Dallas Cowboys: EJ Manuel

The Dallas Cowboys signed Tony Romo to a seven-year contract extension worth $119.5 million, giving the team security at the position for the next four to five years.

But does that mean the Cowboys won't draft a quarterback for the future? Or that the Cowboys won't draft a quarterback this year?

The Cowboys have drafted 28 quarterbacks in franchise history, producing two Hall of Famers -- Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. They have drafted two in the first round -- Craig Morton and Aikman -- and three total since Aikman retired in 2000.

One of the quarterbacks drafted since Aikman's retirement, Isaiah Stanback, was moved to wide receiver.

The Cowboys don't have an immediate need for a quarterback, but Romo will be 33 in Week 1 and backup Kyle Orton (30) is signed only through 2014.

The quarterback class is considered weak this year, but there are some intriguing names projected to go in the second and third rounds. Ryan Nassib, EJ Manuel, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon, Landry Jones and Tyler Bray are all projected to go in the middle rounds.

The perception is the Cowboys don't need a quarterback because they locked up Romo and have other areas of need (offensive and defensive line, safety and running back). But there's nothing wrong with adding to the position with young talent. Stephen McGee was a fourth-round pick in 2009 who was groomed to be a No. 2, but he never developed.

You could blame McGee or the coaching staff for the lack of progress.

Since 2000, NFL teams have drafted 14 quarterbacks in the fourth round, with the most notable names being Orton and David Garrard.

However, notable second-round selections since 2000 are Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Kevin Kolb and Drew Brees. Brees has won a Super Bowl and Kaepernick played in one this year.

Quality quarterbacks can be found in the early portions of the draft and even the middle rounds -- Russell Wilson and Matt Schaub were third-round picks -- but making that commitment to the future is key for any NFL team.

While the Cowboys do have other needs, getting a quarterback this April could make just as strong a statement as giving Romo $55 million guaranteed.

Advanced scouting: EJ Manuel

March, 28, 2013
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EJ Manuel Kevin Liles/US PresswireFlorida State quarterback EJ Manuel is a proven winner with great intangibles.
To help preview who might be on the Dallas Cowboys’ board for the NFL draft, ESPNDallas.com has identified five players at five key positions that we’d like to learn more about. Along those lines, we’ve asked former Cowboys assistant coach Glenn “Stretch” Smith – the official scout of Galloway & Company – to study tape of each player and give his thoughts.

No. 4 quarterback: EJ Manuel


Height/weight: 6-foot-4 5/8, 237 pounds

School: Florida State

Why he’s on the radar: The Cowboys should be interested in finding a guy to groom behind Tony Romo, and Manuel is the most athletic quarterback in the draft. He needs to develop as a passer, but Manuel is an outstanding running threat with very good arm strength and excellent intangibles. He’s also a proven winner with a 25-6 record as the Seminoles’ starter.

Projection: Second or third round

Stretch Truths: Combine stats -- 10 3/8 hand; 4.65 in the 40; 34 inch vertical. ... Big, physical, imposing quarterback who really helped himself during Senior Bowl week. ... Excellent character. ... This kid can really spin the deep ball, but needs to be more accurate on shorter throws -- swings to the back or stick routes to the tight end. ... Must learn to read coverages. ... He looks uncomfortable in blitz situations and dances with his feet a little too much in the pocket. ... Overall analysis: Big upside.

A two-round Todd McShay mock draft

March, 28, 2013
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Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Todd McShay's latest mock draft Insider is out and it covers the first two rounds, which means Redskins fans get to play too! Here's what Todd projects, along with my thoughts on his picks for each NFC East team:

Philadelphia Eagles

4. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

35. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

Yes, even with cornerback Dee Milliner still on the board, I like Fisher for the Eagles at 4. I think they need to get a long-term building block at that spot, and an elite tackle is just that. As for Manuel at 35, I like it find if they think he has franchise quarterback potential. If not, they're just adding to a stable of caretaker backups and developmental guys, and the pick could be used better. I do know which of those categories fits Manuel, and I imagine if the Eagles are talking about him, they're trying to figure that out as well.

Dallas Cowboys

18. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

47. Kyle Long, G, Oregon

I have no problem with the Cowboys coming out of the first two rounds with a safety and an offensive lineman. I just think they need to pick them in the reverse order. In Todd's mock, the top five offensive linemen go in the first 17 picks -- something that's only happened once in the last 15 drafts. But even if that happens, I'd have no issue with the Cowboys taking the tackle Todd projects to go with the very next pick to the Giants. They need elite offensive line talent more than they need this draft's top safety.

New York Giants

19. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

49. Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State

Got to be honest, I have no idea what the Giants will or should do in the first round, and it doesn't seem as though most of the draft analysts do either. Offensive line seems to make sense, but they don't like to draft offensive linemen in the first round. I keep thinking they'll take the highest-ranked defensive lineman on their board in the first round, or maybe a defensive back. But maybe I'm relying too much on Giants draft history and this is a year in which they'll go against it.

Washington Redskins

51. Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State

Obviously, this is a pick that assumes they don't re-sign Fred Davis. If they do, I have to think they look for a safety here like D.J. Swearinger or Jon Cyprien.

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