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Cowboys Draft 2014: What If Johnny Manziel Slides To #16?

With at least one high profile draft "expert" openly discussing the possibility that Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel might fall into the middle teens on draft night, my fellow Aggie fan and BTB writer Tom Ryle and I found ourselves in the midst of a serious discussion regarding the possibility of JFF becoming a Cowboy.

Things could get a little 'goofy' in Dallas if Johnny Football is there at #16
Things could get a little 'goofy' in Dallas if Johnny Football is there at #16

"There’s more diversity of opinion on the top quarterbacks than I’ve ever seen, so a Manziel or a Bortles, one or both could slide. Five teams in the top eight need quarterbacks, but once you get past the top eight, there’s potential of 11 at Tennessee or 16 with Dallas. But you could slide a while, so I think the two quarterbacks are the most logical candidates to slide." - Mike Mayock

Mayock made that statement during a two hour conference call on Thursday morning. He sees the QB slot as being a wildcard for the Dallas Cowboys and the Aggie quarterback would be a popular pick among the plethora of fans who follow both the Aggies and the Cowboys during the fall. Being members of the group that follows both teams ourselves, Tom and I decided to add our two-cents worth to the debate. What follows is an excerpt of that conversation.

Tom, of late, there has been more and more talk that Johnny Football just might be available when the Cowboys go on the clock next Thursday. As not only a Dallas Cowboys fan, but also an Aggie yourself, I am curious about what you think of him becoming a Cowboy?

I think it could be a great investment in the future. He would likely have a much greater chance of success if he sat for a couple of seasons and worked hard on the things he needs to improve for the NFL, which are mostly making faster reads and not taking off from the pocket too soon.

The obvious problem there is that you are looking at a first round draft pick that is not going to contribute immediately. It is a trade-off that many would not make. However, he could be the quarterback for a decade or more after Tony Romo retires. And with Romo's back, we don't know how long we really have.

I have similar feelings. Naturally everyone expects a first round selection to be a day one starter in training camp and barring a serious injury to Tony Romo that would not happen.

Personally I don't think Manziel is ready to start in the NFL next season, be it in Dallas, Cleveland, or any other city. He needs time to work on the things you mentioned. Given that time, once he does take over as the starter, Johnny would be in a situation where he could successfully guide a franchise. If his short term future is managed correctly, the long term is bright. Playing behind an established veteran like Romo would allow him that opportunity.

I think one constant I see in all the quarterbacks eligible for the draft this year is that none of them are really ready to start right away. The problem for Dallas (or any other team that would take him) is that there are going to be enormous expectations for him to get on the field. Roger Staubach is not in favor of Manziel coming to the Cowboys mainly because he remembers the quarterback controversy that sprang up around him and Craig Morton. I remember it too (please hold the old man jokes), and had to have been a distraction.

And it would pale beside what would happen if Manziel comes to Dallas. The media is a much more ferocious beast now than it was then, and the furor in the blogosphere and social media would reach apocalyptic proportions. It would be like the whole load of nonsense wherever Tim Tebow was, only on steroids, because JFF has far more NFL level tools than Tebow ever exhibited.

I see the same thing. In fact that would be the one thing that would make me hesitate to draft any of the guys coming out. They are not ready for 2014, but there would be the pressure to have them play. In Johnny's case that would be magnified greatly because of the hype.

That hype combined with the element that does not like Romo would bring back the days of the White-Hogeboom or Staubach-Morton controversies. Frankly the team does not need that; although I don't think either Tony or Johnny would be impacted by it. Both handle the naysayers well. The ability to handle the media scrutiny is the one clear advantage that Manziel has over his contemporaries. In a high profile position like being the QB for the Dallas Cowboys, that gift would serve him well.

It would be a real mess, no doubt. But there is a part of me that chuckles evilly at the thought. We might not have to look for topics to write about for a decade or more if Johnny comes to Dallas.

And on the flip side, Dallas in a sense is one of the few places that I think can accommodate Mr. Football. Outside of the two New York teams, I don't think any other market is going to be able to absorb the tidal wave of media insanity that he would bring. Dallas at least has had two and a half decades of a massive ego that seeks the spotlight at every opportunity. Jerry Jones is probably the only owner in the NFL who would not feel overwhelmed by having JFF in town.

It would be interesting to say the least. I have often compared Jerry Jones to PT Barnum (and I have no doubt that Barnum himself would be flattered by the comparison). Drafting Manziel would give the boss his circus. For Jerry that means money, which has to be figured into the equation. For us football is a game, but for them it is a business. That is the bottom line. All things considered, would drafting Johnny Football be a good business move? I say yes but it might not be the best football move.

And that is where I hope Jason Garrett, Stephen Jones and Will McClay are ready to throw down with Jerry if he tries to make a call based on the media attention it would generate and not on the evaluation of how Manziel would play. All that would be moot if the team had Manziel with a solid first round grade all around, of course, but all that non-football stuff needs to stay out of the decision.

Maybe I have more faith in Jerry than most, but I don't think he would take JFF unless there was some support from his coaches and scouts. From what I keep reading, that support may be there. All indications are that Johnny was one of the best prospects out there as far as how he came across in the one on one interviews. Maybe he sold himself to the staff as well. Of course, the only indication we will ever have is the body language in the war room if he is selected. Unless, of course, Rabblerousr breaks the draft board again.

OK, I guess what all of this boils down to is this: come Thursday night, if Johnny Manziel is setting there at #16, would you make him a Dallas Cowboy?

Like I said in my earlier article about Blake Bortles, it depends on who else is there. I have about ten players I would take over him. But if they are all gone (and they could be), then I would probably pull the trigger on JFF, unless somebody was making me a really good offer to trade back.

I pretty much feel the same way. I love Manziel and what I think he could bring to the team, but he is not my first choice. There are bigger needs in Dallas. Still if Johnny is the best guy still standing and there is not a good offer on the table, I would have no qualms pulling the trigger.

Perhaps Tom and I might be accused of viewing things through maroon-colored glasses while we sip on our blue-tinted koolaid, but that is one of the best things about the Blogging The Boys community; things are always open for intelligent and civil debate. Its your turn to give us your views while also respecting the ones held by your fellow Cowboys fans. Now I ask you the same question I posed to Tom Ryle at the onset of this conversation:
I am curious about what you think of Johnny Manziel becoming a Cowboy?

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