Like it or not Tony Romo is your quarterback. He locked in, fresh off a new seven year, 119.5 million dollar contract.
The Cowboys are set for the present moment at the position. They have Romo and a very capable backup is Kyle Orton. However, Tony will be 33 this season and Kyle is 30 years young. The Cowboys need to start developing a replacement and this years draft might be a great year to start the process.
The consensus for the 2013 draft is that it has a weak QB class. Some even argue that there isn’t a quarterback available worthy of a first round pick. Personally, I see West Virginia’s Geno Smith going in the top 15 and USC’s Matt Barkley finding his way in the first round.
I don’t think the Cowboys will touch a QB that early and should address the trenches or the safety position with that first round pick. However, spending a second to third round pick to groom Romo’s eventual replacement would be a smart move.
Lets take look at some options the Cowboys could have once Smith and Barkley are off the board.
Nassib can throw an accurate ball, has a strong enough arm to make every pass, and played in pro style offense at Syracuse. He is an intelligent player and teams were very impressed with him in the interview room. He’s the kind of player that Jason Garrett loves to have on his football team. Watching him on tape, I came away impressed with his ability to move and escape pressure in the pocket. He’s not super athletic and doesn’t really have the ability to run once he leaves the pocket.
He’s projected the go in the second round but his stock is rising to a possible late first round pick. The word on the street is that Buffalo is a likely spot for Nassib to land since his head coach and offensive coordinator (Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett) are now coaching for the Bills.
2102 stats: 3,273 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and a 64% completion rating.
Manuel is more a high risk, high reward pick. His athletic ability is through the roof and his arm strength is impressive. He has the work ethic and leadership qualities you look for in a quarterback. However, he’s very raw and really needs to develop his ability to read defenses and take care of the ball. On tape, he make way too many mistakes when under pressure. If the Cowboys want to shift towards the athletic QB trend that the NFL has seen in guys like RG3 and Cam Newton this could be an option. Giving him some time to learn how to be a professional behind Romo and Orton could pay off big.
E.J. Manuel is projected as a second to third round pick. My sense is that his stock is also rising and the Cowboys might not be comfortable investing that high of a pick on a gamble, even one with a big upside.
2012 stats: 3,397 yards, 23 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 68% completion rating.
Hailing from Jerry Jone’s alma mater Tyler Wilson is another pocket passer that could benefit from a few years of grooming on the bench. He faced quite a bit of adversity (one of Jason Garrett’s favorite words) at Arkansas in 2012. His head coach, Bobby Petrino, was fired and he lost his top three wide receivers. Despite all this he was able to turn in a solid senior year. He has great vision, good accuracy, and a great pocket presence. The pass rush doesn’t seem to affect him, he hangs in the pocket to complete a pass. His downside is his arm strength, he excels at short and medium throws but can struggle with the deep ball. He also needs to develop his footwork at the next level.
Wilson is projected as a late second to third round pick. He had a down year from his 2011 junior season which has dropped his stock somewhat. However, some of that can be attributed to the rough state of the Arkansas football program following the departure of Petrino. Wilson could show tremendous value and become a quality starter down the road.
2012 stats: 3,387 yards, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 62% completion rating