This year’s quarterback class has been, if nothing else, unpredictable. Heading into draft season, Teddy Bridgewater was the favorite, but since then, it’s fluctuated between him, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel, depending on who you’re asking and on which day you’re asking.
The Dallas Cowboys are entering a transitional period in which they’re not really adding much talent beyond the draft, but their players are aging, and any sort of championship window that’s still open is closing quickly.
That all leaves owner and de-facto general manager Jerry Jones in an interesting position. He can use this draft to further his team’s current position by picking up as much talent in the early rounds as possible at positions of need, or he can fortify the team’s future by adding players that can make an impact down the road.
In the past week, the rumor mill has churned out the possibility that Johnny Manziel could fit in with the Cowboys’ long-term plans if he falls to Dallas, who picks 16th overall. At first glance, the move sounds a bit ridiculous, but when you start to consider the alternative, Manziel to Dallas actually starts to make some sense.
First and foremost, Tony Romo is not only radically inconsistent at times, but he’s also getting to the point in his career where his years are limited. Romo just turned 34 years old, and considering how often he gets planted in the backfield by opposing pass rushers, it’s highly unlikely he’ll remain as durable as Peyton Manning who is just four years older.
Any move to replace Romo with a first round draft selection has to be weighed against his ability to win and lose games. Generally speaking, Romo is a solid starting quarterback, but late in the season, he’s rarely able to win big games. While losing make or break games can’t be blamed solely on Romo, the Cowboys also can’t ignore the simple fact that he’s lost de-facto NFC East championship games in week 17 in three consecutive years.
The case in favor of Manziel is really quite simple. By picking an eventual successor to Romo now, Jones would give his young quarterback the opportunity to sit on the bench and learn more about the pro game for a year or two.
In addition, Manziel has a big personality. There are few places that can properly accommodate a player coming out of college with as much hype as him, but Dallas is one of those places.
All the aforementioned being said, Jones is the only person that has an opinion that matters. Fortunately for Manziel, the Cowboys’ owner seems to be infatuated with the young star. Ed Werder of ESPN even pointed out, “Jerry Jones was raving about [Manziel] this weekend… in front of Romo.”
There may be no guarantee that Manziel is available midway through the first round of the draft, but if he is, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys pull the trigger and make Manziel their quarterback of the future.