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Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Cowboys need to pass on Johnny Manziel

By Calvin Watkins

The Dallas Cowboys like Johnny Manziel, the quarterback.

His scrambling abilities remind them of their current No. 1 quarterback, Tony Romo.

But please stop with this Manziel-can-replace-Romo jazz.

He can’t.

Manziel is a good college quarterback and there is uncertainty if he can translate his skills to the next level. Manziel has a strong arm, can scramble out of the pocket and is smart. He makes plays all over the field. He’s a motivator. He gets guys to play for him. Good traits for a quarterback.

Johnny Manziel
Johnny Manziel threw 63 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions over his final two college seasons.
Though running around the field making plays against college kids is nice and all, do you really think he’ll get away with the way he holds the ball, far away from his body, in the NFL?

Manziel’s 37 touchdowns were impressive in the 2013 season, but his SEC-leading 11 interceptions were not.

He’s a gambler.

Manziel is somebody Jerry Jones likes because, well, let’s be honest, the Cowboys’ owner is a gambler. He gambled the family fortune to purchase the Cowboys in 1989. He gambled in hiring Jimmy Johnson to take over for Tom Landry. He gambled when he parted ways with Johnson and hired Barry Switzer.

He gambled when he hired Bill Parcells. He gambled when he signed Terrell Owens.

This is what Jones does.

It’s how he’s lived the majority of his life, so why wouldn’t he like Manziel, who plays football on the edge?

Manziel is a Top 10 pick, without question.

He’s not perfect, but under the right system has a chance to be a good quarterback.

Just not for the Cowboys.

There are too many other areas for the Cowboys to fix to consider Manziel in the draft. Trading up for Manziel is too costly.

Under the trade value chart, the Cowboys’ No. 16 pick is worth 1,000 points. The No. 1 overall pick is worth 3,000 points. So you must give up two-first round picks, this year and next, to move into the Top 10 to have a shot at Manziel.

Not worth it.

If Manziel falls to the 16th pick, the Cowboys would be faced with an unbelievable amount of pressure to take him.

Jones should either trade down or select somebody else, if Manziel falls, which is doubtful.

Defensive line, cornerback, wide receiver, and offensive tackle are bigger positions of need for the Cowboys than addressing the quarterback position.

If the Cowboys are unsure about Romo’s return from back surgery, getting Manziel in the first round isn’t a smart play. Kyle Orton, the veteran backup, is thinking about retirement. There is some concern about the quarterback position. We get it.

Finding a quarterback in the second or third round is the better value.

The draft is filled with quarterbacks who can help the Cowboys down the line such as Georgia’s Aaron Murray who threw one fewer touchdown (22-21) in conference play than Manziel and had eight interceptions in the SEC.

Manziel is a good quarterback, especially for a team in need of one. The Cowboys are not one of those teams.

A few years ago, Stephen Jones, the executive vice president, was raving about Alabama's Mark Ingram. The running back reminded Cowboys’ officials of Emmitt Smith, the all-time leading rusher.

Guess what?

The Cowboys didn’t draft Ingram.

At this time of year, NFL teams send out smoke signals, and that is what the Cowboys are probably doing now.

You might not like Romo and his chances of leading the Cowboys on a deep playoff run. But with coach Jason Garrett entering the final year of his contract, Romo gives him and the Cowboys the best chance to win, not Manziel.