- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Dallas Cowboys have three quarterbacks on their roster and expect to keep it that way when the 2014 regular season begins.
However, it doesn’t mean the Cowboys won’t look at some quarterbacks.
Team officials are in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday looking at University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Among the officials in attendance is Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson.
There is no expectation the Cowboys will draft Murray in the later rounds of next month’s draft, but the team is doing its due diligence, much like it did two years ago with Brandon Weeden.
When Weeden was entering the draft from Oklahoma State, Cowboys officials met with him and kept watch from afar. After Weeden was released by the Cleveland Browns this spring, the Cowboys jumped at the chance to sign him because they had done the research necessary to make a move.
With the amount of money invested in starting quarterback Tony Romo and backup Kyle Orton, the team isn't trying to draft a quarterback in the first two rounds. Finding a future replacement for Romo isn't a high priority, but they are looking for a quality young backup. Though Weeden is 30, he has only two years of NFL experience, so that justifies the Cowboys signing him.
Also, the Cowboys are expected to void out the last few years of Orton's contract, making him a free agent after the 2014 season.
Murray is projected as a middle-round draft selection, but ESPN’s Jon Gruden was impressed with him.
Gruden said Murray, who is fully recovered after tearing his ACL in his left knee last November, has deep-ball accuracy, good touch on the ball and will be “the steal for somebody” in the draft. Cowboys' officials aren't in love with Murray's height, 6-1, but they believe he's got a strong enough arm to make the necessary throws in the NFL.
Murray is the all-time leading passer in SEC history and holds the school record with 121 career touchdowns.
The Cowboys haven’t met with any of the top quarterbacks at Valley Ranch during their 30 pre-draft visits. It could be a smoke screen, or the simple fact the team isn’t drafting a quarterback.
Team officials are quite familiar with all the top quarterbacks, and their closer look at Murray might not mean anything now, but could be something for the future.