When reading the morning news, it seems clear that the quarterback discussion is roaring back. We have flirted with this dance before and we have all got cold feet as well. Will the Dallas Cowboys take a quarterback in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft?
As the Combine is underway through the weekend (and Monday), we must all prepare for the Cowboys to keep a keen eye on this year's passers. Of course, it's one of those things that is hard to discuss because of all of our affinity for Tony Romo. Does he have good play left in him? I believe he certainly does. Can he lead this team to a championship? Absolutely. Is time on his side? Of course not. It's starting to look as though many inside Valley Ranch may be realizing this truth.
It's not the fan's job to be realistic but it certainly is the job of everyone in the scouting department, and especially the current COO Stephen Jones:
"I mean you have to look at it," Jones said. "You're not naive to it but if you have the opportunity in this league, in our situation, to get a potential franchise quarterback, then you have to make the investment. You have to have the patience. You sacrifice maybe that opportunity that maybe is impactful right now."
The chatter of the combine thus far for Dallas is whether the Cowboys are prepared to take Romo's successor in this draft. Honestly, I don't think there would be one person here that would second-guess that decision if the Cowboys were confident that their passer was there. Jason Garrett has also chimed in on the theory:
"Certainly we want to have a young quarterback in our program who we're developing to be a guy who replaces Tony Romo at some point," Garrett told NFL Network. "Does that mean we take him in the first round, the second round or the third round? I don't know that. We've got to evaluate these guys and sort out who we like at all the positions."
In Garrett fashion, he didn't say anything that wasn't already polling with a lot of Cowboys enthusiasts. He said some things but didn't give away his hand. He doesn't do that, but reading between the lines tells you that it's an important topic within the organization. As it certainly should be because this organization may not get a chance this good to secure their future quarterback without giving up serious collateral later.
We all know the reasons why the Cowboys should take a quarterback and why they shouldn't. I've gone on record multiple times saying that I would sacrifice the future for Romo to win a ring. However, nobody in the front office is going to think that way except for maybe Jerry Jones. The great, Bob Sturm, really bummed out my morning, but I can't disagree with his message:
He is an awesome QB, but this morning, after another week of Romo medical news that doesn't seem to get big headlines but does give me indigestion, I am feeling stronger than ever that the Cowboys know this reality and are taking a QB at #4. And they are not just doing it because it is the pick on their board. They are doing it because they quietly must know that the risks of expecting Romo to handle this on his own broad shoulders are now too great to take. The Romo-era is winding down quicker than they are willing to verbalize at the moment and I think an over/under on 24 more starts is about the betting line I think would be fair.
This is a league where coaches are fired and hired on their ability to find franchise quarterbacks and those that show that discipline have been rewarded. For me, I would love to salivate over the possibilities of a Jalen Ramsey or Myles Jack situation. However, in the back of all our minds needs to be the acceptance that this team could very well be on their way to taking a quarterback in the first round. They don't have the luxury of waiting because it could spell the end for their job security if things go awry. With that said, in a revisit, what do you want to do?
Do you want Jared Goff?
My Analysis: Where Goff outranks all passers in this class is his 'touch'. Both on intermediate and deep throws, he can orchestrate an offense in a truly masterful way. This season, Goff completed 64% passing with 43 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. In his bowl game against Air Force, Goff dropped 593 yards passing with five touchdowns. Nice way to end the year isn't it? Without gushing too hard, Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said of Goff, "This is Aaron Rodgers, he's the real deal." The best part of Goff is that he is aware of his deficiencies and what he has to do to grow at the NFL-level.
Greg Cosell adds: My initial study of Goff tells me that I think (Goff is) a more natural and better overall thrower than (Marcus) Mariota. I think he's a better prospect than Jameis Winston. ... I think his skill set, his throwing skill set, his looseness as an athlete, his light feet, I think he fits, theoretically, any system.
How about Cowboys' quarterback for a week, Carson Wentz?
My Analysis: Wentz has good pocket awareness and presence while maintaining an innate ability to throw on the run. Wentz is also very accurate having thrown 16 touchdowns to only two interceptions before suffering a wrist injury that shelved him in the second-half of the season. Wentz is already ahead of the other names on this list in one category; pro-style offense. Though Carson could use a redshirt year as well, he's got one of the tighter releases and his football IQ is off the charts. Perhaps his biggest area for concern is his tendency to pre-determine his passes which must be rectified. However, he undoubtedly has a mixture of good arm talent, mobility, athleticism, and field vision.
Dane Brugler adds: "He has a NFL-style skill-set with his size, athleticism and arm talent, but his intelligence and intangibles on and off the field might be his best qualities."
Perhaps, you may feel more comfortable trading down to get more picks but grabbing Paxton Lynch?
My Analysis: Admittedly, Lynch is not yet a polished passer and still has some work to accomplish with mechanics and footwork. What talent scouts like about Lynch is his pocket poise, mobility, and his pin-point accuracy. This season, Lynch completed 67% of his passes with 28 touchdowns to only three interceptions. Again, Lynch would be a passer that would have to grow into the starting role but there is a lot to like about this prospect.
Bucky Brooks adds: "While I still believe he's an intriguing prospect with potential, I see him as a developmental prospect who will need time to grow into the position. If I had to compare him to a current pro, I would cite Ryan Tannehill as an apt comparison. Lynch can function at a high level in executing concepts that are similar to the tactics he runs at Memphis, but he will need time to transition to a pro playbook."
No matter how we feel about the situation, we must understand that this is a true possibility for the Cowboys. If a franchise quarterback does exist in this draft, they have a pretty good shot at getting one without paying through the nose later. Before I go, I want to leave you with two more quotes:
One.Cool.Customer opined: If the Cowboys believe either of them (or perhaps even both) are the next Andrew Luck, the next Russell Wilson, or the next Aaron Rodgers, can they really afford to pass on the chance to draft a guy like that?
Daniel Jeremiah adds: "I’ve said pretty consistently throughout, in my opinion, the right thing to do is just secure that quarterback position and make sure you don’t have to go through those same valley years of the past between Aikman and Romo. Just about everybody that I respect in league circles, I’ve not had one person say to me they should take anything other than a quarterback."
These are all quotes from folks that I greatly respect and admire, it's time we understand a sort of reality here that's tough for a lot of us, including myself.