This may be hard to believe, but there was Cowboys news yesterday that did not involve Greg Hardy.
One such piece of news came courtesy of Alex Marvez of Foxsports, who informed us via Twitter that Baylor QB Bryce Petty has a pre-draft visit set up with the Cowboys.
Petty is the No. 3 ranked QB behind Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota on Mike Mayock's top five list, but that may not mean quite as much as you would think.
The thing is, there's a good chance Petty won't hear his names called until round three or later. CBSSports has him ranked 117th, he's 85th on Drafttek's big board, and Great Blue North shows him in the 81st spot.
Going by these rankings, there's a chance this year's draft could end up like the 2013 draft, in which it took until the 73rd pick for the third QB to be drafted, and until the 98th pick for the fourth QB to find a team.
But all of that may change after the Baylor pro day that was held on Wednesday, where reports are that Petty impressed the representatives from 26 NFL teams, including QB coach Wade Wilson from the Cowboys, who was suitably impressed with Petty’s workout.
"He was real solid," Wilson said after the workout. "You know, he demonstrated he could make all the throws, which is necessary to play in the league. He had good touch. Every time you see him, he’s a little more fluid dropping back under center."
Shortly after the workout, Petty had a private meeting with Wilson and other Cowboys personnel. Whether the Cowboys are simply doing their due diligence on a prospect, whether the short trip down the road to Baylor wasn't too much of a hassle, or whether they have serious plans to draft a quarterback is not immediately clear.
Many observers have previously speculated that Tony Romo's contract would ultimately determine when the Cowboys would begin looking for his successor. Romo is signed through 2019, and may well end up playing through his entire contract, but the Cowboys can get out of the contract as early as 2017. From a salary cap standpoint, 2017 is the year in which releasing Romo would actually increase the available cap space (by $11.5 million) for the team.
If the Cowboys could find a viable developmental candidate this year, with the plan to sit him for 2-3 years, then they may have a real option down the road in case they need a successor for Romo. But that plan will only work with a 3rd or 4th-round (and preferably even later) pick, because in today's NFL, you simply can't afford to invest a 1st or 2nd-round pick in a guy who'll sit for 2-3 years.
All of which could easily be moot if Petty continues to climb up the draft boards:
Two months ago, people had Mariota going #2 and Petty in 3rd/4th rd. Slowly squeezing closer together now...MM top 12, BP end 1, early 2.— Phil Savage (@SeniorBowlPhil) March 19, 2015
In related news, ASU free safety Damarious Randall is also scheduled for a visit to Valley Ranch, Bryan Broaddus confirmed on Tuesday.
Superscout Dane Brugler, who has been joining the boys at The Mothership in the past couple of offseasons to share his draft expertise, offered this take on Randall prior to the Combine:
Damarious Randall, FS, Arizona State: A player with cornerback size, but a free safety skill-set, Randall needs technique and discipline work, but he always plays full speed to stick his nose in the fire. He should test as one of the fastest safeties in Indianapolis and is a third day target who can make an immediate impact on special teams while also helping in nickel situations.
As Brugler anticipated, Randall produced a great Combine with a 4.07 short shuttle, a 6.83 3-cone drill, a 38" vertical and 4.46 forty. But Brugler may be off with regard to when Randall's name might be called in the draft, at least according to this estimate by rotoworld.com:
Randall is generating more buzz in media circles, likely due to NFL talk, than any other safety. A second or third-round selection is not out of the picture, despite Randall not receiving a lot of written attention prior to the Combine.
In a draft with precious few free safety types, this guy stands out as a real possibility, and that might be driving his draft stock.
In total, that increases the number of known pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys to four, with up to 30 total visitors expected.
|Cowboys Pre-draft Visitors per 3/19/2015
|CBS Rank||Name||POS||College||Proj. Rd