If you have been following the news out of the Reese's Senior Bowl, you may notice that there is just a wee bit of coverage of the darling of the all-star game, quarterback Carson Wentz. The interest is especially high from those who cover the Dallas Cowboys, as he has rapidly become a real crush for fans and some writers alike. Many are salivating or even worse over the thought of Dallas drafting him with the fourth-overall pick. He could solve both the backup quarterback issues that were so onerous in 2015 and how to replace Tony Romo when his eventual retirement comes in one fell swoop. (Or, as I like to say, swell foop.)
Sadly, the odds are that it is not going to happen.
If you feel the symptoms of whiplash from reading that last sentence, I apologize. It won't do you any good to consult a personal injury lawyer, because there is no money to be had from a lawsuit. But as much as the idea appeals to so many of us, including me, there are some big hurdles that have to be overcome for it to happen. It just looks doubtful that they will all fall into place.
If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed that in the several arguments stated here at BTB in favor of using the fourth pick to get that franchise QB, there are always some qualifiers. Big ifs, if you will.
The first one is the basic question of whether there is a true franchise quarterback in this year's class. That is what it really takes to invest a top five pick such as the Cowboys have in the position. The top candidates are Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, and Wentz. All have their supporters, but it is early in the process and no team in the league is even close to having an idea who will be at the top of their boards. Dane Brugler is a pretty sharp at evaluating talent, and his current top 50 big board of NFL prospects has Goff ninth, Wentz twelfth, and Lynch all the way down at twenty-nine. Quarterbacks are the most over-drafted position in the league, but that is a peril smart teams avoid. Right now the Cowboys are getting up close and personal with Wentz in the Senior Bowl, but that does not mean he will win them over the way he has so many fans. And both Goff and Lynch have some things to question. Lynch had a bad game in his final college outing, and Goff was not playing at a top flight program. It is by no means a done deal that any of them will wind up with a top five designation on Dallas' final draft board. And although Wentz looked to be having a very good day in the first practice for the North squad, there was at least one word of caution.
And if the odds are against one of them being that highly ranked for the Cowboys, they are even longer against two of them. That is significant, because the quarterback-deficient Cleveland Browns sit two spots ahead of the Cowboys. While the Browns, in addition to being the place quarterback career die spectacular, Deadpool level of bloodiness deaths, are not renowned for drafting them well, the blind hog/acorn factor is still in play. Besides, the history of the NFL is replete with examples of woeful franchises finally getting it right and turning things around. The Saints, the Buccaneers, the Bears, and even the diabolical Patriots all were perennial doormats prior to getting their Lombardi Trophies, and right now the first three on that list are not exactly on rocket like trajectories back to Super Bowl glory. If the Cowboys see a future franchise QB in the draft, the Browns are likely see the same things. And if both teams have only the one candidate, then Dallas is, as they say, sorta out of luck. That does not even take into account the possibility of another QB hungry team trading ahead of the Cowboys to get their man-crush.
So, no matter how badly we may want it to happen, the chances of there even being a truly viable option for the Cowboys to get that quarterback of the future at four are not good. I don't have anyway to legitimately quantify it, but my SWAG is that it is only about 25%. It is much more likely that the Cowboys will go in another direction to get the best player they can. They may be forced to take a flyer later in the draft to at least try to get a serviceable backup, which is still a good use of draft capital.
This is not something many want to see, but it has to be taken into consideration. It is still a long way to go until the draft, and all teams have the vast majority of their work ahead of them in sorting out their boards. We will have our own ideas about how that goes, but that and a five dollar bill will get you a very overpriced coffee-based drink at one of those hipster joints.