In just two days, the Senior Bowl will get underway from Alabama! The top seniors from college football this year will have a chance to make an impression to coaches and scouts in an attempt to improve their draft stock.
Leading the North roster, which you can view here, will be Jason Garrett and the Cowboys staff – meaning they will get an exclusive look at these players.
Now, unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve likely been consumed in the debate swirling around the Cowboys fourth overall pick and its use on a quarterback. While I have been persistent in defending the selection of Jared Goff should he be on the board, the four quarterbacks the Cowboys will coach on Saturday are all very intriguing prospects.
The best thing about these quarterbacks is not only that they could benefit greatly from not having to be a day one starter, but they may all be options well past the fourth selection in the draft.
Allow me to step down from #TeamGoff for just a moment (I hope RJ is reading), and make a case for the Senior Bowl signal callers.
1. Carson Wentz – North Dakota State
The worst kept secret of this draft season is well out of the bag by now, and it’s that small school QB Carson Wentz is good – really, really good.
All aboard the hype train.
I start with Wentz because out of all the quarterbacks I will look at here, Wentz BY FAR has the best chance to be selected in the first round. This means that the Cowboys would have to love what they see from Carson in the Senior Bowl and invest a top five pick in him, or find a way to get back into the first round – and potentially the top ten.
Should Wentz find a way to put a star on his helmet, I like the fit in this offense. Carson Wentz is the definition of your stereotypical NFL pocket-passing quarterback with a strong arm and great touch.
Wentz also possesses the ability to get out of the pocket and throw on the run with striking accuracy and even make plays with his feet when needed. What he will need to work on at the next level is getting through his progressions faster and finding the open man before the rush gets to him.
This is something that Wentz can greatly improve on just from sitting behind Tony Romo and learning for a few years. While the cost will be high, Wentz in Dallas could lead to a very bright future for the Cowboys in the post-Romo era.
2. Jeff Driskel Louisiana Tech
Jeff Driskel is a very interesting quarterback prospect, and unlike Wentz, he will not cost the Cowboys a first round pick. I gave my film review of him above, and to summarize, I was very intrigued and impressed by Driskel.
Once a top HS prospect entering the University of Florida, an unfortunate series of injuries led Driskel to end his collegiate career at LA Tech.
Driskel is another guy that could benefit greatly from the luxury of sitting and learning for a few seasons. Another thing he will greatly benefit from in Dallas, as is the case with any quarterback, is the Cowboys offensive line.
When given time to throw, Driskel shows that he can make any throw, and allow his routes to develop. The Cowboys will get a great look at him on Saturday, and if they like what they see as much as I do, I would have no problem with Jeff Driskel being brought in as the potential future to the Cowboys quarterback position.
3. Kevin Hogan Stanford
The Cardinal successor to Andrew Luck, Kevin Hogan put together an exceptional career at Stanford – throwing 75 touchdowns to 29 interceptions in his four years. While I prefer Driskel to Hogan, there is certainly room for Hogan to be developed in Dallas.
As is the case with plenty of players on the Stanford roster, Hogan possesses off the charts football IQ. In his film review above you’ll see him be able to read complex coverages and understand where to put the football.
However, what Hogan provides in awareness he gives away with physical attributes. His somewhat awkward and slower throwing motion will need to greatly improve in the NFL. While selecting Hogan may be less of an investment in a bonified future-of-the-franchise quarterback for the Cowboys, he could be a high-value pick in the third or fourth round should the rest of the quarterback board take an unexpected turn.
4. Cody Kessler USC
Out of all of these quarterbacks, Kessler will likely need the best game on Saturday to improve his standing with the Cowboys. The Southern California product appears to be a product of another Pac-12 QB playground, which you get evidence of in the report above.
Kessler struggles to make NFL throws, and would again be a pick that doesn’t do much for the future at the position in Dallas. I don’t think any team will pick Kessler with hopes of him becoming a rookie starter, and I could easily see the Cowboys leaving him off their radar entirely.
With Jerry Jones coming out to say that Dallas does not need to take a quarterback this year, which you can read more about from RJ Ochoa here, the Cowboys may be putting serious consideration into selecting Driskel, Hogan or Kessler in a spot where the value of the pick is maximized. Of course, this has different meanings for each of the quarterbacks listed.
A “slide” for Wentz would be seeing him go outside of the top 10, while Driskel suddenly becomes a very high-value pick in the back end of the fourth round or early fifth.
While I remain loyal to the belief that the Cowboys must select Jared Goff if given the chance to do so at #4, they must be prepared for Goff to be off the board. With McClay and Co. coaching and scouting the Senior Bowl, I trust the best QB decision will be made in this scenario.