays: HOF John Hannah (70) & WAS DC Jack Del Rio (58)

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