The Cowboys will have a tough decision in April's draft as they use the number four overall pick to take one of the best players in college. After watching the offense fall on its face in 2015, a lot of fans want to see the Cowboys select one of the premier quarterbacks in the draft. Whether your favorite is Paxton Lynch from Memphis, Jared Goff from California, or Carson Wentz from North Dakota State, these guys are the talk of the town when it comes to elite QBs in the draft. Recently, my colleague, Tom Ryle expressed how the Cowboys shouldn't pass up such a great opportunity to go after Tony Romo’s eventual replacement. But is that really the right play here? Here are three reasons why going after a quarterback with pick number four could be a mistake.
Reason #1 – Finding a franchise QB is hard
Of course it is, or else everyone would have one. Many teams have tried and many teams have come up empty. For a lot of teams, finding their quarterback has been a trial and error process that often times results in a player that is not regarded as one of the top players coming out of college.
Since the Cowboys may have a shot at the elite college QBs with their first pick in the draft, I wanted to take a look at the top two QBs selected in the draft over the last decade. To allow enough time to properly gauge their NFL contributions, the last three drafts will not be included. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota may turn out to be great, or they may not. It’s too early to label them so I won’t.
Out of the 14 quarterbacks on this list…
- only six are currently starting in this league
- two are backups (Mark Sanchez and Robert Griffin III)
- six are out of the league, with five of them starting 25 or fewer games in their career
History would indicate that the Cowboys chances of getting a starter-caliber quarterback with their first pick is less than a coin flip. That’s risky business. But you have to take chances sometimes and if you know what you’re doing, then your chances of success improves. And that brings me to the next item – do the Cowboys know what they’re doing?
Reason #2 – The Cowboys aren’t good at evaluating quarterbacks
If there is one thing that has puzzled me about having Jason Garrett for a coach, it is the Cowboys inability to have a quality backup. Garrett, who flew through the coaching ranks from being this really smart quarterbacks coach, has struggled finding someone other than Tony Romo to play well. Kyle Orton, Brandon Weeden, and Matt Cassel have all come up short when their number was called.
Maybe it’s a talent-evaluation thing. Or maybe they are not being coached up well. It’s all speculation as to what the problem is. What is known though is that Garrett, Scott Linehan, Wade Wilson, and the Cowboys scouting resources have not been successful in acquiring a viable backup for Romo. If they’ve misjudged their QB situation so badly in recent years, how confident are you that they’d be able to make a good selection with that number four pick? Rolling the dice and having it come up "Ryan Leaf" would be a big setback for this organization.
Reason #3 – The Cowboys are great at evaluating defensive players
During the period leading up to last year’s draft, I was initially apprehensive about the Cowboys selecting a cornerback with their first-round pick. There were two big reasons for this – Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. The team whiffed in 2012 in the cornerback department.
But that was before Rod Marinelli showed up. In his three seasons with the Cowboys, Marinelli has proven he can do well with whatever resources you give him. He was given very little to work with in 2013, but still found guys who could help the team – Justin Durant and George Selvie. In 2014, the team invested some draft resources in defense and he got players like DeMarcus Lawrence and Anthony Hitchens. And last year’s selection of Byron Jones appears to put to rest any thought that they can’t properly assess the cornerback position.
So, if Marinelli can do well with an early second-round pick a couple years ago and a late first-round pick last year, what can he do with a top pick in the 2016 draft? There are some really enticing names that could be sitting there when the Cowboys are on the clock.
DE, Joey Bosa, Ohio State
OLB, Myles Jack, UCLA
CB, Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Passing up a player like this could be rather difficult. Give Marinelli some dancing chips and see what he can do.
What direction would you go with the Cowboys first round draft pick?