Planning for the future?
Odds are stacked against QBs
IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo is 34 and coming off back surgery. It doesn't look like Kyle Orton wants to play football anymore with his absence from the offseason program. Brandon Weeden is 30 and viewed as a developmental quarterback.
So the Cowboys must draft a quarterback at some point in the upcoming NFL draft, right? Wrong.
But the Green Bay Packers of old used to draft a quarterback every year. They picked guys like Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks, Matt Hasselbeck and Ty Detmer when Brett Favre was their starter. They even picked Aaron Rodgers in the first round with Favre at the top of his game.
Well, good for the Green Bay Packers.
But how many quarterbacks are developed? Since 2006, 59 quarterbacks have been drafted in Rounds 3-7 and two have become starters: Russell Wilson and Nick Foles. The odds are not in the Cowboys' favor of finding Romo's successor in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh round.
I like Aaron Murray and I've stumped for the Cowboys to pick him in the fourth round. Perhaps he develops into a starter. Perhaps he is as effective as Stephen McGee. With the way the Cowboys have picked in the fourth round lately, maybe it's better to take a quarterback than an Akwasi Owusu-Ansah or Matt Johnson or David Arkin.
But the odds are stacked.
With teams more apt to keep just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster these days, the chances of developing a quarterback are even more difficult. There simply aren't enough reps in practice to get a guy ready. If you take a quarterback in the first two rounds, you have to know he can play in his first four years. So you have to play the guy right away to find out before you have to make a big financial commitment.
The Cowboys aren't at that point with Romo's contract and Jerry Jones' belief that Romo can lead this team to playoff success.
Whenever the Cowboys want to move on from Romo, that's when they'll find his successor. They'll draft a guy and play him the way the Cincinnati Bengals did with Andy Dalton, who was a second-round pick. They can do it like the Seattle Seahawks did with Russell Wilson in the third round. They can do what the Washington Redskins did with Robert Griffin III and go all-in to move to the top of the draft for a franchise quarterback.
We don't hear much about those guys.
Depth is available to develop
IRVING, Texas -- Jerry Jones has been loath to draft quarterbacks since he bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989.
He's drafted only five since then. And only two since 2000.
That's a streak Jones should end this week, considering the Cowboys have six picks in the seventh round.
If Jones isn't going to take a developmental quarterback in a year that he has a plethora of compensatory draft picks, then he's never going to take one.
For the most part, teams spend premium draft choices to find starters. Tom Brady and Romo were the only primary NFL starting quarterbacks last season not taken in the first three rounds.
The Cowboys are in no position to use a high draft pick on a quarterback -- not even Johnny Manziel -- to sit behind Romo for several seasons. They have way too many holes for that.
We're talking about a team that could draft a defensive tackle, a defensive end, a linebacker, a safety, a cornerback or a wide receiver in the first round without getting a quizzical look from anyone.
Besides, Romo's six-year, $108 million extension begins this year. Trading him would decimate the club's salary cap, so fans should expect him to start for at least three more seasons.
They probably won't, which means the Cowboys' best bet for a developmental player is to draft a guy they like in the seventh round who probably would've been a priority free agent after the draft.
Then they can take a long look at him in training camp and the preseason and then stash him on the practice squad for a season in hopes he shows enough potential to be the backup in 2015.
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