Because of the massive lopsidedness that is often attributed to the Herscel Walker trade that played a big part in propelling the Dallas Cowboys to their Super Bowl wins in the early 1990’s, Herschel Walker is often looked at as a bust. Herschel Walker was a great running back in college, an exceptional running back in the USFL, and a very good running back in the NFL. What he was able to accomplish during the three full seasons he played with the Dallas Cowboys is actually quite impressive.
Herschel Walker came in to the 1986 NFL season after having played in the USFL for Donald Trump and the New Jersey Generals. The longtime Cowboy, fan favorite, and future hall-of-fame running back Tony Dorsett was still on the team. Walker proceeded to lead the team in pass receptions and receiving yards while coming in second to Dorsett in rushing attempts and rushing yards (trailing him by just 11 yards in the latter).
For the 1987 season, Herschel Walker was the only Dallas Cowboys player to make it to the Pro Bowl. During the strike shortened season, Walker led the Cowboys in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, pass receptions, receiving yards.and total touchdowns. During the 1987 season, Herschel Walker also led the entire NFL in total yards from scrimmage.
In the 1988 season, Walker again led the Cowboys in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and total touchdowns. Walker’s 53 pass receptions finished second on the team to Ray Alexander’s 54 receptions.
It may be true that Herschel Walker didn’t live up to expectations in the NFL, but then maybe the fault lies in the expectations themselves. Walker showed during his first three seasons with the Cowboys that he could excel in the National Football League, perhaps if he’d been used differently during the rest of his career he’d have a little more respect for his accomplishments right now.