A wild NFL Wild Card weekend is behind us, and if we learned one thing (besides final confirmation that the NFC East was awful this year) it’s that normally the team with a better quarterback wins big games in this league.
On Saturday, we saw Alex Smith beat a completely dysfunctional Brian Hoyer, and Ben Roethlisberger lead a game winning drive for the Steelers against AJ McCarron’s Bengals.
Yesterday, we saw Russel Wilson’s team come out on top against that of Teddy Bridgewater, as well as Aaron Rodgers’ and the Packers defeating Kirk Cousins’ Redskins.
Obviously, a lot more could be said about these games when determining how it was won or lost, but starting with the quarterbacks is as good of a place as ever.
While the Dallas Cowboys will be playing with one of the league’s top signal callers in 2016, Tony Romo, his health is a concern as well as longevity. The result of 12 full games without Romo this season led to a 4-12 Cowboys record, and I hope I speak for the vast majority of Cowboys Nation when saying that I expect more than four wins from this team for year’s to come.
The potential is certainly there, as well as the high draft pick. Perhaps the best result from this miserable season is Dallas securing the fourth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. However, there is a strong case to be made that the Cowboys should use this pick on a player that will not make an immediate impact.
Selecting in the top five is a rarity that everyone but the Browns should dislike, but take full advantage of. For the Cowboys, taking advantage of this pick may mean drafting a Jarred Goff of California, Paxton Lynch of Memphis or even Carson Wentz of North Dakota State.
Should the Cowboys draft one of these young quarterbacks, they will be given the rare opportunity to sit and learn behind Tony Romo for a few years before being given full control of a team that will certainly get plenty of attention upon throwing a rookie into the starting QB role.
My hope at the moment is that this luxury and opportunity is too good of a chance for Will McClay and Dallas to pass on, and the QB of the future is brought in with the fourth overall pick in the draft. I firmly believe that this team is talented enough across the board to contend for a Super Bowl without a first-round talent at another position.
Of course, with such an attractive pick, grabbing a top wideout like Laquon Treadwell or impact defensive back like Jalen Ramsey also seems appetizing – and I myself have gone back of forth mainly between those two players and Jarred Goff for weeks now.
For the Cowboys, the positions that need to be addressed the most on offense are running back and wide receiver. With a deep class for both positions, the Cowboys can get a receiver to play across from Dez and rookie back to pair with McFadden later in the draft.
Defensively, this team put together a very solid performance all season long – which will go under the radar thanks to the play of the offense. While they have some key free agents to deal with, I still expect this unit as a whole to stand up in 2016 – while also benefiting from a few new potential rookies selected in the second or third rounds.
Call me bold, but I don’t just have my eyes set on the 2016 Super Bowl trophy – I have my eyes set on the Cowboys building another dynasty. The last quarterback the team selected in the first round was certainly a part of one, when Troy Aikman was brought into Dallas with the first overall pick in 1989.
Now at fourth overall, it’s time for the Cowboys to find their next Super Bowl winning quarterback. So you tell me, with the fourth overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select ___________.
Fill in the blank by leaving me a comment below, or respond on Twitter @ShoreSportsNJ!