Cowboys Draft: Quarterback Prospects & Strategies ⋆
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Cowboys Draft: Quarterback Prospects & Strategies

Cowboys Headlines - Draft Prospects and Strategies for Quaaterbacks

NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Quarterback Prospects & Strategies

This is the last of my position by position review of the players and strategies that the Cowboys will be analyzing. Of course we saved the best for last and today we will look at the QB prospects.

If you have read my previous articles, you know that I expected the Cowboys to add a free agent for the backup QB role. Since most of the viable free agents are taken, it looks more and more like the Cowboys will take a QB in the draft with an early pick.

Before we look at the various prospects, here are some of the attributes that are important when analyzing the QB position. Typically I look at:

  1. Accuracy – Can they consistently put the ball where they want to put it
  2. Intelligence – Do they understand what the offense is trying to do
  3. Pre-Snap Read – Do they understand what the defense is doing before the ball is snapped
  4. Vision – Do they see what the defense is doing during the play
  5. Calmness – Does the game slow down for them
  6. Pocket Presence – Do they feel pressure, move up in pocket and keep eyes downfield
  7. Arm Strength – Can the make all of the throws
  8. Quick Release – Does the ball get out of their hands quickly
  9. Leader – Does the team rally around them. Do they trust and are confident in the QB
  10. Character/Work Ethic – Are they the right kind of guy

Now let’s take a look at some of the prospects that will be available to the boys.

Jared Goff

Strengths

  • Smart, well coached quarterback
  • Good leader, team seems to rally around him
  • Poised, calm, confident
  • Calm in the pocket, can walk up into the pocket while keeping eyes down field
  • Good mechanics and footwork.
  • Over the top, quick release.
  • Good eye discipline to look off defenders
  • Understands defensive concepts and can make reads pre-snap
  • Nice touch, throws a catchable ball
  • Can make every throw. Accuracy at all levels
  • Puts the ball on receiver in stride to max out YAC
  • Protects the ball, he does not throw too many picks
  • Is mobile enough to take off and run when needed
  • Tough, will stand in the pocket and delivery throw even when being hit

Weaknesses

  • Thin, could be injury prone at next level
  • Needs to get stronger
  • For first rounder, does not have elite arm strength
  • Can try to force balls rather then throw them away
  • With his accuracy and the system he was in, I am not sure why his percentage was not higher
  • Can he read complex defenses he will face as an NFL starter

Summary

    • Should be a starter in the NFL
    • Polished, confident leader that will get the team to support him
    • Can make the throws in the NFL, but can he read the defenses
    • For Cowboys, he would be a potential Romo replacement
    • I have him as a top 10 player

Carson Wentz

Strengths

  • Looks the part of a NFL QB. Tall frame with broad shoulders.
  • Is also a good leader that that can get a team behind him
  • Poised, calm, confident
  • Smart, understands the game
  • Good mobility for his size
  • Good mechanics and footwork.
  • Quick release
  • Can make every throw. Good arm strength
  • Can progress from rout to rout
  • Gives his receivers a chance
  • Protects the ball, he does not throw too many picks
  • Is mobile and can take off and run when needed

Weaknesses

  • Has not played against top caliber competition
  • Has a gunslinger mentality
  • Makes up his mind on routes pre-snap. Misses open receivers too often because of it
  • Can lock onto receivers. Will cause picks in NFL.
  • Can he read complex defenses he will face as an NFL starter?

Summary

    • Should be an eventual starter in the NFL
    • Polished, confident leader that will get the team to support him
    • Can make the throws in the NFL, but can he read the defenses?
    • For Cowboys, he would be a potential Romo replacement
    • I have him as a top 20 player

Paxton Lynch

Strengths

  • Great arm strength
  • Really good mobility for his size
  • Tall; can survey the field more easily than most
  • Tough, took big hits and kept coming
  • Throws well on the run or in pocket. Makes him a versatile threat if OCs that can take advantage
  • Quick release
  • Smart, understands what offense is trying to do
  • Good eye discipline. Can move safety and can move from route to route
  • Can slide in pocket to buy time and avoid edge rush
  • Is mobile and can take off and run when needed

Weaknesses

  • Needs to play under balance with better footwork and bend.
  • Needs to protect ball better. Will try to force throws.
  • Takes a lot of sacks; probably because he thinks he can scramble and get out of it.
  • Can lock onto receivers. Will cause picks in NFL.
  • Some teams confuse him on his pre snap reads.

Summary

    • Should be an eventual starter in the NFL
    • Athletically he is as god as anyone, but needs to focus on his mechanics and reads
    • He will fit some offensive schemes very well
    • Potential Romo replacement but not sure he fits the Cowboy scheme
    • I have him as a top 40 player

Connor Cook

Strengths

  • Competitor, has the fire to win
  • Good size and arm strength
  • Polished, understands route progressions and combinations
  • Good eyes when in pocket. Can ready multiple route combinations
  • Generally good accuracy at all levels. Can throw deep, In, comeback and back shoulder effectively.
  • Reads defense well pre-snap
  • Doesn’t panic when team gets down. Keeps his cool and competes.
  • Traditional NFL QB

Weaknesses

  • Needs to complete a better percentage
  • Takes eyes off of receivers when scrambling
  • Can panic in pocket. Moves when he has time.
  • Will force throws
  • Every now and then he sails a ball. Always dangerous and will hurt him in NFL. Needs to eliminate the really bad throw
  • Can lock onto receivers
  • Throws off balance under pressure

Summary

    • Could be an eventual starter in the NFL, but will need to eliminate the errant throws that sail
    • Is a prototypical NFL type QB, but needs to calm in the pocket
    • Has the physical skills, but does he have the mental and leaderships skills necessary to lead
    • For Cowboys, he would be potential Romo’s replacement if he can  improve his consistency and accuracy
    • I have him as a top 75 player

Dak Prescott

Strengths

  • A leader
  • Tough and physical
  • Athletic and Mobile
  • Protects the football
  • The “right kind of guy”
  • Smart, a good football IQ
  • Can work through progressions to find open receiver
  • Good eyes. Keeps safeties at bay
  • Give you a short down option for short yardage and goal line
  • Above average arm strength

Weaknesses

  • His weakness is lack of consistency and accuracy throwing the ball. This inconsistency begins with his footwork
  • Needs to learn to throw the entire route tree
  • Pre-determines which route to throw pre-snap. Causes him to miss open receivers and throw into double coverage.

Summary

    • Should have a long term career in the NFL, but will probably be a career backup.
    • Athletically he is as god as anyone, but needs to focus on his mechanics and reads in pass game
    • He does provide a weapon on short downs and goal lines.For Cowboys, he would be Romo’s backup eventually but not sure he is the long term replacementI have him rated as a top 90 player

Christian Hackenberg

Strengths

  • Arm talent. Can make every throw
  • Has the swagger of a NFL QB
  • A good team leader. Confident.
  • Has the size and toughness to stand in and take hits
  • Good technique and footwork
  • Can move in pocket to buy time
  • Will give his receivers opportunities to make plays
  • Durable
  • Competitive and resilient

Weaknesses

  • Is awful throwing the deep patterns. I saw three games where he did not complete a pass that travelled over 20 yards. Much better in screen and slant game.
  • Will just have throws that sail on him for no reason. Has far too many of these. Accuracy is an issue.
  • Has good footwork until he gets in trouble and then bails out.
  • Needs better movement skills in pocket.
  • Does not see field well. No progression.
  • Predetermines throws before he leaves the huddle. Too many open receivers missed.

Summary

    • A risk/reward pick. It is hard to grade him because I have not seen another QB being hit as often as he was. Think he is getting into bad techniques because of pounding.
    • Could be an eventual starter in the NFL, but will need to rebuild him. He needs to begin with the basics and work his way through defenses.
    • Has the physical and leadership skills, but does he have the timing, accuracy, and consistency needed?
    • For Cowboys, if he improves he would potential be Romo’s replacement, but that is a long shot.
    • I have him as a top 120 player

Cardale Jones

Strengths

  • Big man, hard to arm tackle
  • Strong arm. They call him 12 gauge, what else do you need to know about his arm strength
  • Good touch for a big arm. Throws a catchable ball.
  • Remains calm in the pocket, he does not panic
  • Can scramble when he needs to. No Cam, but effective.
  • Gives a team a short and goal line threat immediately
  • Confident, will give his receivers opportunities
  • Traditional NFL QB with vertical offense

Weaknesses

  • Waits to long to throw deep ball. He thinks he is going to out throw the receiver and because of this he waits too long to let it go. Too many deep balls wind up woefully short
  • Waits until receiver is open to throw it. Usually too late by then. Needs to get feel for throwing receiver open.
  • Determines who he is throwing to in huddle way too often. Is not progressing through reads
  • Will force throws because of arm strength. Most make it through, but there are a few that….
  • Can lock eyes onto receivers
  • Throws off balance too often

Summary

    • A risk/reward pick. My have the most upside of any pick, but also has the highest risk of failing
    • Could be an eventual starter in the NFL, but will need a lot of work understanding the offense and learning to progress through reads
    • Has the physical skills, but does he have the timing, accuracy, and ability to read defenses?
    • He is the QB with the most upside in the draft. If I were the Cowboys, he is who I would try to get and see if you can fix his flaws and improve his strengths.
    • Needs to improve to be potential Romo replacement
    • I have him as a top 130 player

Brandon Allen

Strengths

  • Intangibles. A leader that team rallies behind.
  • Never feels out of the game. Confident no matter the score.
  • Throws with accuracy and anticipation.
  • Uses eyes well. Keeps safeties at bay, can progress from route to route.
  • Remains calm in the pocket, he does not panic.
  • Has feel for when to scramble and make a big play
  • Throws a very catchable ball
  • Has great touch

Weaknesses

  • Smaller in stature with small hands
  • Will throw balls into coverage
  • Stares down receivers
  • Struggles reading complex defenses.

Summary

  • A solid leader that has limited upside.
  • Likely a career backup
  • Has a feel for the game, but does he have the physical size and strength
  • I think he would be a viable option for the Cowboys to develop. he will get better with experience. He will not ever replace Romo, but could be an effective backup in a couple of years.
  • I have him as a top 150 player

The Cowboys could go with a quarterback in the first round, either Goff or Wentz, if they believe one of them will be the QB of the future. If this happens, you can count on Tony Romo being the quarterback for three years or less. However, Jerry Jones does not sound convinced that that will be the case. Therefore, I would not expect to see this happen.

After all, why spend an early first round pick on a player that may never see the field?

In the second round, there will be options available. Lynch may fall, and Connor Cook should be available. I don’t think the Cowboys have that high of a grade on Cook though and I think Lynch will be gone in the first, so I don’t think the Cowboys will pick up a QB in the second round.

The third round is a possibility, particularly if Connor Cook is still available. Prescott may also be an option in the third but most other QBs will not grade out at a third round level.

In the fourth round, things open up. Hackenberg, Jones and Allen could go in the fourth. These are developmental quarterbacks that could be viable options for the Cowboys to nurture and groom.

Or they may have a raw QB that they believe they can nurture. Perhaps a small school guy? If the Cowboys have not drafted a QB by the 6th round, expect them to take a flier on a physically gifted but relatively unknown QB.

I hope you have enjoyed the series. Look for my next article conceiving draft scenarios later this week. Until then…

Tommy Simon

Tommy Simon is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and sports enthusiast. He is currently CEO of TechBAA, an investor and board member of TPC Technical and CommunitesFIrst, and acting CFO for ALS Communities. In addition to investing and advising companies, Tommy is also a Sales Management coach and is working with companies as a Fractional CMO/CSO. Tommy is a life long football player, coach and Cowboy fan. He currently coaches and sponsors several 7 on 7 teams. He manages/coaches an adult flag football team that is the top team in Florida one of the highest ranked teams in the country. Tommy's hobbies include international travel, fantasy football, reading, and engaging in intelligent political discourse. He is married to a wonderful women for 18 years; which is the best thing he has ever accomplished. He has a dog that is the best dog ever. He also has 9 siblings and roughly 30 nieces and nephews. For more information about tommy, or to request him to speak, please contact him at info@techbaa.com

4 Comments
  • Bryson Treece

    Excellent work-up, as usual, Tommy. Looking forward to some of those draft scenarios.

  • Randy Martin

    I know you cannot consider Fanspeak a reliable tool of reality but invariably in the mocks I do Lynch is available at #34 and there is just something about him that concerns me and not sure I would take him. Primarily it is his height and the way receivers have to adapt to a taller QB. And there has never been a successful QB that tall in the NFL. Flacco is the closest. In reality he probably won’t be there but what if?

    • http://www.techbaa.com Tommy Simon

      In the second, yes it is worth the risk. I still would like the boys to drop down in the first to pick up two more picks so they can get the Qb and still get younger talent. But if that is the situation, then I would trade back in to the end of the first so I get the 5th year option

      Tommy Simon

  • Kevin Black

    A lot of people complain about Wentz locking onto one option and missing other open receivers. Most of those were due to pre-snap reads. To find out more, check out this interview with his college offensive coordinator. After you read it, I think you will change some of the opinions that are weaknesses to strengths.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2620894-north-dakota-state-offensive-coordinator-explains-carson-wentzs-draft-ascension

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